/Khomanin group demands ancestral land

15 Sep 2016 08:10am
WINDHOEK, 15 SEP (NAMPA) – About 500 people of the /Khomanin clan marched to the Ministry of Land Reform on Wednesday to demand their ancestral land within the Khomas Region, which they claim to have lost as a result of colonial injustices committed against them.
The group also demand the renaming of public places such as towns, regions, rivers and historical sites they claim have been wrongly named.
The /Khomanin are a sub-clan of the Damara people, who inhabited the central areas of Namibia during the 1930's.
Speaking to Nampa shortly after handing over a petition, Secretary of the self-proclaimed Landless /Khomanin People, Immanuel Aochamub demanded the renaming of the Khomas Region to /Khomas region, as well as Augheigas Primary School to !Ao||Aexas and Daan Viljoen Dam to Alfeus Haraseb Dam.
“By doing so, the names will regain their initial meaning and foster and embrace the policy of national reconciliation.”
Aochamub said the renaming of public heritage sites will not only restore their dignity but will also ensure the preservation of their culture and language.
“The graves of our forefathers are scattered all over the /Khomas Region and this is an empirical link to land and our historical existence,” reads the petition.
He insisted that Government must return their rightful ancestral land without further delay, mainly for resettlement and farming purposes and to ensure unhindered access to their ancestral gravesites within the Khomas Region.
They also want to be formally invited to the upcoming Land Conference slated for November, in order to publicly air their dismay.
The majority of the /Khomanin now reside in the Kunene and Erongo regions under inhumane conditions, according to Aochamub.
This, he said, is mainly because of the lack of socio-economic opportunities such as jobs and lack of land for farming purposes.
Deputy Minister of Land Reform Bernadus Swartbooi received the petition and promised to respond within the stipulated 21 days by the disgruntled group.
“Today we have to build our houses and offices on your land as the original inhabitants of the Khomas. But we will study the petition and see how we can satisfy at least some of the demands outlined in the petition,” said Swartbooi.
He stressed that policies aimed at land reform for those who lost land out of historical injustices must be practical, responsive and peaceful to enhance national reconciliation.