• September 26th, 2018
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Ovaherero to honour Hosea Kutako every year

Columns, Comment
Columns, Comment

The date on which Nelson Mandela of South Africa was born is the same date on which one of the fathers of Africa’s nationalism, Hosea Kutako, passed on. He was born in 1870 and died on 18th July 1970, clocking 100 years of age. These two men played critical roles in the decolonisation of their respective nations, South Africa and Namibia, somewhat in symbiotic relations. This year Ovaherero converged on Okahandja on July 20th to commemorate the 48th anniversary of Hosea Kutako and they used that occasion to resolve that, on that day every year, they shall return to Okahandja to pay homage to their fallen heroes. Hosea Kutako was among the children of the storm, those who were born of Ovaherero in the day and age that afforded them neither time nor the luxury to grow through the regular progression of childhood stages. A boy child was already a soldier. Kutako grew to play critical roles in the campaigns against the German regime and alas, he paid the price. During the Ohamakari battle in which Ovaherero were finally defeated by the German forces, Kutako was shot through the cheek and his brother, Samuel Kutako, believing that his younger brother was fatally wounded, turned his gun on Hosea. Samuel Maharero is reported to have grabbed the gun from the senior Kutako and thereby saved Hosea from execution. Subsequently Kutako played a broadlens campaign in the process of picking the pieces and was among those warriors who escorted Samuel Maharero until he reached Botswana. He then returned to Hereroland to pull together the scattered Ovaherero and provided leadership to the dispersed war survivors. Hosea’s father fell badly sick during the aftermath of the Ohamakari battle and he, with the help of associates, moved along with the old man on a makeshift bed. They arrived at Ozondjahe, currently an upstandard commercial farm between Okakarara and Otjiwarongo. As they attempted to put up camp, German soldiers stormed their expedition. Hosea escaped and left his father dying on a stretcher, never to see him again and never to bury him; his bones are unaccounted for. Hosea moved towards Tsumeb where his brother Samuel had landed a job. During this time there was a price on the heads of all Ovaherero leaders, including Hosea Kutako, and German soldiers were after him, following leads and carefully examining every piece of information. In the end Kutako was captured. He masterminded a jailbreak and went hiding in the Paresis Mountains for the longest time. He was later arrested and committed to hard labor in the German concentration camps. When the concentration camps were opened, Kutako resumed his task, to track and collect his people torn apart by the German genocide and to pull them together. Hosea Kutako came to settle in central Hereroland and served as the lifeblood cell and connecting rod for the young, up and coming Namibian revolutionaries, community activists and politicians of the time and molded them into a formidable force against the by then South African regime in South West Africa. Many who passed through this era are the likes of Reverend B. J. Karuaera, Dr Zedekia Ngavirue, Uatja Kaukuetu, Levy Nganjone, Clemens Kapuuo, Kuaima Riruako, Jariretundu Kozonguizi, Mburumba Kerina and many others. These included prominent names such as Sam Nujoma; Namibia’s founding president and Chief Munjuku II Nguvauva, latter who was reported to have been a member of Kutako’s Chiefs Council. Hosea Kutako told his Chiefs Council that his reading of the unfolding international political situation demanded that they find common ground with the children from Ovamboland, organised in the Ovamboland People’s Organisation (OPO), the forerunner of contemporary Swapo, and to strike a working relationship, so that they jointly mobilise the world behind their struggle. On a day, Kutako summoned Kaizeri Stanley and told him that he wanted to help a young man by the name Sam Nujoma to leave the country via Kanaindo into Botswana and he wondered how best to proceed. In time, Kaizeri introduced his elder brother, by the name Kanduketu Stanley, to Chief Kutako. Kanduketu was the son of a young woman from the Tjamuaha dynasty and an English trader. His father had taken custody of him when he was still a little boy and by this time he was settled in Charles Hill four kilometers into Botswana. Kanduketu worked in Gobabis as a painter and owned a car. He had already opened a conduit through places such as Otjozombata, Charles Hill, through Omakunda to Onduezondjeo, latter present day Ghanzi. By then Kutako had already dispatched over one Hundred and Forty young Ovaherero men to different destinations on the African continent, to receive training in warfare. Among these were, Hijarive Mbaha, Tjaporua Kahiha, Ngauva Kazongominja, Kuaima Riruako, Kerikeno Kandirikirira, Munduu Kamukuenjandje and others. They went to receive military training under the tutelage of Hosea Kutako and the Ovaherero Chiefs Council, jointly with the National Unity Democratic Party (NUDO) the party that was created and led by Kutako. Incidentally, when Kanduketu died in Windhoek, Tjaporua Kahiha who by then was very sick, heared the news over the radio from where he sat in front of his house at Otjongombe, Aminuis Constituency. He broke down and cried profusely. He then struggled into his bedroom, lay down on his bed and died. Sam Nuyoma was brought to Gobabis for the exit via Botswana. The story goes that Nujoma and Kanduketu left Gobabis in Kanduketu’s car under the cover of darkness, on a very rainy day. As they walked through the shrubs, Nujoma’s one shoe slipped in the mud. Kanduketu slowly searched for the shoe until he found it. At the border, Kanduketu directed Nujoma to walk a straight line until he reached the homestead of Raahua Kanguaiko in Otjozombata. Nujoma muddled through the bushes for kilometers until he reached Kanguaiko’s homestead and this served as prelude to our celebration of the life and times of Sam Nujoma, our founding president and father of our nation. Having said that, it is difficult to tell the story of Hosea Kutako without edging on some of these experiences, if only cursorily. Hosea Kutako played a critical role in providing vision, direction and program to South West Africa’s children of the storm in mobilising the international community through writing of petitions to revolutionary organizations in Africa and elsewhere, to garner support in attempts to fight for the decolonization of Namibia.
2018-07-25 09:37:52 2 months ago
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