ELCIN Bishop commits Olufuko sin
The war of words regarding the planned Olufuko Festival at Outapi has erupted again, this time with the Olufuko Preparatory Committee accusing a senior churchman of having sneaked onto the Olufoko premises without authorisation.
A statement issued earlier by the Preparatory Committee questioned the reasons for the Bishop’s invasion of the premises “given the fact that the ELCIN church has condemned the festival through a pastoral letter under the signature of presiding Bishop Nambala”.
Speaking to Namibian Sun yesterday, the chairman of the Olufuko Preparatory Committee, Oswin Namakalu, said ELCIN Bishop Josaphat Shanghala sneaked onto the Olufuko premises around noon on Tuesday.
“He sneaked into Olufuko Centre and entered the Oshiwambo Traditional Homestead where the initiation ceremony will take place,” said Namakalu. The committee had earlier claimed that Shanghala was seen inspecting the entire homestead including the enclosure house (ondjugo) where the brides will be sleeping during the festival.
Namakalu said the bishop tried to conceal his identity by entering the premises through the backdoor and by parking his vehicle some 100 meters away before he walked to the site.
According to Namakalu, the bishop was seen minutely inspecting the entire homestead.
“We do not know what he was looking for, but by visiting the Olufuko premises, Bishop Shanghala violated his own church’s precepts that not only tells believers not to take part in Olufuko rituals, but even tells them to never come close the premises associated with Olufuko. But here we have him committing a serious sin by entering the premises without authorisation,” said Namakalu.
Recently founding President’s Sam Nujoma’s aide, John Nauta, had explained that there would be no real Olufuko initiation right for girls but only an exhibition that illustrates the tradition of the ritual.
Founding President Sam Nujoma is the patron of the site and will be the keynote speaker at the opening.
Namakalu wanted to know why the Bishop entered without permission and what his impressions were after his inspection.
Approached for comment, Bishop Shanghala confirmed that he visited the site.
“That was not even the first time,” he said.
According to him, the new Olufuko site is about 50 metres from the site where ancient Olufuko ceremonies were held and is not very far from his place.
“What I found out is that the new structures are totally different from a traditional Ombalantu homestead,” he said.
Shanghala dismissed the accusation that he sneaked in without authorisation.
“I found workers there and I greeted them. It is also not true that I parked my vehicle far away or that I entered through the backdoor. I parked in front of the main gate and I was not the only person entering either,” he said.
About his church’s appeal to members to have nothing to do with Olufuko, Shanghala said last month’s statement was from a pastors’ conference, not from the church’s executive body.
Speaking from Oniipa where the Church Council was taking place yesterday, Shanghala added that there was a strong possibility that the Olufuko issue would come up.
“We as a church need to have a clear voice,” he said.