Activist threatens to disrupt Küska

The Ovaherero and Nama communites in Swakopmund, ostensibly driven by activist Laidlaw Peringanda, do not want to see the coastal Küska carnival take place.

30 April 2018 | Local News

Community activist Laidlaw Peringanda is mobilising descendants of victims of the Ovaherero and Nama genocide to put a stop to the annual Küska carnival in Swakopmund from an office he set up at Erf 1272 in Ekuvatalike Street in the DRC settlement two weeks ago.

Peringanda wrote a letter to Marco Swarts, the CEO of the Swakopmund municipality requesting that no approval be granted for the event which normally takes place from 15 to 22 June. He demanded that the names of genocide victims buried in nameless graves in the cemetery of the coastal town are made known and that the skulls of Namibians used for research in Germany be returned. He is also campaigning to have free land allocated for all descendants of those killed in the genocide.

Approval has, however, been granted for the hosting of the carnival and Peringanda said should this happen, descendants and survivors of the genocide will institute legal action against the municipality.

“I do not want to disclose our course of action at this point in time. We are discussing options and will proceed with what we agree on to stop the event in its tracks.”

Peringanda said the event commemorates white supremacy and referred to an incident last year where photos of Küska participants dressed in Ku Klux Klan attire and with painted black faces, surfaced via the media.

“This is degrading to all Namibians who suffered under segregation. Our ancestors constructed most of the buildings in Swakopmund as slave labourers and it is painful to witness the German community commemorating conquering Africa. It is similar to honouring the German emperor Wilhelm II who issued the order to General Lothar van Trotha to exterminate and massacre Ovaherero and Nama people.”

He also questioned the involvement of the Navy brass band at the parade. “They are wearing their official uniforms and using instruments paid for by taxpayers. We have a right to tell them not to participate. They are apparently being paid to perform by the German community. How come they are nowhere to be seen when the Ovaherero reparation march takes place?”

Peringanda further labelled the naming of Bismarck Street in Swakopmund an insult to the entire African continent in the letter addressed to Swarts.

“The suffering of our people started when the first German chancellor Otto von Bismarck organised the Berlin Conference 1884-1885 for European countries to divide the African continent among them.”

Peringanda was instrumental in organising a petition calling for the removal of the 'Kaiserliches Denkmal' memorial (declared a national monument in 1969), in 2015 signed by 200 persons.

The group demanded that the monument be removed from public view and shipped to Germany. A case was subsequently laid with the International Criminal Court at The Hague to ensure this happens.

“The monument is offensive. The names of the villages where Namibians were massacred as well as the names of the soldiers who took part in the genocide are engraved onto the bronze plagues. This is proof that they actually did commit this atrocious act.

The Germans should rather return all the skulls and human parts they conducted research on in their laboratories.”

OTIS FINCK

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