Katima Mulilo – All roads led to Bukalo, the traditional seat of Masubia Chief Kisco Liswani III, to celebrate the Masubia cultural festival at the palace of the Chief.
The hive of activities at the settlement of Bukalo was heightened on Saturday by the annual cultural event that as usual attracted thousands of people, some coming from as far afield as neighbouring Botswana and Zambia.
Chief Liswani III has pockets of his subjects in Zambia and Botswana who resettled in those countries during the illegal occupation of Namibia by the apartheid regime.
People from all walks of life converged to feast on a variety of mouthwatering traditional food. Colourful traditional attire known as ‘musisi’ seemed to dominate fashion at the event meant to celebrate a rich culture that spans centuries and is known as ‘Bwinkuhane Bwetu’. Natamoyo Morris Muyatwa narrated the lineage of Masubia chiefs and traditional shrines that are located in areas such as Schuckmannsburg, Kasika, Ngoma and Impalila which form part of the rich cultural heritage of the Masubia people.
Other traditional authorities in Caprivi were represented at the event by Chief Joseph Tembwe Mayuni of the Mashi, Bornface Shufu of Mayeyi and an Induna representative of the Mafwe people from Cinchimane.
Chief of the Bondelswarts in the Karas Region, Joseph Christian, was among the traditional authorities present.
The Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, (Retired) Major General Charles Namoloh said cultural festivals serve as a conduit for instilling cultural values and norms.
“Cultural festivals serve as important platforms for transmission of cultural values, norms and customs. Through the mediums of song, drama and dance, we teach and learn from each other and internalise the enduring values, norms and traditional practices of our culture,” said Namholoh.
Namholoh further implored the Masubia people to promote unity while celebrating such events and hailed the traditional authority for promoting unity in the region.
“While we celebrate the forms of cultural expressions that are unique to this region, let us celebrate in an inclusive way and in the context of one Namibia, one nation. Let me congratulate the Masubia Traditional Authority. Continue to walk on the path of unity, peace and inclusiveness,” stated Namholoh.
Caprivi Governor Lawrence Sampofu expressed concern about the increase in land disputes and he urged Caprivi reidents to follow the right procedures on land rights.
“We have received many cases of land disputes. People tend to settle anywhere without even consulting the traditional authority concerned. People should know that land belongs to the state and communal land is given to traditional authorities as custodians. Therefore, no one is allowed to occupy a piece of land without consulting a traditional authority where they pay their allegiance,” warned the no-nonsense former military officer.
With the deadline of land registration nearing, Sampofu appealed to the Masubia people to register their land rights to avoid unnecessary squabbles that could be counterproductive. “The lands ministry is busy with registration – the due date is next year. Register land in consultation with the traditional authority so that you have rights. If we continue to fight for land, development will be diverted to where it is most needed. We should work hard so that our land becomes useful to feed the nation. Let’s not use land to fuel fights,” Sampofu urged residents of the north-eastern region.
Sampofu also commended the Muyako community for donating about 1000 hectares of land for green schemes.
“I want to thank the community of Muyako for availing 1 000 hectares of land. The land is in the process of registration,” he told the Bwinkuhane Bwetu gathering.
The governor appealed for a collective effort in the fight against HIV and AIDS, with Caprivi said to be the region with the highest prevalence rate in the country.
“According to the sentinel survey report of 2012, Caprivi has the highest prevalence rate of 37.8 percent. This figure is only based on pregnant women; therefore it could be higher if everyone is tested. Let us take measures to fight this disease,” he beseeched residents.
In his message, Chief of the Masubia people Kisco Liswani III hailed the government for all the development in his area of jurisdiction.
“I want to commend the government for introducing free primary education. I hope this will be extended to higher education in the near future. The water pipeline from Katima to Muyako and Ngoma is also progressing well. I want to thank government also for its swift response regarding drought relief food. Our conservancies are preserving our animals and providing jobs. The Izimwe-Nakabolelwa road is also nearing completion,” he said.
With the Kalimbeza rice project gaining momentum with expansion works already at an advanced stage, Chief Liswani III appealed for the upgrading of the Kalimbeza road. “The Kalimbeza rice project is for the whole nation. I appeal to the government to upgrade the Kalimbeza road to ease travel,” he said.
Homage was also paid to fallen Masubia chiefs before remembering people who were recently slain by a member of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) at a bar in Katima Mulilo, a tragic event that shocked residents.
As is customary, the youth congested the business area with an overwhelming number of vehicles, some coming from as far as Windhoek and other major towns in Namibia.
Small traders and hawkers saw the opportunities at hand and cashed in on the business presented on the day with braai meat and cool drinks readily available.
Police controlled the people and traffic as roads slowly became congested and less accessible due to the huge number of people in the business area.
Also present was the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Nchabi Kamwi, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Doreen Sioka, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa, and Karas Regional Governor, Clinton Swartbooi.
The Masubia people, who make up a large percentage of the ethnic population in Caprivi, pride themselves on a culture originally known as ‘Bwinkuhane Bwetu’. The majority of Masubia people live in the eastern Zambezi plains of Namibia stretching as far as Muyako and Mahundu to Kalimbeza and Schuckmannsburg along the Zambezi to Kasika and Impalila Island and even beyond the border in Zambia and Botswana. Masubia are known for their love of water, due to the livelihood they draw from riverine food such as fish and water lilies, traditionally known as ‘isoto’.
Date: 29 July 2013