Isaack likens 2nd land conference to 1884-5 Berlin Conference

31 Aug 2018 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 31 AUG (NAMPA) – Indigenous Namibian communities are likely to suffer a similar fate at the second national land conference as that of the 1884-1885 Berlin Conference when the demarcation and distribution of their land was decided in their absence.
The conference in Berlin marked the climax of the European competition for territory in Africa, a process commonly known as the ‘Scramble for Africa’.
This period heightened colonial activity by European powers, which eliminated existing forms of African autonomy and self-governance.
These were the sentiments of Chief Johannes Isaack of the Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA) here on Friday at the third repatriation of human remains from Germany at Parliament Gardens.
With just a month to go before the land conference, the NTLA has not received any indication or invite to the upcoming conference.
“Like in those days where our ancestors were excluded from the Berlin conference, today we find ourselves in a situation where we are about to suffer the same fate at the hands of our own,” Isaack charged.
The direct descendants of war victims and land dispossession are being sidelined from a similar conference by the Namibian Government, he said.
“This time, we are excluded from the Namibian land conference and substituted by political allies.”
Isaack called on the government to invite the “true owners of the land” to the conference that will chart Namibia’s land future in a sustainable fashion.
“This is imperative to avoid another disastrous outcome on the same soil, for the same reasons,” the traditional leader warned.
The conference is slated for 01 to 05 October 2018 and will be attended by 500 participants. The list of participants and the criteria used in identifying them has not been made public yet.
The conference, according to its concept paper, will attempt to resolve ancestral land restitution, removal of the Red Line, land valuation and pricing, bankability of communal land and urban land reform among other topical issues.
Furthermore, the return of the human remains of the Nama and Ovaherero people from Germany is a living testimony of Namibia’s real history, the chief of the /Hai-/Khaua of Berseba said.
“The crime of genocide was not committed by the Nama and Ovaherero against the Namibian Government. Neither did Nama and Ovaherero volunteer to be exterminated by the Germans,” said Isaack.