At the beginning of November, Angela Impey went to Namibia with the acclaimed BBC journalist, Robin Denselow, to make a radio documentary about the Damara King’s Festival, which took place in Okombahe (Erongo Region), viewed many many as the current 'capital' of the ǂNūkhoen (Damara) people. Namibian project partner and film maker, Andy Botelle (Director of Mamokobo Film and Research), joined them from Windhoek to film the event.
The festival, which is little known to most Namibians, yet draws Damara 'nations' (!haoti) from across west Namibia and beyond, was announced on a dedicated Facebook site as follows:
His Royal Highness, the King of the Damaran, the second largest tribe in Namibia, Justice |Uruhe ||Garoëb, Invites You All to the 10th Largest Damara Traditional and Cultural Festival
Dates: 4th to 6th November 2016.
34 Clans, 14 Regions, 10 000 People - 6 Brass Bands, 34 Cultural Groups, 20 March- |gaisa Artists - 48 hours of Singing, Dancing, Drumming, Marching and Connection to the Ancestors.
The Queen of Meat and Food Feast: 5 Donkeys, 10 Zebras, 10 Oryxs, 2 Cows, 10 sheep and 10 goats...
Long Live the Spirit of Harambee!!!
Long Live the Unity of the Damaran!!!
No Damara Clans Shall be Left Out!!!
We are All Equal in the Namibian House!!!
One Namibia, One Nation.....
See you in Okombahe Next Weekend.....
The Damara Kings Festival, first established 32 years ago, is a public commemoration of Damara history, locality and identity. It serves as a cultural focus for learning about Damara pasts, and about the role of traditional authority and its place in the modern nation state. Further, it is a celebration of community, social interaction and traditional values. Typical of community festivals of this nature, it is a colourful public spectacle of renewal, drawing on cultural performances to reflect upon and define Damara / ǂNūkhoen identity, to dramatise collective knowledge and senses of belonging, and to promote both stability and change.
Listen here to Robin Denselow’s report on BBC Radio 3's World on Three, broadcast on 9th December 2016.