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Breaking News - 2nd November 2022

Presidency Hands Nyemba Hot Potato To Uutoni

By Courtesy of News - National | 2022-11-02 Page no: 6 By Petrus Muronga


The Vanyemba People Protest For Their Rights In Namibia
The Vanyemba People Submission of The Petition To The Government of Namibia


THE Office of the President has referred a petition in which a group of Nyemba-speaking people asked president Hage Geingob to help them to get their language broadcast on Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) radio to minister of urban and rural development Erastus Uutoni.

This comes after the Nyemba-speaking community, in a petition handed to the Kavango East Regional Council on Friday, asked for their language to be for accommodated broadcasting.

“The issue has been referred to the minister of urban and regional development for consideration and engagement with the concerned community,” State House spokesperson Alfredo Hengari yesterday said.

Uutoni yesterday said he was attending a Cabinet meeting, but his office would respond as soon as it has information on the matter.

“It is difficult to comment on something you don't know anything about,” he said.

Questions sent to the NBC were not responded to at the time of going to print.

The petition to Geingob was drafted in an attempt to preserve the group's culture and heritage, the group said on Friday.

“Failure to meet our demands will result in legal action,” Elia Tapalo, who read the petition on behalf of the group, said on Friday.

“We pledge that our request still stands to allow us in airing our language on NBC Radio Wato. Please be certain, Mr President, that the Nyemba-speaking people came a long time ago, and they are the majority, especially in the two Kavango regions . . ,” he said.

The group is also demanding a task force to investigate the matter and to provide a forum to help find an amicable solution to the issue.

“The Nyemba language on radio will provide the Vanyemba people with the freedom to enjoy, practise, profess, maintain and promote their culture, language, traditions or religion subject to the terms of the Namibian Constitution,” Tapalo said.

He said the Nyemba-speaking community wants to make it clear that the issue of traditional jurisdiction and chieftainship is different from the language issue.

A Vanyemba committee has brushed off the perception that the recognition of their language would disturb the peace and stability of the country.

“We are aware that the people disturbing the peace and stability of our region are the two governors of the Kavango East and Kavango West regions, their traditional authorities, and political leadership.

“We would like to make it categorically clear that airing our language on NBC Wato does not disturb the peace, nor will it disturb or interfere with other Namibian spoken languages at all,” Tapalo said.

A meeting was held on 16 September to discuss the issue.

In attendance was minister of infomation and communication technology Peya Mushelenga, Kavango East governor Bonifatius Wakudumo, the five traditional authorities in both regions, as well as the NBC board and some staff members.

The meeting, however, took place in the absence of the concerned group, and the regional leadership and traditional authorities rejected the proposed radio slot.

“This means they were giving incorrect information to the minister and the entire NBC staff, thus the information collected was from one side, and the reason why our language leaders were not called to the meeting remains unknown to us,” Tapalo said.

He said the programme was blocked to prevent the Nyemba community from exercising their right to freedom of speech.

Outgoing chief regional officer Ludwig Thikusho received the petition to be handed to the chairperson of the regional council, Damian Maghambayi, who was then tasked to hand it to Geingob

Our Addition:

The Vanyemba people of Namibia are part of the Mbunda Nyemba group who migrated from the now Angola in varying circumstances as one of the various groups originating from the Mbunda ethnic group during the Mbunda migration from the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai rivers, now forming pert of the Bandundu Province in the Congo (DRC). https://www.mbundakingdom.org/Mbunda-People-Profile.htm



These groups are recognised as Vanyemba in Namibia. These are similar challenges the Mbunda are facing in Western Province of Zambia, where among others, their rights to Culture, Tradition and Customs are being stifled.

First Reported By News - National | 2022-11-02 Page no: 6 Petrus Muronga


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