21 girls going through initiation at Olufuko

28 Aug 2013 05:30
OUTAPI, 28 AUG (NAMPA) – Former President Sam Nujoma has called on national and traditional leaders to retain and preserve traditional ceremonies such as the Olufuko and Omagongo festivals, which are symbols and rituals associated with local traditions and cultures.
“Lest we forget, for centuries the people of Africa suffered the agony of slavery and colonial oppression, occupation and exploitation,” he said on Monday whilst opening the week-long Olufuko festival at Outapi in the Omusati Region.
Nujoma said the colonial powers destroyed the indigenous symbols of power considered as pagan, and local people were made to get rid of their own cultural artefacts. In the process, they lost their way of life.
“I am pleased that today, we are reviving the Olufuko cultural festival, which is a traditional initiation ceremony used as a rite of passage for girls entering adulthood,” he stated.
Nujoma furthermore indicated that this rite of passage was used to prepare girls for their roles as respected adults in society, such as cultivating mahangu fields, pounding and preparing meals for their families and other traditional food items, as well as weaving baskets and making clay pots.
“This is done in order to give our people pride in celebrating their traditions and age-long customs,” he said, adding that a central premise and principle behind the revival of culture in general and the Olufuko festival in particular is to empower the people and to dismantle foreign influences from citizens’ everyday life.
He thus urged elders and parents alike to prepare their children in all aspects of traditional life in order for them to build a strong nation, deeply-rooted in traditional heritage.
“This can go hand-in-hand with education from pre-primary school to university level, where children can complete their studies and become useful citizens of the country as doctors, architects, geologists, marine biologists, agriculturalists, including mining and electrical engineers, who are able to tap electricity from solar energy,” he emphasised.
President Hifikepunye Pohamba and several Cabinet Ministers witnessed the official opening of this festival, where 21 girls are going through the initiation process.
Last year, only 12 girls went through this process.