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Ohamakari: Reflections on the past and focus on future

2018-08-15  Staff Reporter

Ohamakari: Reflections on the past and focus on future

The mood was telling as close to 5000 Ovaherero gathered at Okakarara near the Waterberg, the latter being the site of the landmark battle that separated the tribe from its wealth and land for good.

They were finally defeated and thrust onto a forced march to nowhere. This time they were expectant of the report from the Ovaherero Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro on the actual situation pertaining to the court case in the Federal Court in New York, USA.

After the march from central Okakarara town through the Onguatjindu traditional grave yard on the fringes of the town, where the procession stopped for a tomb stone unveiling, the crowds descended onto the Okakarara Cultural Centre that is situated a good five kilometers west of the town on the road towards Otjiwarongo.

Here they settled for the commemorations marked by speeches from the Ovaherero traditional leadership. The moment of the day came when Paramount Chief Rukoro stepped to the podium and took the microphone. Rukoro had no kind words for the role the Namibian government had played in the process of demanding reparations for the victims of the German genocide before he gave his impressions about the proceedings of the court case.

Rukoro said that the Namibian government have sided with the German government against the interests of its own citizens, and excluded the leaders of the victim communities from talks that would aim to agree on reparations for the victim communities and instead, the Namibian government opted for bilateral talks with the German government.

This, he said, constituted the fundamental and principal difference between the victim communities and their government.

The Battle of Ohamakari between Ovaherero and the Germans was the final stand-off before the Ovaherero were defeated and forced into wilderness. Some went north towards Amboland of the time and emerged in Angola. Some went south and ended up in South Africa and the bulk of the population headed east and ended up in Bechuanaland of the time, then under British rule.

The German/Ovaherero hostilities had started in central Hereroland and witnessed battles in Okahandja, Okandjira and Ovijombo, the last two are in present day Omatako Constituency. Fighting raged in many other places. In the end Ovaherero were pursued by the German forces until they crossed into present day Botswana.

At Ozombuzovindimba, near present day Otjinene village, General Lothar von Trotha issued on 2nd October 1904 the final extermination order that in time came to constitute genocide and serves as the material evidence that Germans had intended, expressed and actually killed Ovaherero.

In April 1905 the same Von Trotha issued a similar extermination order against the Nama people. The final manifesto of the German regime came through the last report that General von Trotha wrote to the German ruler, Kaizer Wilhelm, after the Battle of Ohamakari and its after-effects. General von Trotha said: “The Herero indictment has come to an end and they have ceased to exist as an independent people”. This is so true.

2018-08-15  Staff Reporter

Tags: Khomas
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