Damaras should speak up about lost land: Swartbooi

06 Nov 2016 10:20am
OKOMBAHE, 06 NOV (NAMPA) - The Damara community must speak up about the land lost during the colonial era, and if people do not like the truth then so be it, Deputy Minister of Land Reform Bernardus Swartbooi said on Saturday.
Addressing a large crowd at the four-day Damara Cultural Festival in Okombahe, Swartbooi said just like the OvaHerero and Nama people, Damaras also lost land to Germans during the colonial era.
He said the German colonial forces took the fertile land with water and gave the three communities desert and semi-arid land where farming is a struggle.
Swartbooi said sometimes people label politicians as regionalists or tribalists for speaking the truth such as this, but it is high time for the truth to be spoken and action taken.
“The truth remains the truth, if you do not like what I say then be it. We cannot be silenced.”
He said sometimes it is easy for people to say that some of these communities are in poverty because they do not work hard but it must also be understood that poverty is brought by the fact that their land was taken away from them.
“We are united for a good cause, however those affected still need to talk about the lost land and how we can get it back for their children.”
His message to traditional authorities on the way forward is that they must put young people in leadership positions for them to start leading now.
“It is high time that young people are given a chance to leadership in the traditional authorities, as for too long this has not been forthcoming as desired.”
Swartbooi further encouraged all Namibians to be supportive of President Hage Geingob in his effort to eradicate poverty.
He said Geingob has dedicated his youth, if not the rest of his life, to liberate and build the country. His heart is about building a prosperous Namibia for all.
“Let us support his wishes without hesitation. It does not matter where you come from. Let us unite for the benefit of all Namibians.”
The well-attended four-day cultural festival which celebrates Damara culture and customs ended on Saturday.