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‘We will die fighting’: Muzengua

Summary

The Ovaherero Genocide Foundation (OGF) says legitimate Ovaherero and Nama communities who were targeted for extermination by imperial Germany will fight the restorative justice battle to its logical conclusion.This was the general mood amongst various…

The Ovaherero Genocide Foundation (OGF) says legitimate Ovaherero and Nama communities who were targeted for extermination by imperial Germany will fight the restorative justice battle to its logical conclusion.

This was the general mood amongst various speakers Wednesday night during a public lecture in commemoration of 12 January 1904.

The day marked the genesis of what would be a long, bloody and bitter war of resistance the Herero and Nama communities waged against German colonial rule and illegal occupation of South West Africa, present-day Namibia.

The first fight took place at Okahandja, where Herero fighters laid siege to a German fort.

“The history of genocide must be taught in our schools…it is one of the most important chapters of our history. Resistance against colonial occupation did not begin in 1969. We are not Hereros by accident. We are not illegitimate. We will speak for ourselves,” Chief Tueendeekuje Rukambe-Uazukuani of Okamatapati, who stood in for Ovaherero paramount chief designate, Mutjinde Katjiua, said.

With the genocide debate now at the heart of contemporary politics, the OGF is in no rush to conclude the reparation talks with Germany.

The foundation says affected communities will not be pushed into accepting a half-baked agreement, asserted Nandiuasora Mazeingo, the OGF chairperson.

“We will come for what is legitimately ours,” he said.

Mazeingo was seemingly responding to defence minister Frans Kapofi, who said the affected communities are delusional to think they can directly engage the German government.

The OGF is baffled by the “ignorance of the highest order” demonstrated by Kapofi

He said the defence minister “is lost and delusional and should confine himself to ensuring that soldiers in the barracks are fed.”

“There are international instruments in place that protect genocided people,” Mazeingo said.

He continued: “It is Kapofi who is drunk on greed. They have looted dry the State coffers and are now salivating for genocide money. Their government is left with less than two years. They are on their way out. So we are in no rush to conclude this fight.”

Agreeing with him was Alphons Koruhama, who said the Swapo-led government - which Kapofi has been an integral part of since flag independence - is inexperienced to prescribe anything to the affected communities.

“We have lost a lot, but our leadership has remained intact. As the Ovaherero, we have had leadership in place for more than 100 years. What can a 30-year-old government tell us?” he said.

According to Koruhama, it pains him that “everyone can say anything about genocide without sensitivity or remorse, with impunity”.

“We lost our ancestral land. We lost our language, culture and tradition. We have lost our indigenous knowledge. We have lost our economic base and our people are languishing in poverty to this day. So when we speak about genocide, there must be sensitivity,” he said.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency