WINDHOEK – Founding President Sam Nujoma is expected to join throngs of Namibian traditional leaders and visitors from as far as Botswana and South Africa, for the commemoration of the Battle of Otjunda at Okahandja. This year’s commemoration takes place under the theme “Custom/Tradition based on past experience for a better and prosperous future”.
Ovambanderu Traditional Authority’s acting Chief Gerson Katjirua, said Nujoma has accepted the invitation to be the keynote speaker on Sunday. This he said has been confirmed by Nujoma’s senior special assistant John Nauta.
Nujoma who is a personal friend of the late Chief Munjuku II Nguvauva, accepted the invitation, and would thus join scores of traditional leaders who will join the community in witnessing the 122th commemoration of the Battle of Otjunda.
As per tradition, hundreds of Ovambanderu and Ovaherero people, some from as far as Botswana and South Africa, will this weekend convene in Okahandja to commemorate the Battle of Otjunda in 1896 and the subsequent execution of Chief Kahimemua Nguvauva at Okahandja on June 12, 1896 by the German Schuttstruppe.
Other dignitaries to attend the event are, German Ambassador to Namibia, Christian Matthias Schlaga and Namibia’s Special Envoy on Genocide Dr Zed Ngavirue.
Traditional leaders to grace the event will be 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. Chief Kahimemua Nguvauva was the Ovambanderu chief in what was then German South West Africa. He was born at Omusarakumba, a farm now owned by prominent farmer Justice Tjirimuje, 18 kilometers north of Okahandja and became leader of the Ovambanderu in eastern Namibia.
He led the Ovambanderu community in resistance against the 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.
A bounty was placed on his head and the position of chief revoked.
It was at Otjunda in 1896 when 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.
The grave of Kahimemua Nguvauva is situated on an erf along Kahimemua Avenue in Okahandja. It was officially proclaimed a national monument on February 7, 1980. Speaking to New Era yesterday, the Ovambanderu Traditional Authority spokesperson Uazenga Ngahahe said people will start gathering at the Ovambanderu Okahandja commando as of tomorrow.
He said apart from the commemoration, this year they will be focusing on the community tradition. He said the commemoration will be marked by drilling, horse riding and various other traditional praise giving ceremonies, in honour of thousands of people who sacrificed their lives in the fight against colonial occupation.