Pohamba pays tribute to communities subjected to colonialism

07 Mar 2014 16:20pm
WINDHOEK, 07 MAR (NAMPA) – President Hifikepunye Pohamba on Friday paid tribute to all those communities which were subjected to the unprecedented cruelties of colonialism.
The Head of State paid particular tribute to the OvaHerero, OvaMbanderu, Nama, San and Owambo communities when he and members of the public officially welcomed back skulls and other human remains from Germany at Parliament Gardens.
A Namibian government delegation departed for Frankfurt, Germany on Monday for the repatriation of the skulls of Namibians who were killed and taken to Germany for experimentation at the turn of the 20th century.
The 35 skulls and three skeletal remains arrived at the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) from the Federal Republic of Germany at 07h00 this morning, after which people proceeded to Parliament Gardens for a memorial service.
“These communities were exterminated or driven into exile by the infamous extermination order issued by General Lothar von Trotha of Imperial Germany, and thousands were forced to endure the harshness of the Kalahari Desert, with some spending close to a century in exile in Botswana,” he noted.
Pohamba pointed out that although some of the human remains have been classified as belonging to forebears from the OvaHerero, Nama, Owambo, Damara and San communities whilst some have not been identified, it demonstrates that the struggle against colonialism was a national struggle from the beginning.
The Head of State thus spoke strongly against the tendency of Namibians only talking about some communities as having apparently taken part in the national struggle more than others.
“We should be inclusive, even when we are talking. Yes, everywhere in the world you will find communities which have suffered more than others, but in the case of our country, all Namibians suffered,” he stressed, urging the nation to always be united.
Namibia belongs to all, regardless of their ethnic origin, race, gender, religion or political affiliation, and that is the centrepiece of democracy and national reconciliation, he noted, adding that the commitment to observe and live by these values is the glue which holds the country’s social fabric together and gives it the identity as a nation.
As per the decision of Government, the 35 skulls and three human skeletons will be entrusted into the care of the National Museum as part of historical record-keeping.
“They will be available to members of the public, scholars and other visitors who wish to witness this painful part of Namibian history,” Pohamba said.
Meanwhile, remarks were also delivered here by the Deputy Chairperson of the Council of Traditional Leaders, Chief Immanuel /Gaseb; representative of the Zeraeua Royal House, Chief Manase Zeraeua; and Chief Max Haraseb on behalf of the Chiefs’ Council of the Damaras.
Other speakers included the Senior Traditional Councillor of the OvaMbanderu Traditional Authority, Chief Gerson Katjirua, and King Justus Garoeb of the Damara community.
The event was also attended by the Founding Father of the Namibian nation Dr Sam Nujoma, Deputy Prime Minister Marco Hausiku, National Council Chairman Asser Kapere, Cabinet ministers, Members of Parliament and society at large.