OkahandjaThousands of the Ovambanderu communities converged at the garden town of Okahandja over the weekend to commemorate the Battle of Otjunda in which their chief, Kahimemua Haikungairi Nguvauva, was executed by German colonial troops on June 11, 1896, as punishment for participating in an uprising against German colonialism in the Gobabis area.
Tribesmen and women from far and wide converged at the sacred place – 200 metres away from the sacred ground of the OvaHerero community – and a cow was slaughtered to feed the visitors on Saturday evening. Chiefs from different clans, with their entourages, also arrived during the day to lend support to the auspicious occasion. Chief Tjinaani Maharero of the Maharero Royal House and Chief Sam Kavezembi of the Kavezembi Royal House, as well as former DTA president and parliamentarian Katuutire Kaura, were among the dignitaries.
According to the late historian Dr Klaus Dierks, and tales around the campfires, the uprising started in March 1896 with the Khauas-Nama people under the leadership of Eduard Lambert, Kahimemua and Herero Chief Nikodemus Kavikunua. Several battles took place in the Okahandja area until May 1896 and German soldiers were supported by warriors of Chief Hendrik Witbooi and some Rehoboth Basters. Dozens of Herero warriors also joined the German Schutztruppe with Chief Samuel Maharero against Kahimemua, Nikodemus and the Khauas-Nama.
The decisive battle took place at Sturmfeld (Otjunda) on May 6, 1896, and Chief Kahimemua surrendered to the combined German, Witbooi-Nama, Baster and Herero forces who were under the command of Major Leutwein – the then general officer commanding German Imperial forces.
According to Moses Kandovazu, a member of the Mbanderu Royal family, Chief Kahimemua managed to send several of his people to safety in Botswana after the battle. On the advice of his son, Tuviriree, the Mbanderu commander-in-chief withdrew from the battlefield and the beginning of the end had started.
A certain Korutjira, a member of the Kanangatie family encircled Tuviriree from behind and cowardly shot him fatally. It was not until May 15, 1896, that German forces attacked King Kahimemua’s headquarters and in the long battle that lasted until mid-day, he was wounded and many Mbanderu warriors were killed. Nearly all Kahimemua’s sons perished in this engagement except Nikodemus, who was wounded only to be sent into hiding.