By Moses Magadza
National Heritage Council officials are at wits’ end following the costly mischief of some monkeys in the capital that continuously vandalise a bronze commemorative inscription at Heroes Acre, the country’s multi-million-dollar national war memorial.
The monkeys have taken a particularly keen interest in Founding President, Dr Sam Nujoma’s tribute just below the statue of the Unknown Soldier. The statue was erected in memory of the legion of unknown freedom fighters that vanished into the mists of the liberation struggle.
In bronze letters, the Founding President wrote on August 26, 2002: “Glory to the fallen heroes and heroines of the Motherland Namibia.”
It is this tribute the monkeys seem hell-bent at obliterating. Twice they have scampered onto the imposing statue and gnawed off some letters, and twice officials from the National Heritage Council have had to stick them back.
“Monkeys are damaging it. Last year, they did it again and we had to repair the letters.
“We suspect they even do it at night,” Esther Goagoses, the head of the National Museum of Namibia, said by telephone.
She said it was unknown why the monkeys are drawn to the statue. For all their tomfoolery, monkeys are not, however, nocturnal creatures.
Goagoses said authorities would consider using stronger material to write the message given the relentlessness of the monkeys.
Designed by a North Korean firm, Mansudae Overseas Project, the Heroes’ Acre was built over 13 months and inaugurated in 2002.
According to the City of Windhoek website, the construction of the approximately N$35 million memorial was prompted by the need to “foster the spirit of patriotism and nationalism …”