Posted with permission from allAfrica.com

Thousands of Mafwe and Namibians from all walks of life on Sunday gathered at Chinchimane, the royal headquarters of Chief George Simasiku Mamili VII, to celebrate the Lusata cultural festival. At the annual cultural festival, Mamili condemned some of his subjects who are agitating for secession. Apart from the Mafwe community and government officials as well as Cabinet ministers who attended the festival, other visitors came from as far as Zambia and Botswana.

The Lusata cultural festival has been celebrated annually ever since it was introduced by then Mafwe Chief Richard Muhinda Mamili V with the help of his close friend Andrew Matjila in 1981.

Matjila and Muhinda are well honoured by the Mafwe people for this initiative, which always brings young people together to feast and celebrate their rich cultural heritage spanning centuries. With the help of Matjila, Muhinda designed the royal mace where the festival derives its name.

The royal mace belongs to the reigning chief of the Mafwe people and it will always be transferred to the next chief who takes over. Once a year, when this time comes, the elephant ivory-encrusted royal mace is always held aloft by the chief for everyone at the festival to see.

The royal mace symbolises unity and peace among the Mafwe people.

In his annual address, Chief Mamili VII called on his subjects, particularly young people, to promote unity in the region and the country at large. Mamili condemned the actions of the youth who are advocating for secession though he acknowledged that the majority hail from his traditional authority.

"Yes, it is a fact that the majority of those behind the idea are from this traditional authority, but let me make it crystal clear today... The Mafwe Traditional Authority under my leadership does not and will never ever - neither in future support the idea of seceding Zambezi from the rest of Namibia," he said.

He added that should those behind the idea of secessionism be brought to book, the traditional authority would never sympathise with them.

At the same occasion, Mamili thanked government for the notable development in his traditional authority, particularly by providing much-needed infrastructure and essential services.

Speaking at the same occasion, the Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwa shared the chief's sentiments of promoting unity within the country.

"Our traditional leaders have to assist our nation to ensure that our diverse culture does not divide us but unite us. They must make sure that our traditions bind us together," she said.