OPUWO: The teachers’ pay day on 20 September this year resulted in a large number of schools not participating in the Opuwo Constituency cultural festival held here last Saturday.
The Kunene Region’s senior cultural officer in the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture, Brain Gonteb, said the situation resulted in only three schools taking part, and it deprived many learners from showcasing their cultural talents during the festival that also served as a competition to select the best groups to represent the constituency in the regional event slated for Kamanjab in November this year.
“We learned our lesson that we should not hold this kind of festival close to teachers’ pay day,” noted Gonteb in an interview with Nampa on Saturday at Opuwo, explaining that teachers were supposed to organise the learners and make sure they turn up for the event that took place at the Opuwo sports stadium.
More than 13 schools were expected to participate in the event.
Only one school – Putuavanga Secondary School (SS) – out of five schools based in Opuwo participated in the cultural festival this year. Putuavanga entered four cultural groups.
Two other schools – Ongongo Primary School and the Kaoko Otavi Combined School from nearby villages – as well as one Out-of-School Youth group and one adult cultural group eventually took part.
Kaoko Otavo CS entered three groups.
The schools that did not show up, despite them being booked for performances, were Opuwo Lower Primary School (LPS), Kameru Eco Primary School (PS), Mureti Senior Secondary School (SSS), Opuwo English Private School, Ombombo Combined School (CS), Alpha CS, Orumana CS, Orotjitombo PS, Okorosave PS, Otjerunda CS, Ohungua PS, and the Otjondeka PS.
The festival had five categories – Lower Primary, Upper Primary, Junior Secondary, Senior and Out-of-School Youth, and Adults.
The Kaoko Otavi CS took the first prize in the Lower Primary Category as it was the only school that entered in that category, while the Upper Primary Category was won by the Ongongo PS, followed by the Kaoko Otavi CS in second place.
The Kaoko Otavi CS also won the Junior Secondary Category with their spectacular Ondjongo (OvaHimba dance), and one of the Putuavanga groups, with their Omutjopa (OvaZemba dance), ended in second place.
Another group from Putuavanga took the third place in that category.
In the Senior Secondary and Out-of-School Youth Category, the first place was given to Putuavanga for their performance that depicted the mourning and funeral rituals of the OvaHerero culture with their dance /drama play titled “Ombombota jau”.
The emotional play made the 600 spectators shed some tears.
The only Out-of-School Youth group from the Ongongo village received the second place after putting up a good Ondjongo dancing performance.
The third place was awarded to another group from Putuavanga called the “Cadets”.
The Cadets are boys and girls who perform the parade during Red Flag Day commemorations and at OvaHerero funerals.
The winners of all the categories qualified for the regional cultural festival, along with the only adult group from the Kaoko Otavi village, despite an unimpressive performance.