Vaccinated northern chiefs urge subjects to follow suit

05 August 2021 | Health



Communities often look to traditional and religious leaders for advice on how to live. In northern Namibia, these leaders are stepping to the fore by getting vaccinated for Covid-19, and are asking their subjects to follow suit.

Ondonga King Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo said he and his team have been fully vaccinated. He made the statement when he handed over 20 oxygen concentrators - valued at N$360 000 - to the Onandjokwe Hospital last month, a donation from the Ondonga Traditional Authority.

Nangolo recently warned his subjects by sending letters to district coordinators as well speaking on radio, saying Covid-19 is on the increase in the wake of Namibia battling the third wave. He mentioned Namibians have a choice regarding which vaccination they prefer as nurses explain the available options.

“Covid-19 is getting intense and hospitals do not have spaces or oxygen and people are dying in corridors. I am pleading to my people to follow the protocols put in place by government. Secondly, please go and get vaccinated so that we can save our lives and those of our loved ones,” he stressed.

Nangolo said while no law forces people to get vaccinated, he is pleading with his subjects to spread the message so they can save lives.

“Do not spread misconceptions that the vaccine is dangerous because it is there to save our lives so we can lead you. If we find ourselves unvaccinated, people will die and us as leaders we will have no one to lead. Or anyone to assist us in leading. If you then so wish to not get vaccinated, follow the traditional ways to avoid getting infected and the ways put in place by health authorities,” he said.

A vaccinated queen

Oukwanyama Traditional Authority spokesperson Dengeinge Sheya told Namibian Sun that the Queen of the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority, Martha Mwadinomho yaKristian Nelumbu, has also been vaccinated.

Sheya said he has also gotten the jab along with other traditional leaders.

He said they have been encouraging their subjects to get vaccinated through the ward headmen, instructing them to tell village leaders as well as headmen and -women to encourage everyone in their communities to get vaccinated.

“This is the only way we can save our lives and those of our people. They should spread the message as the queen has emphasised,” he said.

‘Together we can do better’

It is unclear whether Ombalantu Traditional Authority, Chief Oswin Shifiona Mukulu, has received the jab, but the authority’s spokesperson, Isdor Angula Kanelombe, told Namibian Sun yesterday that Mukulu has consistently sent out messages for his subjects to get vaccinated.

For his part, Kanelombe confirmed that he – as well as other traditional leaders - have been vaccinated.

He added that they have been spreading the vaccine message through district head and ward head.

“We also speak to people during the memorial services and funerals. When we send through messages of condolences, we reiterate the message from the health ministry on the importance of the vaccine. Together we can do better,” he said.

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