Lusata Festival set for October, 1st 2017

29 September 2017
Author  Edwin M Samati & Sibeta Mundia, Barotseland Post
FILE: Performers at the Lusata Festival

Come the 1st of October 2017, people from all walks of life will join Chief George Simasiku Mamili and his people at Chinchimani to celebrate the annual Lusata Cultural Festival. Various political and traditional leaders from near and far are expected to attend this magnificent event.

Among those expected at the event is the Deputy Prime Minister of Namibia, Hon. Netumbo Ndaitwah and her entourage; the Ovambanderu Chief Kilas Nguvauva, Hambukushu Chief Munika Mbambo, and others. Namibia's OvaKwanyama Queen is expected to send a delegation. It is also expected that foreign dignitaries such as Kgosi Joan Chika of Masubia from Parakarungu in Botswana, and Prince Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika from Barotseland, among others, will be present.

George Simasiku Mamili is the seventh Chief of the Mafwe people in the Caprivi Strip. The    festival is an annual event since 1981 during the reign of Chief Richard Temuso Muhinda Mamili, an occasion where all Mafwe come together to see their Chief, during the Lusata, and celebrate their traditional values and their unity in diversity.

Lusata, which is the festival's name, is the royal ivory-encrusted stick or maze which is considered a symbol of royal authority. During the ‘Lusata procession’, the Chief walks majestically and systematically closer and past the public holding the maze with two hands showcasing it to his subjects and general public.

The maze was a diplomatic gift from Germany given to the Mafwe Chief. The term Lusata is associated with, or may be linked to ‘Lusatia’, a region in Central Europe which is mainly part of Germany today, situated between two rivers. Lusatia is an ethnic Sorbian word for ‘swamp’ or ‘swampy land’. Historically, Lusatia belonged to several different countries and was partitioned into two parts.

While there is a specific group speaking Sifwe, Mafwe has been over time adopted as a tribal name for a heterogeneous ethnic group comprising of people speaking about seven different dialects or languages. Among them are Khoisan, Subia, Yeyi, Sifwe, Totela, Mbalangwe and Silozi speakers who recognize and embrace Mamili as their supreme traditional leader.

The festival is    always held in the village where the Litunga stays in Chinchimani village, about 65km    south of Katima    Mulilo. It used to take place on the first Sunday of every September coinciding with the Heritage Day of South Africa, but for the past two to three years the event is taking place on the first Sunday of October.

At this event, the Litunga's message is read to the public in which he comments on government development projects and advises both government and his subjects on social and economic issues.

The Mafwe, like the maSubia of Caprivi Strip share an indelible historical and cultural heritage with the rest of their maLozi counterparts of Barotseland.

Meanwhile, three books about the Mafwe will be launched in Katima Mulilo today, Friday, 29th September, 2017.

The books being launched are:

1. The Part in the Whole and the Whole in the Part: The Relationship between the Mafwe & Malozi by Prince Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika

2. The Historical Odyssey of the Mafwe by Dr. John Lilemba

3. Lusata lwa Sicaba by Mr. Andrew Matjila

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The Barotseland Post, also known as The Barotsepost, is an online media platform, for now, that is dedicated to reporting stories and news around Barotseland and beyond, giving exclusive coverage and access to the people and the nation of Barotseland to fully express themselves in their aspirations for self- determination.