Shrine Causes Stir in Tsumeb

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By Engel Nawatiseb TSUMEB The Swapo party Regional Coordinator in the Oshikoto region has appealed to the local council to remove an inscription on an obelisk that allegedly bears a message that could impact negatively on the spirit and policy of national reconciliation. The controversy surrounding the obelisk or monument resurfaced following discovery that the wording continues to feature prominently in the town’s cemetery. The first female Mayor of Tsumeb after independence, Susan Nghindinwa at the time gave instructions to the former town clerk, Ocker Britz to order the removal of the wording. From the looks of things, the “derogatory” wording was merely covered with another plaque bearing the inscription: “Ons Sal Hulle Onthou”, literally meaning: “We will remember them”. Armas Amukwiyu told New Era that the presence of the obelisk was a symbol of disunity and return of hatred amongst peaceful community members. “It should be removed or the wording should be completely cleared. We in Swapo waged a bitter struggle against the forces of division but yet some of them are today portraying an impression that they were heroes of our country’s struggle for independence. We condemn such acts of distortion of historical realities. They were just heroes perhaps of their own interest. “The obelisk must go together with the misleading text on it.” The wording inscribed on behalf of “Rapportryers of Tsumeb” on the obelisk suggests that the “whites” that have fallen as a result of “terrorism” should be remembered. Guerilla fighters of the Swapo party’s former “People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan) were dubbed terrorists by the former colonial regime that controlled the former South West Africa, now Namibia. Amukwiyu noted that Plan combatants were liberation forces that resisted colonial rule and consequently fought the liberation struggle to bring about independence. “So, we have got diversified opinion as regards naming our heroes, but such inscription cannot be allowed to feature in a peaceful atmosphere like ours in Tsumeb and the country in general. Both ethnic groupings need each other to strengthen the meaning of reconciliation in our country, let’s therefore agree to get rid of the colonial tendencies and forge together to develop our communities collectively,” said Amukwiyu. Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of the Tsumeb Municipal Council, Archie Benjamin told New Era that an investigation would be launched to establish the facts around the re-appearance of the wording on the obelisk. “I cannot make judgement without reading the provisions of the previous council’s resolution regarding this matter. I need time to investigate before I table the matter before council.” He said that the investigation would also attempt to determine whether the plaque covering the “condemned” wording was removed deliberately to show the initial wording or whether it has fallen off of its own accord. New Era could not obtain any names of people that were linked to the “Rapportryers” organisation.