Battle of Sam Khubis remembered

07 May 2018 16:20pm
REHOBOTH, 07 MAY (NAMPA) – The Rehoboth Baster community on Monday remembered the battle of Sam Khubis in Rehoboth with an ecumenical worship service before departing to Sam Khubis, some 50 kilometres south-west of Rehoboth.
Chairperson of the Sam Khubis festival committee, Albert Alberts relayed to Nampa that the historical battle took place on 08 May 1915, when the German colonial army attacked the Baster people who had fled to their last stronghold of Sam Khubis.
The fear of total annihilation by a better equipped German army created a strong sense of common destiny among the Baster people, said Alberts.
“Early that morning, the Germans attacked our people at Sam Khubis, where a large part of the community had found protection. The fighting lasted until the evening. The Basters feared that the bigger artillery of the German army would mean a total defeat and possible extinction, but the Germans withdrew from the fight the next day,” Alberts continued.
He further said the escalation of events started on 13 April 1915, when the German authorities demanded from the Baster Council for the armed Baster troops to go to Otjiwarongo to guard prisoners of war.
“If these demands were not to be met, all weapons in possession of the Rehoboth Basters had to be handed in to the German army. The Germans gave the Baster Council a three-day deadline,” he noted.
However, according to Alberts, the following day, the Germans unexpectedly disarmed Baster soldiers in Sandputs.
“Several of the Baster soldiers tried to escape in which one was killed and another one escaped to tell the Baster Council of the events. In the following days, several armed skirmishes occurred, leaving a number of Baster and German soldiers dead,” he remarked.
This year’s activities in remembrance of the events kicked off on 01 May with a church service at Farm Uitdraai, where the Baster vow was renewed. It proceeded to Farm Garis, where the then Baster Kaptein, Cornelius van Wyk’s family was wiped out by the Germans.
Alberts said the commemoration is important in the sense that the youth need to know what happened to their ancestors.
“The commemoration is very important for our younger ones as they will be the future torch bearers of the Baster community and know about the atrocities against their people. The onus is on them to carry on with the commemoration to pass on the knowledge to their future generations.”
After the worship service and lighting of the festival torch, about 50 men on horseback accompanied by people dressed in the traditional attire of the Baster, led by the Namibian Police Traffic unit, took the road to Sam Khubis via the B1 national road.
On Tuesday at 04h00, the festivities will continue with a drama on how the Germans attacked the Baster community on 08 May 1915, followed by a worship service and wreath laying, along with a moment of silence and gun salute for the fallen Baster heroes.