Rukoro wants Otjiherero and Nama taught in Botswana

30 Sep 2015 15:20pm

By Uerikoha Tjijombo WINDHOEK, 30 SEP (NAMPA) -

The leader of the OvaHerero Traditional Authority (OTA), Vekuii Rukoro wants Botswana to include OtjiHerero and Khoekhoegowab, also known as Nama language, in its school curriculum.

Rukoro is of the opinion that this will enable the descendants of victims of the 1904-1907 genocide who live in the neighbouring country to remember their culture, as 'language is an important element of any culture'.

He said this in a telephonic interview with Nampa last Friday, when he reflected on his one-year term as leader of the OTA. Many descendants of the OvaHerero and Nama who fled extermination orders by Lieutenant-General Lothar von Trotha of Germany still live in Botswana and South Africa.

Rukoro became the sixth paramount chief of the OTA on 22 September 2014 after succeeding Kuaima Riruako who died in on 02 June 2014. He was sworn in at Ehungiro, a village situated 30 kilometres north of Otjinene in the Omaheke Region, during a meeting which was attended by about 300 people including some traditional chiefs.

Rukoro on Friday said his request to the Botswana government was made during his recent visit to that country, which he considers to be one of the successes of the OTA.

Naphtali Goliath, a descendant of the genocide victims who lives in Gaborone, Botswana, told this news agency the request has already been submitted to the Botswana government, but that government is apparently not comfortable with the request.

"All we can do is to request the respective governments with the hope that our request will one day be entertained, but we cannot force them," Rukoro said.

He added that he does not believe implementing these languages would be a problem as there are teachers from Botswana teaching Setwana in Namibian schools, especially in the Omaheke Region.

Also speaking to this reporter was the chairperson of the OvaHerero Genocide Committee (OGC), Utjiua Muiinjangwe, who said they have not yet met with the South African authorities regarding this issue, but will do so 'soon'.

Von Trotha issued his extermination order on 02 October 1904.

"All the Herero must leave the land. If they refuse, then I will force them to do it with the big guns. Any Herero found within German borders, with or without a gun, will be shot. No prisoners will be taken. This is my decision for the Herero people," the order read.