An unknown suspect/s tried to set the infamous gallows at Henties Bay on fire on Saturday evening, they also removed the noose that was attached to it.
The Henties Bay gallows became the centre of controversy after more than 4000 people signed an online petition to have the structure removed from the public spheres of the small coastal town earlier this month.
The structure was set up in 1944, during the apartheid regime to allegedly keep the beaches clean at the time where Henties Bay was part of the former Damaraland.
Deputy Police Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu yesterday said the suspect/s on Saturday used methylated spirit to set alight the gallows but the flame did not catch alight. “They also tried to cut off the noose with an unknown object, but they did not succeed,” Iikuyu said.
A video circulated on Sunday of the alleged crime resulted in people flocking to the monument, as a result, police could not establish which footprints belonged to the suspect/s. Historically, the gallows were used for public hanging and lynching of black people across the world.
The monument, dubbed ‘the most photographed artefact at the town’, is according to activists making a mockery of black racial pain and should have been removed when Namibia became independent 30 years ago.
Petition organiser, activist Lebbeus Hashikutuva Lebbeus said attempts to destroy the controversial monument was bound to happen.
“Honestly what did we expect? People will eventually retaliate if their voices are not heard,” he said.
Hashikutuva said attempts to destroy the monument should send a clear message that if the Henties Bay council does not act, those offended by the repulsive monument will remove it.
“It sends a very strong message that symbolic racism has no place in Namibia while reconciliation is brushed under the carpet. However, destruction of monuments from an African context has been happening throughout the continent, especially those countries that have been colonised,” he said.
Henties Bay mayor Herman Honeb yesterday said the council has yet to make a decision with regard to the gallows. Honeb said the management committee has consulted on the issue and it will only provide feedback on the matter on Thursday during the planned council meeting.
Eveline de Klerk
2020-06-30 11:08:45 | 6 days ago