We have buried the hatchet: Maharero

TSAU: OtjikaTjamuaha Traditional Authority leader, Chief Tjinaani Maharero has said he holds no grudges against fellow OvaHerero leaders.

He said he will be attending this year’s annual OvaHerero Heroes’ Day Commemorations at Okahandja, now that the court case over the location of the holy fire is settled.

The commemoration event is set to take place on 23 and 24 August this year.

Maharero, who was speaking during a commemoration event at Tsau in Botswana on Saturday, said the court case which his traditional authority had lodged was over the position of the holy fire and had nothing to do with the actual commemorations.

Tsau is a small village located some 145 kilometres west of Maun in Botswana’s Ngamiland district.

The commemorations were held in honour of late OvaHerero leader, Wilhelm Maharero – an elder brother to Samuel Maharero, who is buried at Tsau.

Addressing those who had gathered here for the commemorations, Maharero said now that the battle over the location of the sacred holy fire at Okahandja’s Red Flag commando has been resolved, he is ready to attend the event again.

“I will go there to commemorate as any other Namibian. The court case was for the position of the holy fire and not about the commemorations. As such, I invite you all to join me at this year’s commemorations at Okahandja,” he said.

Maharero said the history of the Maharero Royal House, under which the OtjikaTjamuaha Traditional Authority falls, has deep roots in the early struggle for justice for the OvaHerero people.

He said it was the Maharero Royal House, under Samuel Maharero, that brought OvaHerero people to Botswana after facing defeat at the battle of Ohamakari and other subsequent battles.

“The Maharero Royal House has never wavered in its quest to make sure the OvaHerero people get what belongs to them. The OvaHerero in Botswana were brought here under the Maharero Royal House. History can attest to that,” he noted.

The OtjikaTjamuaha leader said the court ruling was clear on the fact that the Red Flag belongs to all. As such, no one should feel less entitled to activities surrounding commemorations and the paying of homage to their ancestors.

“We all want peace and we all want to have the opportunity to pay homage to our ancestors. Let us all allow ourselves to do that in peace. The Red Flag belongs to all of us,” he said.

A dispute over the location of the Holy Fire at Okahandja’s Commando No.1 erupted after the Red Flag Association, led by the late Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako, chose to light the fire on the western side of the hall instead of the eastern side.

The Maharero Royal House argued that the correct location of the holy fire should be on the eastern side of the Commando instead. It reasoned that this was the original location since the repatriation and reburial of the remains of Samuel Maharero in 1923 at Okahandja.

The settlement puts to rest a case in which the Maharero Royal House Traditional Authority wanted the Windhoek High Court to award it the sole right to light and maintain the fire at the commando hall at Okahandja.