The New Era of April 11, 2018, about the rebranding of “Ovaherero flag” printed in your newspaper has reference. At first, we must inform you and the readers that the original and authentic Otjiserandu under the auspices of the Red Flag Regiment did not under any circumstances rebrand its original image and portfolio as was created by Supreme Chief Maharero and continued by his son, the legendary commander of the Ovaherero people in the 1800s and early 1900s.
Secondly, the Red Flag Regiment has its own leadership structure, which existed since the days of the anti-colonial struggle and resistance through which ideas are tabled and proposed, and decisions adopted. At no point did the governing structures and leadership of the Red Flag Regiment decide to change its emblem to something of the nature that you have described in your article.
Thirdly, the Red Flag Regiment is not a new and recent entity but has been in existence for more than 100 years, as was indicated earlier. Hence, any meddling with its image without the approval of the leadership is tantamount to a false evasion and prevarication.
Fourthly, the flag that is purported to now carry the image of a lion has nothing to do with the long-existing and astute Ovaherero Red Flag Regiment, under the bravery, valour, gallantry and heroism of the Supreme Commander and Chief Samuel Maharero, who led the first struggle against colonialism in Namibia under which the Germans committed genocidal acts against Ovaherero and Nama people in violation of international law.
In the spirit of unity, remembrance and heroism of Chief Samuel Maharero, the motto ‘Mukuru Punaete Samuel Maharero’ (MPSM) was coined and later embedded on the Red Flag by his emissary Chief Hosea Kutako, who, upon the arrival of the remains of Chief Samuel Maharero from Botswana in August 1923, reminded the Ovaherero people to stick to the course of national liberation in his honour.
It is because of this event that the Ovaherero people, and those in solidarity with them, have been paying homage to Supreme Chief and Commander Samuel Maharero and all other fallen heroes of Namibia in August every year since then.
The Supreme Chief and Commander Samuel Maharero and Chief Hosea Kutako cannot be separated from one another, much like the case of Moses and Joshua in the Bible. Any attempt to do so must be considered divisive and an effort to distort the true history of the two heroes, who fought against the German troops together, that is, Kutako under the leadership of Maharero in the Red Flag Regiment. In fact, Kutako was injured in one of the battles while fighting together with Kakungirue ua Kauandje (against German Colonial troops) under the directive of Chief Samuel Maharero.
The genocide and reparations issue that has been raised and is being discussed today is a direct result of the anti-colonial struggle led by Supreme Chief and Commander Samuel Maharero. It is intricately linked to his vision of liberating his people and the gallantry and heroism with which he fought to protect his people’s survival and human dignity.
Finally, the leadership of the Red Flag Regiment condemns any desecration and defilement of this judicious symbol representing our very survival and existence as a people, who, under the ferocious Extermination Order of Lother von Trotha, came to the point of annihilation during the genocide under the German colonial rule.
Whatever was reported on is a creation of something very new and strange to the Red Flag Regiment and the Ovaherero people.
To say that the Red Flag has been rebranded as alleged in your paper is misleading and a misrepresentation of facts and reality. It is not only an attempt to erase the history of our legendary Supreme Commander and Chief Samuel Maharero, as correctly interpreted in the article, but also the work of those who are busy with the act of revisionist history.
The Red Flag Regiment, as carried by Supreme Chief and Commander Samuel Maharero, remains and prevails. To those in Namibia and in the diaspora, we say to you to remain steadfast, unwavering, committed, persistent and unswerving to the course that was carried by our Supreme Chief and Commander Samuel Maharero under the Red Flag Regiment. ‘Ngarinjande, ngaripake, nu ruee naro otjirua tjombindu jovakuru vetu’.
Long live Samuel Maharero, long live the Red Flag Regiment!
* Ignatius Masola Katataiza
Chairperson: Red Flag Regiment under the directive of general Field Marshall Major Festus Kamburona and General Field Marshall Asser Tjikuua.