Oorlams remember former chiefs at Vaalgras


The Nama-speaking Herero tribe known as the Oorlams on Sunday held their 41st annual commemoration in memory of their late chiefs at Vaalgras village.
The event is based on the reburial of the remains of the tribe's first chief, Elias Stephanus at Vaalgras in 1971.
Stephanus had originally been buried at Keetmanshoop.
Following the reburial of the late chief, the community decided to host an annual commemoration to honour all other Oorlam chiefs who had passed away.
These include Jan Jonker Afrikaner, Hendrik Witbooi, Jan Apollus and Samuel Stephanus.
Former Minister of Environment and Tourism, Rev Willem Konjore, who was present at the event, told Nampa upon enquiry Sunday that this year’s commemoration was a big success as a large number of people attended.
The event was combined with the inauguration of a modern kitchen built at the former house of former chief Samuel Stephanus, as well as the inauguration of a community hall.
The late chief's house was also renovated in a joint initiative by the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, NamPower and members of the community, who provided financial support and labour.
The commemoration was preceded by a Cassinga Day commemoration event on Friday.
“We want to keep telling the history of the Oorlam people and at the same time, celebrate the contributions of our fallen leaders to the liberation struggle of Namibia,” said Konjore.
Sunday's event included visits to the first well in Vaalgras which the Oorlam community drank from, as well the area where Hendrik Witbooi was wounded by German colonial forces in 1905.
Witbooi died as a result of the wound while on his way to Gibeon village.
Other activities included a horse parade, and a visit to the graves at the village.


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