Today’s Young Powerful African Woman is Honourable Emma Inamutila Theofelus, Namibia’s youngest politician.

The 24-year member of parliament for the Namibian Republic was appointed as the Deputy Minister of Information, Communication and Technology in March 2020 under the regime of Namibia’s current president Hage Geingob.

Honourable Emma Inamutila Theofelus is responsible for information dissemination to Namibia citizens on the preventive measures against the spread of the Covid 19 pandemic in the nation.

She also promised to bring to the table effective plans that will help improve information distribution of the activities and programs of the Namibian Government and assist in preparing the country for its 4th Industrial Revolution.

When she was given the task in parliament, a lot of people around the globe raised concerns and questions on her experience and how well she fit in such position due to her age category.

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She asserted that indeed she’s very young but that is not a yardstick to measure her inexperience because with support and guidance she can work successfully for such a significant position as long as human right is concerned.

 

Before her appointment in parliament, she was a debater and a lawyer who served couple of law firms and advocacy companies as a social justice activist after completing with LLB Honours Degree from the University of Namibia.

Hon. Emma was also serving serval advocacy purposes on issues pertaining gender, children ‘s right, sustainable development and unemployment among the youth in her country.

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Her zeal to campaign against unemployment among the youth in her country earned her the position as the Deputy Speaker of the Youth Parliament of the Republic of Namibia and the Junior Mayor of Windhoek, the capital of Namibia which happens to be her birth place between 2013 and 2017.

Other great positions she held before her political appointment include, Ambassador of the USAID/LifelineChildine 106 in 2015.

Board member of the National Council of Higher Education from 2017 to 2020, Legal Policy Advisor to the Namibian National Students Organisation from 2018 to 2019 and Commissioner for UNESCO, Namibia.

Between 2018 and 2020, she was appointed as the Vice Chairperson of Global Entrepreneurs Network Namibia Board and Legal Officer at the Ministry of Justice.

Early this year, Hon. Emma was the youngest woman honourned as one of the 100 most influential African women.

She holds Diploma in Business Management from Amity University in India and Diploma in African Feminism and Gender Studies from the University of South Africa.

What an inspiration!

Follow on Hon Emma Theofelus on Instagram

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Source:  Namibia News| Africa News | Emma Theofelus

One ethnic group that struggled a lot during the colonial period is the Herero inhabiting mainly Namibia. During the Bantu movement, they migrated to today’s Namibia where they lived through herding and agriculture.

The 18th and 19th centuries saw them battling with Nama groups of South Africa and German colonialists. Sadly, most Herero people were wiped out during these times.

Now, as an attribution their ancestors being slaughtered, the surviving women of Herero are dressing in a distinctive style that resembles the traditional costumes.

Himba Family

The question that comes to mind is; what was the chain of events that led to the Herero genocide. When German colonists started settling and invading the land that belonged to Herero people, conflicts started to rise.

The German colony was quickly established as German South West Africa. Soon after this, Herero people started to complain due to the discrimination and the lack of access to resources.

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The final straw came with the decision of relocating Herero villagers, which resulted in a large-scale riot and the ultimate massacre of many Herero people.

It was estimated that a total of 65000 people were slaughtered in the ensuing massacre. The ones who survived were either kept in concentration camps of forced to work as slaves.

Interestingly enough, this tragedy created an influenced and fused culture and lifestyle among the people of Herero. For instance, Herero warriors would steal the uniforms of German soldiers they killed. They believed that this would transfer the soldiers’ power into them.

The fashion style of women was affected much more drastically. They adopted long and colorful gowns that were originally worn by German missionaries.

herero people

The dresses are generally known as ohorokova. The distinct feature of ohorokova is the horizontal horned headdress called the otjikaiva.

This is a homage paid to the ancestors who herded cows. Other common features of these dresses include high necks, long sleeves, colorful patchwork made of fabric and crinoline-type skirts.

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these features, especially the headscarf are a way for the women to hold on to their heritage. Many Herero women refer to these dresses as “the only thing left for them after colonialism took everything”

Among women, the dress is also seen as the transition into womanhood. When puberty begins, the young girls are provided with these dresses and taught how to wear them.

Today, there are continuous attempts to revive their tradition by evolving this particular dress style.

Windhoek has become the center of Herero fashion with many fashion designers – both local and international – working on designing modernized versions of ohorokova.

While some designers prefer to stick to the traditional design of the dresses, others are bringing a novel approach by westernizing and using bright and fancy material.

McBright Kavari is the most reputable fashion designer in that regard, winning the Best Herero Dress competition held in Windhoek three times in a row.

However, his modification of the outfit was met with mixed reviews, with some people perceiving it as an insult to the culture.

https://youtu.be/QFJrVz_aHOc

Source: History lessons/ Education/ African Studies

First Africans On Earth

TBT: Sonqua, Bushmen, Saake… They have been called by various names by many African tribes and European settlers, who had difficulties in identifying them and their culture. Having inhabited Southern Africa for more than 20 000 years, the San people are the oldest residents of Southern Africa.

