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Delegation to identify Kahimemua’s belt in Germany

2021-10-20  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Delegation to identify Kahimemua’s belt in Germany

Ovambanderu senior traditional councillor Ripuree Tjozongoro will on Sunday lead a 10-person delegation to Braunschweig, Germany, to identify a belt worn by the late chief Kahimemua Hija-Kungairi Nguvauva.

Kahimemua, well-known as ‘Omuhatamunua’ by the younger generation, was the chief of the Ovambanderu community between 1850 and 1896. 

In May 1896, in Otjunda, Nguvauva was wounded and later surrendered to the German colonial soldiers. 

Accused of organising the uprising against the Germans, he was sentenced to death and executed on 12 June 1896, together with Nikondemus Kavikunua in Okahandja.

Kahimemua was shot 11 times all over the body but did not succumb to all those bullets. He only died after he pointed out to his executors the chief only dies when he is shot through the forehead – and the 12th bullet was shot. 

The belt, according to historians, was confiscated from Kahimemua before his execution by the Imperial Germans. 

Since then, the belt has been kept in a Braunschweig museum.

Ovambanderu representative Ueriurika Nguvauva, who yesterday confirmed the visit to New Era, said the group received an invitation from the museum to identify what might be the belt they have been looking. 

He said Tjozongoro will be accompanied by himself, the community’s divine priest Hengombe Ndjoze, senior councillors Kauromundu Kandetu and Elliot Murangi, among others.    

This new development follows Founding President Sam Nujoma’s appeal to the Voigts family to hand over the historical belt that has a cultural significance to the community. 

Nujoma made the appeal in 2019 during the 122nd commemoration of the battle of Otjunda at Okahandja, saying giving back the belt will serve as a token of reconciliation and goodwill.

“I am reliably informed that Gustav Voigts was the soldier who was tasked to disarm the late Chief Kahimemua, and he took off from him a sacred traditional belt of historical significance, which he presented to one of the museums in Germany for safekeeping but later went back to collect it,” Nujoma said at the time. 

In 2019, Germany handed over the Bible and whip of Nama Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi to his family. 

The Bible and whip were repatriated from Linder Museum, City Council of Stuttgart and state Badenwuttermber in Germany.

Also, in 2018, Germany handed over 25 skulls of Namibians to the Namibian government. There are thought to be hundreds of Namibian skulls in Germany.

The skulls belong to the tens of thousands of the Ovaherero and Nama people who were murdered in response to an anti-colonial uprising some 100 years ago.

Similarly, a financial compensation by the German government of N$18 billion for what it admits as genocide in the colonial-era was rejected by traditional leaders and opposition leaders in parliament. 

The leaders feel the N$18 billion in development projects over a 30-year period to support the descendants of the victims of genocide is not enough.






2021-10-20  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

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