While observing the exodus of those who spend their stopover amongst us, we refuse to adopt the position of sitting ducks.
Amidst the disbelief of an angry winter season whose anger we shall feel on our leathered cheeks many rainy seasons to come, we refuse to sit next to our luggage in anticipation.
We shall fulfil our capacity to continue moving under the belief that the sun shall rise and we shall once more regroup, adapt and live again. We vow not to give death its glory, succumb to its effect, nor await our time to die, but to rise again as a nation, communities and individuals at the turn of events.
I grew up in an area where we revered Advocate Vekuii Rukoro as an intellectual giant and exceptional legal scholar. Whenever we would pass his homestead in Ozondati, being the last en route home to Otjiwapeke, we would pride ourselves with this legal luminary, the first native Deputy Minister of Justice and Attorney General. He appeared grounded in his roots, and with the ability to raise his level of argument and not his voice.
Those close to him, the elders, would narrate the love he had for his mother and his insistence that she be served what he is being served.
The news that the Paramount Chief abruptly and without warning was taken away from us, reached me through Professor Katjiua who brokered the news at the sweetness of sleep. The instruction was to inform the Great Chief of the Erongo, Chief Manasse Zeraeua that his brother is no more. Being a loyal follower of Chief Zeraeua, I decided to wake him up and transmit this devastating news of the demise of his brother.
Katjiua resorted to said transmission, because Ombara Otjitambi, once again in the days leading to his ascendence to the sphere of ancestry, insisted on calling me himself, and did so on the 5 June 2021 at 22h00 with a special generational request. He requested my engagement into ‘shuttle diplomacy’ of purpose.
The first time I received a call from him was on the 16 February 2018, when the late Ombara Otjitambi called to register his pleasure in my article Reparation Not a Threat To Namibia’s Existence (The Namibian, 2018-02-16), my cousin had earlier informed me that Ombara Otjitambi requested for my number to convey his royal appreciation himself.
Ombara Otjitambi was an intellectual of note, with a remarkable promise from his youth which came to bear fruit for both the Ovaherero and Namibian nations, harnessing his intellectual acumen to take the plight and fight of his Volk to a higher level of understanding and reasoning in a non-traditional manner and way. His ability to internationalise the plight of the ovaHerero and Nama speaking people has awakened many ethnic groups across the oceans in their own call to deal with past atrocities and in seeking reparations for past colonial deeds and or as a case study.
His call displayed attributes of a person who was a unifier in his own right and understood the concept of unity of purpose, in its literal meaning.
His permission to allow ‘Swanu intellectuals’ to serve as technocrats in a Swapo government despite their differences in substantive ideology supports this view.
Secondly, his ability to have kept the ovaHerero and Nama speaking Namibians united in the legal crusade for years and his public praise for his brother the Great Chief of Erongo Chief Zeraeua, when the latter refused the imposition of the bilateral agreement of Germany, attests to this.
Whatever our understanding of his approach to the century old question of his Volk, he set himself as an orator par excellence, worth lending an ear to.
It is only an intellectual and an exceptional orator who despite having decided on taking the road less travelled would detach his argument from personal attacks and or attacks that would degenerate into an ethnic rant, despite any perceptions of conflicting agendas from other ethnicities on issues critical to his Volk.
Mbara Otjitambi, your call taught me that when members of the same family are engaged in efforts to restore their dignity and confirm their identity, their differences are of insignificant value need and need to be swiftly and securely shelved. Your resolve to advance our plight and cause will forever fuel the fight amidst the usual family squabbles, albeit in a way of rationality and respect for both the state, its chief representative, whose opinion we are yet to hear and other ethnic groups.
We are confident that those who will remain within this republic we established together with others will re-emerge as genuine proponents of our cause at the turn of events.
We will continue to address issues we feel are at the core of our very existence within the greater existence of this republic we would want to preserve at all cost, as ours is a generational battle of right, an intellectual battle of self-discovery and not starvation of truth or one of self-mutilation riddled with anger.
Go well learned friend. Kaende naua Mbara Otjitambi. Okahandja, ongumbiro jetu atuhe maikundju.
*The author is an Oberst Joshua Razikua Kaumbi of the ovaHerero White Flag from the Zeraeua Royal House, Omaruru.