OKAHANDJA: Preparations are in full swing for the annual Red Flag Commemoration planned by the faction under OvaHerero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako here this weekend.
Hundreds of OvaHerero and OvaMbanderu people from all walks of life are set to converge upon Okahandja for the Red Flag Commemoration, where they honour their dead chiefs and fallen heroes/heroines.
Advisor to the Ovaherero Traditional Authority, Dr Hoze Riruako, told Nampa in a telephonic interview on Friday that the event will go ahead as planned in the town, situated some 68 kilometres north of Windhoek.
When Nampa visited the Commando Hall here on Friday, a red flag and a Namibian flag were flying in the wind, while fires were burning and tents erected.
“The commemoration will take place as usual, and we will do our traditional rituals on Sunday,” said Riruako.
He explained that this year participants will not go around the wall at the cemetery as is normally done, but will instead stop in front of the wall and do the rituals there, before proceeding to the tombstones.
Riruako said the commemoration will kick off with a beauty pageant and a live music show on Friday evening, and entertainment will continue on Saturday, with a formal ceremony scheduled for later that afternoon.
The main event is slated for Sunday, when members of the group will pay tribute to their ancestors.
He said the group will also make sure that law and order are maintained and respected at all times during the event.
NamPol Inspector-General, Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga issued a stern warning here on Wednesday after the Riruako group obtained a court interdict from the Windhoek High Court allowing them to go ahead with the commemoration of the event at Okahandja on 31 August and 01 September.
The Namibian Police intervened earlier this week after alleged threats of violence between the two rival OvaHerero factions – the faction under OvaHerero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako and the Maharero Royal House – and announced that the festivities had been cancelled.
This would have been the first time the event had been cancelled in the about 89 years it has been taking place.
The main disagreement between the two groups is the location of the holy fire at the Red Flag Commando Grounds in Okahandja, which the faction under the instruction of Paramount Chief Riruako allegedly relocated to a place where it now faces west (sunset).
The Maharero Royal House, supported by members of the Technical Committee of the OvaHerero/OvaMbanderu Council on the 1904 Genocide (OCD-1904), insists that the holy fire should face east (sunrise).