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Sunday 18 November 2018
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The “devil-face” of Christianity and Roman-Dutch law on Olufuko

With the ongoing onslaught about the legal validity and the moral standing of Olufoko first and foremost as a customary practice, need serious public dialogue as well as sufficient intellectual clarity specifically to feed those who are inclined to believe that Africa is a haven of foreign legal systems and a place where religious doctrines are used as competent lens of human morality.
Like other customs in the diversity of African cultures, Olufuko is an African customary practice of Aawambo that marks the transformation of young girls into adulthood using culturally acceptable practices guided by customary laws as inherited from the ancestral laws practiced before colonialism.
As a cultural habit in African traditions, inheritance of customs and beliefs is fundamental in the cultural preservation as new generations are born to replace those that gradually have perished.
Therefore in the context of customary version of Ancestral law, Olufuko like any other sister practices in Africa are legally valid, and ethical and there is no qualm about its morality.
The legality and morality of Olufuko practice via foreign lenses of the law of Holland; the Roman-Dutch law that was introduced in South Africa by one Jan Van Riebeeck as from 1652 as a law of the Cape of Goodhope creates hypocrisy of the highest order in Africa when it comes to legality on cultural practices of this land, the moral compass was twisted to fit the context of the colonizers over the indigenous population of Africa.
The colonizing species found it entertaining to change the legality and morality of cultural practices therefore it can safely be said that the version of legal validity and morality of the Roman-Dutch law on Olufuko is essentially an ingredient for racism by the colonizing species intentionally made to oppress the indigenous human species, control them and rob them of their dignity in terms of their culture and African spirituality.
Olufuko has been in practice as a rite of passage of young girls into adulthood since the 18thand 19th centuries in Ombaanhu kingdom and it catered for the neighboring kingdoms of Oukwambi, Ongandjera and Oukwaluudhi.
The 2018 research made by the university of Namibia and Outapi Town council help us to find more clarity on Olufuko practice as a custom not only limited to Aawambo people of Namibia but also reflected in other African tribes and sub-tribes; the practice is comparable to “Efundula”
practiced in Oukwanyama Kingdom, “Umemulo” in amaZulu tribe of South Africa and the practice of “dhahara” in Kenya, these are old age customs born of African traditions organized to celebrate the rite of passage of young girls from childhood to adulthood.
Some of these practices were banished by religious laws of Christianity and were seen as barbaric and backward by the foreign laws of Dutch and Roman origin, in an attempt to restore colonized societies dignity as with regard to their culture, African governments realized the need for the restoration of old customs as a way to give a middle finger to foreign customs on ethics and the challenge became that of the difficulty to abolish foreign legal systems which keeps neo-colonialism rolling in Africa today and replacing it with the old original customs to put Africa in an exact position as it were before colonialism.
The Roman-Dutch law as a source of law in Namibia in which various section of the society contextualize the legal validity of Olufuko , the colonial inheritance of the Virginia Declaration of  Rights of 1776 which influenced human rights in the constitution as another source of law in Namibia to which some argued the right of privacy and dignity allegedly committed by Olufuko practice are all inherent of colonialism and apartheid racism, which right of dignity is being violated if the colonial laws are the ones busy violating Owambo customs that harbors our dignity?

Shivute Kaapanda
A Critical theorist/Philosopher
Eyanda Village


Previous PostLast month, Jamal Khashoggi – a Washington Post columnist and prominent critic of the Saudi government – walked into Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul to pick up documents that would enable him to marry his Turkish fiancée. Instead of receiving help from his country’s government, he was tortured, murdered, and dismembered by a team of its agents. It is a shocking crime that raises some serious questions, not least regarding the appropriate balance between defending human rights and maintaining long-standing (and lucrative) alliances. More fundamentally, the sheer brazenness with which the Saudi government had Khashoggi killed – not to mention Western leaders’ weak response – has underscored for people around the world just how coldly calculated geopolitical machinations really are. Transparency is usually a virtue to be encouraged. Here, however, the revelation comes at a cost. The belief that principles, values, and rules hold at least some weight in international relations has a stabilizing effect. As that belief is shaken – say, by the poisoning earlier this year of the former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter on British soil – the global order is damaged, perhaps beyond repair. The delegitimizing effect of such episodes is exacerbated by a broader abandonment of formalities – such as workplace dress codes and standards for communication – that has been fueled by the rise of social media. As our public and private lives are blurred, public figures are under pressure to appear as “real” and “normal” as our neighbors and colleagues. Even Pope Francis has released a rock album. Of course, not all of these shifts are necessarily bad. The breakdown of formal structures can create space for independent thinking and innovation. The danger comes when no new framework emerges to help guide our behavior – and, more important, the behavior of our leaders – to ensure that it adheres to some shared values or reasonable expectations. US President Donald Trump embodies this risk. Since coming onto the political scene, Trump has shattered expectations about how a US presidential candidate – and, subsequently, a US president – should behave. While there is nothing fundamentally wrong with a political leader communicating frankly and directly with his or her constituents, the tone and style of Trump’s delivery – largely via Twitter – is highly damaging. His below-the-belt insults, racist dog whistles, and unfounded attacks on the media and other democratic institutions are deepening political and social divisions, while diminishing respect for the presidency and the US more generally. Trump’s unprecedentedly transactional – and highly erratic – approach to foreign policy is similarly destabilizing. To be sure, Trump’s deal-making was initially framed to some extent by broader values, especially increasing the “fairness” of US relationships, from security cooperation with NATO allies to trade ties with China. Despite Trump’s “America first” rhetoric, such actions seemed to be focused more on rebalancing the system than destroying it. Trump’s response to the Khashoggi episode, however, is fully decoupled from any overarching values. To be clear, US presidents, together with European leaders, have been coddling Saudi Arabia for decades, and leaders worldwide often base their foreign-policy decisions on realpolitik, rather than moral considerations. But this is the first time a US president has unabashedly acknowledged the purely transactional nature of their policy decisions. The Saudis, Trump declares bluntly, are “spending $110 billion on military equipment and on things that create jobs” in the US. “I don’t like the concept of stopping an investment of $110 billion into the United States.” Notwithstanding the dubiousness of the figures involved, Trump’s comments are a bald statement of monetized interest. The comfort, even pride, with which he makes such statements indicates that we really have entered a new era, in which we cannot expect our leaders to clear even the low bar of trying to fit their decisions into a rules- or values-based narrative.This is dangerous, because such narratives are vital to maintain the credibility of the global order and the support of domestic constituencies for it. Just like effective leadership and respect for the rule of law, a certain amount of faith in the system – even if it is qualified by frustration with inequality or impunity – is essential to its survival. A world in which all that matters is the deal, in which there is no ethos guiding our actions and underpinning our governance systems, is one where citizens do not know what to expect from their leaders and countries do not know what to expect from their allies. Such an unpredictable and unstable world is not one that we should blindly accept. It is not too late to respond to Khashoggi’s brutal murder in a way that reinforces, rather than undermines, the rules on which we all depend. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia is a good start, even if it was driven largely by her desire to shore up support for her Christian Democratic Union ahead of regional elections in Hesse; so, too, is the current pushback from Washington against a business-as-usual approach to Saudi Arabia. But more must be done, with principled leaders declaring clearly that what happened in Istanbul is not acceptable. Otherwise, we will effectively be giving up the discourse of values and rules – a decision that could well leave us with no coherent and stabilizing discourse at all.2 Ana Palacio, a former Spanish foreign minister and former Senior Vice President of the World Bank, is a member of the Spanish Council of State, a visiting lecturer at Georgetown University, and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the United States.


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