Genocide should not only be confined to 1904 -1908

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Hileni Mwandingi

Gobabis-The OvaMbanderu Chief Kilus Munjuku III Nguvauva has pleaded for Namibian history to be put in its proper perspective. In his submission to the parliamentary standing committee, he said only the truth should be spoken and relayed to future generations.

He was speaking during the consultations by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs with the community of Omaheke, on Tuesday at the Gobabis community hall. The committee is having consultations with communities in different regions about the proposed ‘National Genocide Remembrance Day’, which was tabled in the National Assembly by former Swanu president Usutuaije Maamberua back in April 2016.

Maamberua proposed May 28 since it was on this day back in 1908 when the then German military commander Lothar von Trotha gave an order for all the South West Africa concentration camps to be closed and prisoners to be released.

Although the order by von Trotha to kill all OvaHerero and Namas was given in 1904, Nguvauva said the German forces of colonization already started carrying out atrocious activities against OvaMbanderu, OvaHerero and Nama shortly after their arrival in 1884. He said communities residing at Gobabis back in 1896 were irritated by the German dispossession of land through the illegal and unilateral declaration of German boundaries, and thus resisted through battles which saw a German commander Lieutenant Otto Lampe being killed.

His death infuriated the Germans further and led to the Otjunda battle where many OvaMbanderu and some OvaHerero were killed. The same reason also led to the execution of Nikodemus Kavikunua and King Kahimemua Nguvauva that same year.

Chief Nguvauva further said the vicious attack by the German troops on the community of Hoornkranz, where women and children were brutally killed in the south on April 12, 1893, should be another example why genocide should not be confined to 1904 to 1908 only. He said although the order of extermination issued by von Trotha read OvaHerero and Namas only, OvaMbanderu people were part of the order since they were regarded as OvaHerero.

“The fact that we share the same language does not make us to be Herero as in the case between Nama and Damara, as well as Afrikaner, Coloured and Baster,”he said.

The OvaMbanderu were amongst the first people to suffer at the hands of German colonial forces.

He therefore on behalf of the OvaMbanderu Traditional Authority, pleaded that May 28 be considered, as it’s the most appropriate and neutral date for all the affected communities in order for “unity of purpose and Harambee to prevail in the end”.

• Hileni Mwandingi is an information officer at MICT Omaheke Regional Office.

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