• May 24th, 2019
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May the spirit of late chief Kooitjie forever drive the reparations movement


It cannot be only the Topnaar community, nor only the Nama, who must be left to mourn their servant since he fell on January 25.

Because more than being a servant to his people, the Aonin (Topnaar) and Nama, he was indeed a servant of all the people he had the honour of serving.
Emphasis here is on serving as opposed to leading. Because anyone who do not serve his people cannot be defined as a leader. 

Those anointed as servants of the people are the ones who belong to the people. There is no way that those that have been chosen to serve the people can turn and become masters of the people. 
Those chosen by the people to serve them, and on whom people bestow such an honour shall forever be beholden to the will of the people. 

This is what the servant of all people across the ethnic divides, late Seth Kooitjie, embodied and epitomised. As chair of the Nama Traditional Leaders Association he has come, in more than one respect and aspect, to be just a face of the Nama, Ovambanderu and Ovaherero struggle for the recognition and acceptance of the genocide committed against this people, but its vanguard, torchbearer and foot soldier. 

Thus, stepping into the footsteps of the founding fathers and mothers of the campaign of the Namibian people for the recognition of the heinous crime of genocide, and for requisite atonement thereof by successive German governments, for crimes of its predecessor imperial government.  

These fathers lately include Dawid Frederick and Kuaima Riruako, to mention but two.  Late chief Kooitjie has never looked back nor wavered especially since taking over the reins of the Nama Traditional Leaders Association, the genocide and reparations movement has been going from strength to strength. 

This is not in terms of material things like financial wherewithal, but through the resoluteness of the Nama, Ovambanderu and Ovaherero that “it cannot be about them without them”. 

There is no way the campaign for reparations for the 1904-1908 wars of genocide against the abovementioned affected communities could become legitimate, and carried to its logical conclusion without the constructive involvement of the said people as the bona fide descendants of the direct victims of genocide.

If there is anything this servant of genocide and reparations may have bequeathed the affected communities, it is the firmness, unambiguity and unequivocalness for what is rightfully theirs. 
He did this not for the sake of posterity, but in true traditional spirituality heeding the call and cry of  the ancestors whose blood waters the Namibian independence. 

One thing that Kooitjie has come to demonstrate is his selflessness, vision and clarity on matters of  paramount importance and interest to his communities. 

These indeed must have stood him in good stead, especially against the short-term temptations to carrots dangled in his face,  and to trade such with long-term genuine wellbeing of his people. If such selflessness has rubbed onto fellow servants in the struggle for reparations, then certainly the departure of chief Kooitjie cannot be much of a loss as most in the reparations campaign may fear. 

There’s a local African proverb saying: Muta mbande muyaruka mbande (the moment a hero dies he is replaced by one). One is not quite sure about this, but one things for sure is that he was not the only servant in the reparations movement. It is incumbent upon the others, even those who hitherto may have been observing on the sidelines, to help carry the torch. 
Another local African proverb says “ouzandu kaupasanewa” (manhood is not transferable). But how about the fact that the reparations movement has been spearheaded by women, the likes of Ida Hoffmann, Utjiua Muiinjangue and Karikondua Nguvauva? Certainly they can carry forward the torch. May the indomitable spirit of late Chief Kooitjie live forever and forever spirit the reparations movement.  


Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro
2019-02-15 11:09:52 3 months ago

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