OvaHerero, OvaMbanderu commemorating return of ancestors’ skulls

03 Oct 2013 09:40
GOBABIS, 03 OCT (NAMPA) – The OvaHerero and OvaMbanderu communities will this weekend hold the second commemoration of the return of their erstwhile ancestors’ skulls from Germany.
The event will coincide with the annual commemoration of the extermination order against them issued by then Commander of the German Imperial, General Lothar von Trotha.
The extermination order, issued on 12 October 1904, led to the death of between 65 000 and 80 000 OvaHerero and Nama people who were either killed in subsequent battles, or died of thirst and starvation as they were driven into the arid Omaheke desert.
The event will be held at Ozombuzovindimba, the place from where Von Trotha issued his infamous extermination order. A tiny heap of sand is all that remains of the sand hill on which von Trotha purportedly stood when he issued the order to have Ovaherero and Nama killed.
The Chairperson of the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu Genocide Foundation (OGF), Vekondja Tjikuzu told Nampa on Thursday everything is in place to make the commemorations fitting for the hordes of people expected to attend.
Tjikuzu said the event will be a memorable one as it will join two major historical events into one major commemoration.
“We are organising the annual commemoration and remembrance of the genocide of our people at the hands of the German imperial forces when they resisted the occupation of the motherland, as well as the second remembrance of the return of the skulls from Germany. This is an important event in the history of the OvaHerero people and one that needs to be recognised as such,” he said.
While people are expected to start gathering at the commemoration venue as from Friday, the main event will take place on Sunday.
As is custom, the event will be marked by drilling, horse riding and various other traditional praise giving ceremonies in honour of the thousands who sacrificed their lives in the fight against colonial occupation.
The skulls of the OvaHerero and Nama people, which were over a century ago taken to Germany for studies under duress to determine their intelligence, where returned to Namibia on 04 October 2011.
The process followed after a protracted battle by members of the OvaHerero/OvaMbanderu and Nama people, led by their various traditional leaders, with German government authorities to have the skulls released.