Namibia: Ovaherero Introduce Management System


The Ovaherero Traditional Authority has developed a software management system to register all Hereros on one database. The system would capture various information, including individuals' profiles, paternal and maternal ancestry or heritage, history of the Ovahereros, heroes and heroines, a strategic plan, livestock database, customary law, traditional authorities and the 1904 Genocide.

Paramount Chief of the Ovaherero, Kuaima Riruako, held meetings with the community, traditional leaders and experts at the Commando, near the so-called Herero Mall, recently where the new management system was introduced.

According to Bethuel Katjimune, secretary of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority, last year's senate meeting in Otjimbingwe set up a structure for the Ovaherero leadership.

Some of the resolutions were to set up a five-year strategic plan and a development fund, writing the history of the Ovahereros, and profile the authority of Ovahereros and traditional activities such as omuhiva, outjina and omatando that have been lost.

The plan will also document the history of the Ovaherero leaders, forgotten heroes and heroines who are not in history books, what months on the calendar mean for the Ovahereros, explanation of roles of Otjiserandu (Red Flag), Otjingirine (Green Flag) and Otjijapa (White Flag).

Children's education is also on the agenda - to set up a plan on the challenges learners face when they fail Grade 10 and cannot go back to formal schools, and find ways to explore scholarships for those who passed Grade 12.

Other items on the strategic plan are to decipher information on how to prevent diseases such as HIV/AIDS, arthritis and cancer.

Katjimune said there is also a need to start their own food production and identify areas where there is water to start ploughing. He added that although the Ovaherero are among successful livestock producers in the country, there is no proper market for their produce.

"We produce but it gets into other people's hands," he said, pointing out that they need to research the market so that they can also produce different items up to finished products.
This, he said, includes finished items such as mats (ovinguma), saddles (ovisara) and leashes (ovitoma) from cattle hide.

One of the ways that the management system could help control livestock movement in the communal areas, is for members to register ownership tags and registration numbers that are branded on livestock through a centralised computerised system, so that they can be easily identified if they are lost or stolen.

Katjimune divulged that the Ovaherero community needs to identify projects for funding and for business plans to be drafted to that end.

The development fund's leadership is made up of Professor Peter Katjavivi, who is the patron; Vekuii Rukoro, chairman; Bethuel Katjimune, secretary; Dr Jekura Kavari, Dr Hoze Riruako, Dr Ida Kandjii Murangi, Jonathan Katjimune, Brian Katjaerua and Brian Black.

To enroll as member of the management system, a N$150 fee is payable while every member must contribute a monthly fee of not less than N$30. "Anybody who enrolls would have access to bank details, statements and balance," said Katjimune, adding that the process started in March in Ovitoto. He said Otjinene and Gam communities have also requested to be enrolled on the system. Last weekend, the traditional authority was to make presentations in Swakopmund on the new management system.