Ongandjera palace opens mahangu stores

The Ongandjera palace was inundated by hungry people, indicating that the drought''s impact is severe.

15 November 2016 | Disasters

The Ongandjera Traditional Authority has decided to share its mahangu stores with the drought-stricken community.

This is an effort of the traditional authority to complement the government''s drought-relief programme. According to the authority, the government''s effort is not enough due to the nationwide drought which has resulted from poor rainfall over the past few years. Ongandjera last experienced such a drought in 1961.

Queen Andreheid Mupiya opened the mahangu stores at the palace at Uukandongo on Sunday and King Johannes Mupongolitha Mupiya and his senior headmen distributed mahangu to community members yesterday.

According to the chairperson of the Ongandjera Traditional Authority, Sakeus Shikongo, this was last done in 1961 when Uushona Shiimi was the king.

Mupiya said he invited community members to bring their own containers to the palace to receive mahangu.

“This mahangu belongs to the community and it is just stored at the palace. Community members are the ones who cultivate and harvest it every year on the palace''s mahangu field. It is customary for those finding themselves without something to eat to come and get mahangu from the palace, but this year the need is very high,” Mupiya said.

He said the palace was inundated by hungry people, indicating that the drought''s impact is severe.

“We directed headmen to identify all the people who are severely affected by drought to come and get mahangu from the palace. This is just the first round and we invited 15 villages only, others will follow later,” he said.

Queen Mupiya said the palace has enough mahangu to carry Ongandjera and assist those that are seriously in need.

“We have 12 stores, and today we planned to give away five stores, but we ended up giving only one. During times like this, as the Queen, I have to feed the nation,” she said.

King Mupiya, who is the 26th king of the Ongandjera community, was not happy with community members who brought small containers, saying they were inadequate.

He also encouraged community members to continue cultivating the palace''s mahangu field.

“This is an indication why it is important to cultivate the palace''s field.

It is for your own benefit. I am urging you not to sell this mahangu, but use it to feed your family,” he said.



ILENI NANDJATO

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