Hornkranz massacre remembered 126 years later

14 Apr 2019 18:20pm
WINDHOEK, 14 APR (NAMPA) – The Witbooi Traditional Authority on Friday commemorated the attack on Hornkranz 126 years ago which was the first such onslaught on Namibians by colonial forces and saw at least 80 people massacred.
The event was held at the UN Plaza in Katutura and attended by high profile figures, among them Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and Germany’s Ambassador to Namibia, Christian Schlaga.
Speaking to Nampa during the commemoration, Fritz Dirkse, a Nama historian and culturalist said the significance of the day cannot be overemphasised.
It is however disappointing to the historian that this day, which according to him marked the commencement of Namibia’s resistance against colonial oppression, does not feature on the national calendar.
“We have other days like Heroes’ Day which signals the start of the liberation struggle and Cassinga Day which are very important days. But we must remember that this day, 12 April 1893, preceded both those days,” he said.
He added: “It was the first massacre by foreign occupational forces on Namibian people. So all massacres, whether it’s 10 December 1957 or Cassinga, this (Hornkranz) came first.”
Further, the historian noted that it was time for the Namibian Government to remove all statues or monuments that celebrate those who meted out atrocities against Namibians.
“The Hornkranz massacre was done under the order of Curt von Francois but today, a statue of Von Francois still stands in front of the headquarters of the Windhoek Municipality… That statue must be removed. That guy in my eyes is a criminal, a murderer who killed more than 80 people in cold blood. Why should he be honoured?” he demanded.
The event’s main objective was to commemorate the tragic event where in the early morning hours - under the command of Von Francois, who later became German South West Africa governor - launched a surprise attack on Hornkranz on 12 April 1893 with about 200 soldiers.
More than 80 of Kaptein Hendrik !Nanseb Witbooi’s people were massacred, many of them women and children, while more than 100 were wounded.
The kaptein and most of the men survived the attack, and escaped.
The Germans took about 100 prisoners, among them Witbooi’s wife and daughter.
Hornkranz is situated some 120 kilometres south-west of Windhoek.
Legendary Nama chief, Witbooi, settled there with about 300 people from his clan in the late 1880s.