OKAHANDJA: OvaHerero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako on Sunday placed strong emphasis on cultural and traditional values, and appealed to all OtjiHerero-speaking Namibians to work together for unity and peace.
Riruako further called on his people to bury their political differences, stick together and work hand-in-hand with one another as a united force.
The chief made the remarks on Sunday afternoon as he addressed thousands of OvaHerero who turned up at the Commando Grounds at the Nau-Aib residential area in Okahandja for the 89th commemoration of Red Flag Day.
“We (OvaHerero) will only succeed in everything if we are committed to unity, and this unity must be a unity of purpose.
We need to sacrifice for unity. Let us not cause the destruction of the OvaHerero people’s traditions and cultural values because of a group of people with greed. We need to recommit ourselves for the strengthening of unity, and work together as a united community,” said Riruako to loud applause from people seated in two big tents at the Red Flag Commando Grounds.
The OvaHerero Chief told his people that they must stand together for their rights, and that requires unity, which traditional leaders must strengthen and must lead by example.
Riruako then reminded his people to embrace the fact that commemorative events like the Red Flag Day at Okahandja is part of the cultural education of the young ones, who have little knowledge of the historical background of their fallen ancestors.
“We will never forget our ancestors. You (young people) will never know your future if you neglect the historical backgrounds of the past years.
You can only grow and move forward if you have people behind supporting you. As young people, you must give proper directions to the community, so that the rest of the people follow in the footsteps of their traditional leaders,” explained the chief.
Riruako then urged his fellow traditional leaders and chiefs to help prepare the future of the OvaHerero youth, with regards to culture and tradition.
“We (traditional leaders and chiefs) must prepare our young people for the future of our next generations. We must stick to our culture and tradition, because this would give us the needed strength to move forward,” he said, noting that he wants people to start thinking for the future of the OvaHerero people as from today.
According to Riruako, educating the youth about the tradition and culture of the OvaHerero will enable the young ones to get inspiration and power to move on.
Speaking at the same event, OvaMbanderu Traditional Chief, Queen Aletta Karikondua Nguvauva, echoed Riruako’s sentiments with regards to unity among the OtjiHerero-speaking Namibians.
“The OvaHerero and OvaMbanderu people are one community. Unity, respect and cooperation are the only ways that would lead us to prosper and peace,” said the queen.
Over 2 000 OtjiHerero-speaking people attended this annual tribute to their heroes, heroines and ancestors at the small town, where several anti-colonial resistance stalwarts like Chief Samuel Maharero and Chief Kahimemua Nguvauva are buried.
These OvaHerero chiefs rose against German imperial rule in 1896 and again in 1904.
About 60 000 OvaHerero people are believed to have perished during these uprisings, and those who survived were put into prison camps around the Alte Feste in Windhoek, at Swakopmund and on Shark Island at Lüderitz in the Karas Region.