Heroes to be honoured at Namutoni

Namutoni-Plans are under way to erect a statue in honour of the fallen heroes that took part in the battle of January, 28, 1904 at Namutoni Fort in Etosha against German imperial forces that occupied Aandonga grazing land.

Around 500 soldiers under the leadership of late King of Ondonga, King Nehale lya Mpingana, participated in the war which saw 68 people dead, while 40 went missing and 20 were injured during the historic battle.

Plans to erect a statue were revealed on Saturday at the commemoration of the event at Namutoni during a site inspection of the grave where it is believed 20 Aawambo warriors were buried.

The occasion further aimed at raising awareness about the historic battle.

The event was organised by the Ondonga Traditional Authority, but the idea of the statue comes a long way since 1993 when the King of Ondonga Immanuel Elifas Kauluma visited the site with some elders who were part of the delegation to identify the gravesite.

Although the site of the fallen heroes has been recognised the public feels not much attention has been given to this event despite its historic significance.

Speaking at the site was the Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Tommy Nambahu, who emphasised the event and site should not be viewed in a tribal light, rather a national one to serve as an inspiration to everyone in the struggle of cultural and economic emancipation.

The intention today is to inspect the site with a view to restore, recognise and honour the site and events that occurred on that day. We need to develop statues that capture the spirit, culture and way of life of our people. We need to bring back the pride, awareness and full recognition of our collective history of us as Namibians, stressed Nambahu.

The environment ministry believes once the site is developed it will add great tourism value to the sector by attracting local and international visitors to come and learn about the history and culture of the country.

Namutoni Fort will be complimented by the new statue to be erected and this will complete the story of what happened here, noted Nambahu who applauded the Ondonga Traditional Authority for organising the event.

Nambahu highlighted: The focus will not only be on the war but it provides an opportunity for cultural revival, cultural dialogue and nation building. Therefore this initiative to revive this historical site could not have come at a more appropriate time as it is well in line with our national strategy and will contribute to government objectives set for the tourism sector. Local culture and history is an economic resource that can provide real economic benefits to communities and the poor if well developed and marketed.

He further called upon historians to ensure events of the country such as this one are well documented and all sides of the story are heard.

It is time for we Africans to tell African stories and put an end to our stories being told by others on our behalf, he stressed.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia