Former president Hifikepunye Pohamba says the legacy of Namibia’s forefathers, including that of Chief Kahimemua Nguvauva, inspired many Namibians to rise against the oppressive apartheid colonial regime of South Africa, which followed defeat of the Germans in World War I.
Speaking on Sunday at the 120th commemoration of the Battle of Otjunda and the execution of the late Chief Kahimemua Nguvauva, Pohamba described the late Chief Nguvauva as a patriotic leader who stood tall and lived by his convictions.
“Kahimemua selflessly sacrificed his life for the protection of the rights and property of his people,” Pohamba said. The former president added that the late Chief Nguvauva’s legacy inspired many Namibians to rise against exploitation and oppression at the hands of the German colonial regime.
Chief Kahimemua Nguvauva was the OvaMbanderu chief in what was then German South West Africa. He was born at Omusarakumba, 18 kilometres north of Okahandja and became leader of the OvaMbanderu in eastern Namibia.
He led the OvaMbanderu in resistance against German colonial occupation in battles at Gobabis and Otjunda in the Omaheke Region in the 1890s. Nguvauva was declared a rebel for defending their rights and property and a bounty was placed on his head and the position of chief revoked.
It was at Otjunda in 1896 that the decisive battle took place. Kahimemua was captured and tortured at Kalkfontein and taken by the German forces as a prisoner to Okahandja, where he and Nicodemus Kavikunua were brutally executed by a German firing squad on June 12.
Pohamba also called on all Namibians to work together to overcome fragmentation and divisions amongst and within our communities. “The disputes over leadership positions and chieftaincy within some traditional communities must become something of the past,” he stressed.
He said these internal squabbles lead to disunity and divert the focus from addressing the multiple socio-economic challenges facing our communities. “Peace, unity and harmony in our country’s respective communities should serve as the cornerstone in the process of building a prosperous and inclusive nation,” he said.
Pohamba in this regard appealed to the OvaMbanderu Traditional Authority (OTA) and indeed other traditional leaders to always strive for unity, peace and reconciliation amongst your community.
He said in terms of the Traditional Authorities Act, traditional leaders are expected to play a critical role in the socio-economic development of the country, to promote peace and the socio-economic well-being of their respective communities and to assist central government and regional and local authorities in the planning and implementation of developmental policies and programmes within the areas of their jurisdiction.
Pohamba also used the opportunity to call on the OvaMbanderu leadership and entire community to embrace the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) recently launched by President Hage Geingob.
The day started with a visit at the gravesite of Chief Kahimemua Nguvauva, situated at Okahandja on an erf along Kahimemua Avenue.
Among the dignitaries who attend the commemoration was Deputy Minister of Urban and Rural Development Derek Klazen, Chief George Simasiku Mamili VII of the Mafwe Traditional Authority, Chief Tjinaani Maharero of the Maharero Royal House and Chief Manasse Zeraeua of the Zeraeua Royal House, OvaMbanderu Chief in Botswana Kungairi Nguvauva, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Namibia Christian Schlaga and Special Envoy on Genocide Dr Zed Ngavirue, among others.