Kamanjab/Opuwo-The Oromuve Tjimba traditional community’s unrecognised leader Gabriel Kaunotje says his people want him to be accorded government recognition and are also demanding their ancestral land.
“We lost our land after it was taken from us before independence,” said Kaunotje.
The unrecognised leader also feels the retrenchment of his people from commercial farms after the introduction of the minimum wage makes their plight even more urgent.
“The farms where most of our people were employed let go of them after the introduction of the minimum wage. Now they have no place to reside or call home and we want to live like others too,” Kaunotje told New Era recently.
After the community was uprooted from its land some of them relocated to the then Kaokoland. The community wants to be recognised like the San who live in and around Etosha.
New Era was informed their forefathers resided in areas such as Okaakana and Onaiso in Etosha and played traditional music such as omuhiva and outjina.
Daniel Tjiveze, the chairperson of the unrecognised community, believes the recognition of the Oromuve Tjimba group will add some weight to their demands to get back their ancestral land.
A few years ago the then governor, the late Angelika Muharukua, requested the Tjimba to visit farms in Kamanjab area so that they could also apply to be resettled on those farms.
0n March 27 2017, Muharuka even wrote to the then Minister of Urban and Rural Development r Sophia Shaningwa an application for the recognition of the Oromuve Tjimba Traditional Authority. They also wrote a letter to the Office of the Vice-President asking for political support so that their chief could be recognised.
The unrecognised Oromuve Tjimba Traditional Authority leadership consists of Kaunotje, Linus Tjiveze, Emilie Ripaka Karunga, Ben Kamaru, Stefanus Turitjo, Watepisa Tjimuhiva, Petrutha Kenahama and Felicity Mbapewa Hoaes, while the junior traditional councillors include Paulina Ndjitezewa, Dawid Karunga, Petrus Tjiveze, Fedrika Kamerika, Mathues Mutrifa and Uatukisa Kuvare.
On January 7 the traditional community wrote to Kunene Governor Marius Sheya through the office of the regional council to notify him of assessments done by the Office of the President that they are declared a marginalised community based in Kunene south (Khorixas, Outjo, Kamanjab and surrounding areas).
According to the assessments done the Tjimba community does not have proper housing, it has high unemployment, it lacks job skills, has no income-generating projects and they want the same assistance rendered to other marginalised communities extended to them.
They feel land should be provided to them as a matter of urgency and the youth be given opportunities in skills development under the National Youth Service, and employment in the Namibian Police, Namibian Defence Force (NDF), as well as jobs in the health sector.
The Tjimba also want to start own chicken, brick-making and other projects, and because of the experience acquired on farms on which they grew up they want to be involved in crop farming and animal husbandry so that they can reduce poverty, that is if government resettles them.
The group also wants representation on the Kunene Land Board. “Marginalised communities must be treated the same, children in secondary schools of marginalised groups get monthly grants for their stationery, except ours,” their leadership pleaded.