Founding President defends Olufuko Festival

29 Aug 2015 11:10am
OUTAPI, 29 AUG (NAMPA) – The participation of traditional leaders in the Olufuko Festival complements the government’s efforts to promote national identity and pride.
This was said by founding president and patron of the Olufuko Festival, Sam Nujoma in a statement read on his behalf by Deputy Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Ester Nghipondoka at the opening of the festival at Outapi on Friday.
Nujoma said the majority of people say the revival of Olufuko is a positive contribution to the restoration of Namibians’ culture and heritage, “some afro pessimist foreign-oriented pressure groups” still stigmatise the practice, saying it leads to child marriage and prostitution.
“Such ignorant views are promoted by those who refuse to educate themselves on the values and virtues which define our people,” he said, adding that he is happy that all previous brides continued with their education and some have even graduated since the inception of the festival in 2012.
More than 100 participants, compared to last year’s 97, are undergoing initiation which helps prepare them for womanhood. The festival started Monday and ends next Saturday.
Nujoma said some previous participants have testified that the initiation has strengthened their understanding of traditional chores and roles of men and women in society; and also included sex education and issues of gender-based violence.
“For this reason, those who argue that the female initiation ceremony teaches girls to accept subjugation and inferiority with apathy should know that a nation without culture is like a tree without roots,” he said.
One of the participants this year is the 18-year-old Gloria Kandapo, a first-year engineering student in Cape Town, South Africa. She told Nampa she is participating in order to help keep Namibian culture and traditions alive.
Girls aged 15 to 20 years from regions such as Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Kunene and Hardap are participating in the Olufuko Festival this year.