New Era (Windhoek)

13 April 2012

Namibia: Coast Crowns Its First-Ever Miss Genocide

Swakopmund — The usually chilly evening coastal breeze did not keep them away as they streamed in droves into the Atlantic Primary School hall to wind up the activities of the weekend.

The weekend of the 30-31 March was marked by the fifth commemoration of those who succumb in concentration camps here during the 1904-1908 Ovahere-Ovambanderu-Nama wars against German colonialism.

After the main event during the day on the Saturday including a pilgrim to the graveyard, and speeches at the Vineta Sport Field, the Saturday evening was reduced to less a serious but equally important event, the crowning of Miss Genocide, the first-ever such crowning in the five year history of the Genocide commemoration in Swakopmund.

Slowly and elegantly they streamed to into the hall. From the way most of the women guests are adorned in their strictly traditional but stylish dresses, there seems little distinguishing them from the participants in the beauty pageant.

But beauty pageant sounds more like a misnomer of the event as more than for their beauty, the focus on the models is more on the traditional dress, how the models, or proper young traditionalists proudly carry themselves in the dress and positively portray the elegancy of the dress and its people.

Besides, the five finalists would have to answer questions relate to the cultures and traditions of the communities in question as well as their socio-economic and political history. Among the questions featuring is in which Constituency the traditional holy shrine of Ozombuzovindimba is situated.

Ozombuzovindimba is the place where General Lothar von Trotha issued the infamous order for the Extermination of the Ovaherero in October 2, 1094. It is situated in the Otjinene Constituency in the Omaheke Region.

To give credence to the event the judges seem to have been sourced from among the cultural cream of the community and include such eminent cultural-cum-community leaders like the councilor of the Okakarara Constituency, Vetaruhe Kandorozu and community activist, lecturer and educationalist as well as a culturalist in his own right, Dr Hoze Riruako.

Among those gracing the occasion as guest, socialite and patron of the event is Member of Parliament, Arnold Tjihuiko and Arandis Mayor, Daniel Muhuura.

As may be expected the Secretary of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority, Unotjari Katjimune, is among the crowd but strangely hardly any traditional leader is noticeable among the crowd. The day's activities, and the demanding three to four kilometer walk to the graveyard must have taken its toll on the ageing generation.

One by one well past the hour, the contestant eventually start to entreat the stage to crescendos of excitement from the average crowd, predominantly of the fairer gender.

There is no mistaking that a lot of investment must have gone in the preparation for this big cultural occasion telling from the designs and fabrics of the garments.

One by one they line the stage, ten of them, in different garments, patchwork, the traditional Green, Red and White and an evening dress. Initially the judges seem to have a difficult task with few of the contestants failing in their cultural demeanour.

In between the contestants changing into different garments, the local Fresh Trompies, a group of street children, entertains the crowd with their pantsula-cum-kwaito dancing repertoires spiced up with a drama performance.

On hand in this regard, and to crown the evening's entertainment menu, is the Ovandu Ovazeu oviritje genre outfit, that has only been existence for more than a year but destined to go places, especially as far the coastal entertainment scene is concerned.

Cometh the hour of judgement, there seems little disagreement between the judges and the audience as to who is the winner. Safe that contestant number 6, Uatiraije Kambausuka, should have been among the five fanalists.

Lest one forgets, the evening could not have been as entertatined and worthwhile at it turn out to be without the able directorship of Marabo Kazongominja, a presenter/producer with the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC)'s Otjiherero Language Service, and co-director, Venee Korumbo, the Chairperson of the Ovaherero Cultural Youth League (OCYL).

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