Namibia: Lusata Festival Cancelled Until Next Year

24 September 2019

Windhoek — Despite all logistics being in place and business people who have gone out of their way to procure supplies, goods and services to showcase during the annual decolorated Lusata Cultural Festival, the event has been cancelled until next year.

Mafwe Royal Establishment Secretary Betty Mpango confirmed the cancellation yesterday, saying this was done to honour the mourning of the late ngambela (premier) Dixon Mubita Lusepani who passed away last week. He was 71.

He died at Chinchimane after a short illness.

The late ngambela was laid to rest on Sunday in Sesheke.

Mpango said it was agreed with the Mafwe Traditional Authority that since the community is in mourning, all preparations for the Lusata Cultural Festival be placed on ice till further notice.

"Its true, the Lusata Cultural Festival has been totally called off. It will only be held next year the same time," Mpango confirmed.

The cultural festival was scheduled to take place on September 29.

Lusepani became ngambela in July last year. He previously worked as a deputy director in the ministry of home affairs until his retirement in 2008 when he went on to become a full-time farmer.

Yearly, hundreds of people belonging to the Mafwe tribe in the Zambezi Region - and indeed others from outside the tribal group - congregate for the revered festival.

The cultural festival, which is held under the custodianship of Mafwe Chief George Simasiku Mamili, is celebrated each year at Chichimane in the Sibbinda Constituency, where the Mafwe Royal Traditional Authority headquarters are based.

The Lusata is a mace crafted out of ivory and is the Mafwe tribe's symbol of unity.

Some of the activities that typically take place comprise of cultural dances from various groups, church choirs bless the crowd with their singing, a few sketch performances, but the highlight of the day is when the Litunga (Chief) George Simasiku Mamili VII steps forth to the spotlight to address his people.

A great multitude of people (including other tribes) attend this festival as pretty much anyone is given a warm welcome. Transport is organized by Lusata Management and it is usually generously sized trucks transporting people to and from their villages.

A number of different species, that are native to Africa, are usually slain for the crowd. These include buffaloes, elephants, springboks, and hippopotamuses to mention but a few. Sometimes chiefs from neighbouring countries like Zambia and Botswana make their appearances on invite, and they too bring their own groups with their own diverse cultures to amuse the crowds.

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