‘Sam Khubis Day Is for Basters’

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK The yearly Sam Khubis Day celebrations will forever remain exclusively a commemoration for the “volk’s” sacrifices for generations to come. This is the view of the chairperson of the organizing committee of the Sam Khubis Day celebrations, Jacky Britz, who reacted to calls to also include the Nama-speaking section of the society. “Those asking for the Namas to be included in this holy period of commemoration of the Basters are totally out of order because historically, the Namas had a separate fight with the Germans and were not involved in our suffering,” Britz told New Era this week in reaction to a call for the inclusion of the Nama people by a Unam lecturer at last year’s commemoration. Sam Khubis Day is celebrated every year on May 8 to mark a victory over German troops in 1915. Well-known social worker, Dr Hettie Rose-Junius requested the Sam Khubis Day organising committee to consider inviting a delegation from the Nama-speaking people to this year’s festivities and in future. “This year, the celebrations will focus on and will be presented under the theme, The Role of the Youth. The young people of Rehoboth will be entirely in charge of most of the programme that already starts this Sunday with a church service to commemorate the 1915 attack on the farm Garies. It will be a short ceremony at which a torch will also be lit. The youth of all churches will be involved in this,” said Britz. Exactly 91 years ago, the Baster people decided to take up arms against the German colonial troops after they refused to join the Germans in fighting against other indigenous groups like the Nama and the Herero. “The Basters fled on foot, horseback and wagon to Sam Khubis, ahead of a modern and merciless German army. The area was chosen by the then Baster leaders because of its strategic location surrounded by mountains and providing only one entrance,” he said. At Sam Khubis, the Baster people took a stand to protect their defenceless women and children, some of whom died from shots fired by German troops on their way to Sam Khubis. “The wife and child of the then Baster leader, Kaptein Cornelius van Wyk were shot dead in cold blood at farm Garies by a German officer. She was on her way to Sam Khubis. “Only one bullet was used to kill the two because in the face of death, the mother tried to shield her child. The bullet struck the child first and then killed the mother. Others who fled were met with the same fate,” Britz related emotionally. According to him, most Basters arrived at Sam Khubis with the German army in hot pursuit. “Fighting erupted and casualties were inflicted on both sides during the battle of Sam Khubis. However, the Baster men and women, who fought side by side, were running out of ammunition. Their makeshift rifles, ‘Ou Sannas’ were not up to the German war artillery. The German army used modern war equipment, complete with cannons and other heavy-calibre war equipment. The Baster people faced a massive onslaught from the German troops, possibly complete extermination,” he said. Faced with this, the Baster leaders and their people turned to God and asked Him to save them. In return they made a pact with God and promised to respect and commemorate this day every year. The German army withdrew and the war was over. “I am happy to say that we have succeeded in resolving the issues of the availability of toilet facilities at the celebration site some 70 km south-west of Rehoboth. With removable ablution blocks and showers available, we can now accommodate more people,” Britz said. Well-known former radio personality, Gernot de Klerk will be the guest speaker on behalf of the youth at today’s commemorations at Sam Khubis. The programme for the day includes a re-enactment of the attack on the Basters in 1915 before sunrise, a flag raising, wreath laying and a church service.