The Nama Traditional Leaders Association and the Ovaherero traditional authorities have called for the removal of all colonial symbols in Namibia.
This is done in support of the Global Reparation Movement, with the leaders saying they will not be onlookers while global calls for the removal of colonial statues are gathering steam.
The Namibian group in a joint press statement issued by Festus Muundjua, who is the patron and acting chairperson of the Ovaherero Genocide Foundation (OGF) under the Ovaherero Traditional Authority and Sima Luipert-Goeieman, the vice-chairperson of the Nama Traditional Leaders Association Technical Committee (NTLATC), made the appeal to remove the colonial symbols.
The group further appealed to the Namibian parliament to pass legislation to outlaw all offensive and/or obnoxious colonial symbols, be it street names, statues and colonial names of towns and farms from the Namibian geopolitical space and restore them to their original historical African names.
They said some of the statues targeted include the one of Curt von Francois.
“We are in full support of the move to remove the statue of the genocider and racist Curt von Francois in front of the Windhoek municipality. The men and women who are in charge of the Windhoek municipality must take courage and remove this statue that represents a horrendous history in front of the municipality building,” the group said in a joint statement.
They said the statue is of a man who committed genocide against the Nama at Hornkranz and for no crime other than refusing to sign a so-called “Protection Treaty.”
“The statue must go, because of what he did to the Witbooi folks – men, women and children, the looting and burning down of their homes at Hornkranz,” the statement read.
“The Windhoek city and Namibia as a whole should not glorify, monumentalise and immortalise him and his likes, period.”
The group also want President Hage Geingob to remove the Marine Denkmal in front of the Swakopmund State House.
“That statue gives the impression that the President condones and is happy with the evil intent and deeds of those German soldiers whose mission was to exterminate the Nama and the Ovaherero people.
“What we are asking is nothing new. It was done in Germany when by law the use of the name of Adolf Hitler, his statue, insignia and even his book: ‘Mein Kampf’ are forbidden. Why should we in Namibia continue to glorify street names, towns, farms and places of heritage with names and statues of people who have committed genocide here?”
In December 2013, the National Heritage Council of Namibia removed the Reiterdenkmal in Windhoek, which honoured the soldiers and civilians that died on the German side of the Herero and Namaqua War of 1904–1907.