Chief joins quest for reparations
Witbooi was speaking at the commemoration ceremony for the late Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi, which was held over the weekend at Gibeon.
Witbooi, argued that Germany has an unsettled account with the /Khowese people.
“It is not simply enough to say sorry without detailing the wrongs and for us to count the cost. National and international crimes against humanity are measured and there are internationally accepted interventions to aid victims,” Witbooi maintained.
He said Germany should not and cannot just compensate with improved development aid tied to their bilateral relationship with Namibia.
“We want direct cash and in-kind injections to the /Khowese people,” the Kaptein said.
He further said the /Khowese are not interested in a general summary of genocide but they want to know from Germany their records of atrocities, including artefacts, with special reference to the revered Kaptein Witbooi.
Witbooi explained that it was against this background that he has taken up the plight of the /Khowese with the Namibian government and genocide negotiating team.
According to him, they participated in the chiefs'' forum, in the technical committee and in the negotiation team to press for their claims.
“We the /Khowese people have time-tested relations with the Swapo Party government and have decided to take this route. We will continue to raise the issue of genocide and reparation with the Namibian and German governments within the ambit of international law and its instruments,” Witbooi said.
He argued that the present plight of the /Khowese traditional community is deeply rooted in the extermination of the Nama community by the Germans extermination campaign and economic robbery.
According to him, if there is a tribe that suffered pain, dislocation through loss of land and untold shame at the hands of the Germans beyond description, it is the Namas and
Witbooi said on 28 October 1905, Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi also known as Auta !Nanseb, died near Vaalgras, at Koichas, when he was shot above his knee. The festival also honours the victims who perished while resisting German rule.
“We have a proud heritage and highly illustrious history. Our path is highly decorated and we have come a long way. The footprints of the legendary Auta !Nanseb will never be erased from the corners of this country,” Witbooi insisted.
The traditional leader announced his desire to walk with his community, uniting them for a new beginning, their heritage and prosperity.