Olufuko is a platform to exchange ideas: Shaningwa

28 Aug 2016 11:30am
OUTAPI, 28 AUG (NAMPA) – The Olufuko Festival not only revives and promotes the cultural heritage of local people, but also enables the exchange of views and initiates strategies that will help with the reaching of Namibia’s goals, the Minister of Urban and Rural Development says.
Sophia Shaningwa made the remark while officially opening the fifth Olufuko Cultural Festival at Outapi in the Omusati Region on Saturday.
The festival, which runs from 23 August to 31 August 2016 at the Olufuko Centre, involves the initiation of girls between the age of 15 and 20. It amongst others prepares the young women for marriage by teaching them how to carry out various tasks such as pounding mahangu, preparing traditional beverages and caring for the men in the house.
This process is performed by a woman called Namunganga.
The festival is aimed at informing, educating and entertain people with a view towards appreciating and enhancing traditional and cultural identities. It also creates tourism opportunities; creates awareness within the region through culture, arts and agricultural activities; and strengthens the local and regional economy.
Shaningwa emphasised the importance of the Olufuko Festival, saying that people need to know their heritage in order to be directed to where they are headed.
“Culture also serves as a unifying factor in our society. It is also used to instil much-needed discipline in our society and restore the dignity of our young women,” she said.
Shaningwa, however, said some members of society, including traditional leaders, want to use the Olufuko Festival to promote tribalism.
“I strongly condemn such practices as they are detrimental to nation building and progressive development,” she stated.
This year’s festival has brought together 88 maidens from six different Owambo tribes as well as the Ovahimba and Ovazemba people from the Kunene Region.