Swapo lawmaker Tobie Aupindi is supporting a motion to erect a shrine in honour of national hero Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi, but also wants the Galton Gate renamed.
Popular Democratic Movement leader McHenry Venaani’s motion, which seeks to erect a shrine in Vaalgras,
//Kharas region to serve as a perpetual beacon for Namibians, was adopted by the National Assembly this week.
It was then referred to a parliamentary standing committee to further investigate and report back to the august House.
“The erection of an ever-lighting shrine at Vaalgras, the hallowed ground where Witbooi made his ultimate sacrifice, would serve as a perpetual beacon for Namibians, signifying both remembrance and inspiration,” PDM said in a statement.
Known by his people as “!Nanseb Gaib Gabemab” (the snake in the grass), Witbooi rallied his Nama people to rise in a guerrilla war against German imperialism in what is today Namibia.
“When it comes to honouring the legacy of Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi, the question is not whether we should do it or not, the question is really just how fast we should act. So, I support this motion by honourable Venaani, with the urgency needed… This Hendrik Witbooi refused to become a slave in his motherland. He died in the line of fire, choosing to go down fighting. What a way to go out on one’s terms, knowing that you represent a course far bigger than oneself… A hero of Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi’s status deserves to be honoured with an eternal flame,” Aupindi said, throwing weight behind the motion.
He went on to say Witbooi fought against a system which dehumanised human beings, and only recognised Africans as long as “they were assets or slaves to the German masters”.
Also adding his voice to the genocide debate, Aupindi said: “Imperial Germany came to Namibia and set up concentration camps to carry out their eugenic studies and experimentations to discover ways of reducing the population of the black race.
This is why they were shipping human body parts to Germany for further analysis. Today, some 118 years after Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi was killed in battle, modern Germany continues to hold onto Namibian human skulls”.
“We condemn and demand the German government to urgently repatriate all the remains of our people held in Germany. This is not negotiable. And while at it, we must also demand that the German government should make public the results of those colonial experimentations on our people during the colonial operation, just as we are demanding fair compensation for the genocide and other war crimes the imperial German Government has committed in Namibia”, the businessman-cum-politician stated.
At the end of May 2021, Germany and Namibia reached an agreement in principle on a joint declaration in which the events are described as genocide “from today’s perspective”.
In line with the agreement, €1.1 billion or N$18 billion is to be spent on reconstruction and development projects in Namibia over the next 30 years.
This is while Namibia’s N$1.1 trillion demand considers loss of life, and dispossession of land and displacement, amongst others. The German deal has been largely rejected by the affected communities, opposition parties in the Namibian parliament, and traditional leaders. The Namibian government’s present position on the draft joint declaration is also unclear. So far, the government has not put the agreement to a vote in the National Assembly.
Aupindi then went a step further to address what is to him the elephant in the room: Fransis Galton, who is known as the father of eugenics.
It does not sit well with the politician that Galton, the man who developed these notorious doctrines, is honoured in Namibia by the Galton Gate on the western side of tourism flagship Etosha National Park being named after him.
“Why should we still honour Galton when some of our heroes are not yet honoured? In the new year, I will bring a motion of my own to rename the Galton Gate. I think Francis Galton should be placed in the hottest corner in hell, if there is such a place, and not named after any place in Namibia,” Aupindi fumed.
He added: “Historically, eugenicists have attempted to alter human gene pools by excluding people and groups judged to be inferior, or promoting those judged to be superior. It must be said that the colonial project touched every aspect of the global economy, and every sector was at some level or another heavily invested in the colonial project. Whether banks or insurance companies, they all invested in the colonial project, and are therefore all complicit in the deaths of our people.”