Their territory was not only limited to South Africa but it also expanded into Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Lesotho. Although the groups living in these areas had differences, they were connected by a shared history and linguistic.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

The early signs of San tribes were found to date back to Early Stone Age. There were many clans scattered along Southern Africa who lived a migratory lifestyle, making caves their temporary homes as they go along. Before they started domesticating animals, they were very skilled at tracking and hunting. Another skill they developed over time was to investigate and make us of the flora around them for medicinal purposes.

san

 

INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER TRIBES

As migrations started to occur in other regions of Africa, the San people subsequently started interacting with them. One of them was Khoikhoi that often gets mixed up with the San People. Unlike the San People, Khoikhoi were able to domesticate animals and live closer to a farming-lifestyle in today’s Western Cape.

On the other hand, people of Bantu heritage were also migrating from Central and Western Africa towards the south.

They were also much more settled, living in small villages and planting crops. By the 16th and the 17th centuries, the southern half of Africa was populated by three groups: San, Khoikhoi and Bantu.

sans people

 

WHEN EUROPEAN SETTLERS ARRIVED

The struggles for San People had already started when they had to share the space with settled communities, especially Bantu groups. Thus, small battles ensued between the two, which did not end in the favor of the San who were disadvantages in terms of numbers and weapons.

Things got much worse with the arrival of European settlers, since they were not able to roam freely and migrate as they liked. Those who were caught or defeated after a battle were forced into slavery. The animals they used to hunt for food were hunted or domesticated by farmers, so they no longer had sufficient access to them.

The tribes who refused to join any of the settlements as slaves were put through mass destruction. Overall, they were greatly reduced in numbers, while the remaining people assimilated in the communities that they were placed in.

san
 

SOCIAL LIFE

Although San People had no formal authority figures, they would grant leadership to people with experience and respect within the group through voting.

Instead of a great leader with absolute power, there would be guides or pioneers in every field from hunting to healing. Decisions would be made after council meetings and debates. The economy was based on gifting or trading goods and services.

Given the scarcity of the resources, they were not picky with the food. Among the animals they hunted down were antelopes, zebras, lions, fishes and insects.

They would either roast the meat on fire or place it in boiled water. For water, they were usually collecting rain water using empty ostrich egg shells, digging holes into the ground to search for water or squeezing plant roots to extract moisture.

The most common method for hunting was with bone and arrows. They would poison the tip of the arrow to make the death quicker; however, the poison would not contaminate the meat.

They were also good at setting up various traps such as pitfalls with spikes planted underneath. In terms of distribution, it was usually the man whose arrow shot the animal that decided on the distribution of the meat.

On the other hand, women were occupied with gathering plants that they cooked for their immediate families. Despite the segregation of labor in social life, hunting and plant-gathering were unisex activities. Women were able to participate in hunting and men were able to help women with gathering plants.

In fact, the women were treated with respect and a sense of equality to the extent that they would be able to make decisions on behalf of their families, own water holes and foraging areas.

 
san people

 

BELIEF SYSTEM

The San beliefs differed from one clan to the other. While some clans believed in a single and powerful entity, other worshipped nature, the Sun and the moon. After-life was also an important concept which they believed in, so they always paid homage to their deceased loved ones.

There were four main types of rituals: a boy’s first kill, a girl’s first period, marriage and trance experience. When a boy killed an eland or an antelope, he would be considered transitioning into an adult.

Another interesting ritual was during a girl’s puberty where the women of the tribe would perform a dance that imitated the mating of Eland cows.

Ritual dances and shamanic experiences were of great importance as they were used to practice medicine and observe the effects of herbal medication.

The herb extracts would often be hallucinogenic, putting the people into a dream-like state of mind. Then, they would draw the images appearing before their eyes on cave walls.

The red paint was usually made of animal fat, milk and blood while manganese oxide and charcoal was used for black and white.

 

TODAY’S WORLD AND THE SAN PEOPLE

The controversy around the San People still continues to this day, particularly in Botswana. In the 70s, government took a substantial amount of land from San People and reallocated them to pastoral farmers, especially the farmers of Tswana descent.

In addition, many San tribes were evicted from Kalahari Game Reserves and forced to relocate. South Africa has also lots of conflicts regarding the San.

Because they were given no land-rights, they are mainly living in rural areas and in extreme poverty, being driven into alcoholism, prostitution and crime.

Despite the never-ending struggle, there are also attempts to preserve and resurrect what is left of the San Culture. The rock art and paintings inside hundreds of caves have been taken under protection, while many organizations initiated education centers and museums about the San Heritage.

 

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Visiting Africa soon? Why not visit South African-Namibian border and learn more about the Oldest Population of Humans On Earth…

Credit: Research/ Ghanaeducation/Southafrica/Education/wiki/Passdownhistory

 

graca-machel-scholarshipCanon Collins Trust invites applications for the Graça Machel scholarships for women, for postgraduate study in South Africa in 2015. Funding will be provided for up to a maximum of one year for Honours, two years for Masters and three years for PhD.

Continued funding will depend on satisfactory progress and academic reports. The scholarship covers full tuition fees, a stipend towards living costs, and a travel allowance.

To apply for a scholarship under this programme you must be:

Female
A national of and normally resident in one of the SADC countries: Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe
In possession of a good first degree (minimum second class, upper division or equivalent) or about to graduate in the year of application. Studying or applying to study at a South African university.

Apply here.

Deadline: July 28 2014