'Another lie has fallen'

Tanja Bause
"I am very unhappy about what is happening here today. It will cost the municipality millions to not only remove the statue, but also to erect another one in its place.

"The money could have been put to much better use. There are many people in the settlements around Katutura who do not have houses or toilets. They live in poverty. The councillors argue about small, silly things and not about what the masses need there in Katutura.

“For me, it is an unnecessary waste of money, but that is a municipal tradition. When it comes to wasting money, they are number one," a resident, who only identified himself as Albert, said.

"I work nearby and see the tourists who come here every day, but not only them, also Namibians who come here to take pictures because it is part of our history. I wonder if the person they are going to put in his place will attract anyone?”

Albert was one of the handful of people present yesterday during the removal of the Curt von Francois statue in front of the City of Windhoek head office.

Part of our history

Another resident, Daphne, attended with her brother and daughter.

"I am very sad. It is part of my history as a Damara. It is something that happened and that we cannot change, but because of our history, we are who we are today and the future is something we can determine.

“So, we just wanted to make use of the last chance and take a picture to be able to remember the part of our history," she said.

A Havana man who identified himself as Petrus said he is upset about the money the municipality could have used to provide Havana residents with water, ablution facilities and electricity.

"The man [Von Francois’ statue] just stands there and doesn't bother anyone. We have been struggling, begging and talking to the municipality for a long time, but nothing is happening and now look at all the money that is being used."

We won’t forget

Brunhilde Cornelius, a fourth-generation descendant of Curt and Amalia !Gwaxas von Francois, issued a statement on social media on behalf of her brothers, sisters and family.

"It is indeed a very sad moment. Removing the statue will not erase or rewrite history. It will not let us forget. History is there to remind us of our past mistakes and help us do better.

"The removal of this statue will not reduce the unemployment rate among our graduates who are 70% of our Namibian youth.

“This will not stop our corrupt government from looting and sucking us dry. We are indeed very saddened by the removal of the statue of our great grandfather, but they will never be able to remove the blue blood that flows in our veins. As the old saying goes: History is surely anchored in stone."

Another lie

Meanwhile, according to councillor Job Amupanda, yesterday's statue removal should have happened a long time ago.

"Our arguments are very simple. People say he is the founder of Windhoek and that is just not true. We know this is not true and it ends any conversation.

“We do not want there to be artefacts or statues in any public place that represent a lie. We made the deliberate decision to remove him.

“Now we have to have public discussions to decide what we should establish in its place. We’ve received a few suggestions, but we decided to have public discussions.

"It is another lie that he [Von Francois] founded Windhoek in 1890. We know that Jan Jonker and his people were already here in 1850. So, with this [removal], that lie has fallen.”

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Namibian Sun 2022-12-04

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