Ovahimba say government neglects them
August 4, 2015, 8:22am
The struggle for safe drinking water continues to be a struggle for the mountain dwelling Himba people in Okjaandjamwenyo area, near Ruacana.
Although the villagers do not know the distance they travel from their village to the fountain, it is vast, especially for the elderly and women carrying infants on their backs.
They have to traverse one mountain before they get to the steeper mountain, where they share the semi-green algae-infested water with their livestock and wild monkeys that inhabit the area.
The villagers carry about 25 litres of water to avoid travelling the same distance twice daily.
“Government says the cholera is from Angola. The cholera does not come from Angola it comes from this water which we drink,” villagers told New Era through a spokesperson. They accuse the government of neglecting them.
“They say we are from the mountains and that is it,” further complained one of the villagers.
Village headman Tjitonga Kakwena said the fountain has become their only source of water, after a nearby tap was closed after the community failed to pay its water bill.
“We do not have money to pay for the water,” stressed Kakwena. The villagers called upon government to open the tap.
The villagers further allege the fountain is not safe for their animals as they can break their legs on their way to it. The 10-year-old Mandu Tjipofa, who suffers from a disability, says getting to the mountain is not easy. Mandu uses a carved stick to hop around the village and to fetch water. “Sometimes I slip and fall,” he said.
He adds that he mostly uses a donkey to transport him to the fountain.