Hoffmann fights back

A German NGO pleads for a review of the decision to have the genocide activist removed.

19 October 2017 | Cultural

Long-time chairperson of the Nama Genocide Technical Committee Ida Hoffmann is considering legal steps against Nama chiefs Petrus Kooper and Dawid Frederick who, in an unexpected and unprecedented move, decided to remove her from the committee on grounds yet to be explained to her.

The two chiefs in late September issued a letter in which they said Hoffmann would be removed as convener and chairperson of the committee and that she would no longer be recognised as a representative on any of the internal instruments, bodies or institutions of the genocide committee.

By Tuesday this week, Hoffmann said she had still not received any reason for her surprise expulsion, weeks before a Nama and OvaHerero delegation was to leave for the court case in New York.

“As far as I am concerned, if the traditional leaders are not human enough and cannot man up to their actions by asking me to sit down with them and talk, which they should have done in the first place, then I do not have much of a choice other than to take legal steps,” said Hoffmann.

She added: “I have not received a warning letter, there was no disciplinary hearing and I have not been suspended. I have received no reasons from them.”

Hoffmann received the notice from the Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA) on 20 September.

This notification informed their OvaHerero and OvaMbanderu counterparts not to communicate with Hoffmann on genocide matters in future.

Hoffmann said Kooper had in the meantime pleaded with her not to take legal action against the NTLA decision, but she insisted the Nama chiefs would have to put that in writing, which they reportedly have yet to do.

Hoffmann, the public face of the Nama technical committee, said she had practically single-handedly advocated since 1991 that the genocide matter be dealt with by the new independent government when she solicited discussions with the founding president, Sam Nujoma.

She said she was the one who had convened discussions on the genocide matter with Nama traditional leaders in 1999 and again in 2007, after more than a decade of non-action by the Nama leaders.

“The most interesting thing is that the Nama leaders have not done anything. When we called a meeting in Mariental on 14 December 2007 with our OvaHerero counterparts, I had to cover up the shame of the Nama leaders because they have done nothing to the cause; they are mere followers,” said Hoffmann.

She claimed that she was the one who brought the Nama genocide matter to the attention of the Namibian parliament after OvaHerero paramount chief Kuaima Riruako had first tabled his motion on genocide in 2006, which called for the matter to be debated and for dialogue with Germany for reparations.

“Now I have to contend with the ungratefulness of the Nama leaders. I do understand that it has a lot to do with ignorance, but they do not want to learn,” fumed Hoffmann, adding: “I have brought them into the house that I have built. The Nama leaders must get out of my house!”

She said the bone of contention was that some Nama leaders wanted to turn the genocide matter into an intra-tribal or family matter.

“I speak on behalf of the human remains of our ancestors who cannot speak for themselves and on behalf of all the Nama,” Hoffmann said.

Chief Kooper at an earlier occasion would not comment on the matter. Chief Frederick on Wednesday said the Nama leaders were yet to convene to discuss the Hoffmann matter.

Frederick, however, hinted that the Nama chiefs were dissatisfied with Hoffmann for allegedly unilaterally co-opting people onto the technical committee and who failed to properly report to the Nama traditional chiefs.

A German NGO, Berlin Postkolonial, in the meantime has addressed a letter to Kooper and Frederick to express its concern over Hoffmann's removal from the technical committee.

It described Hoffmann as having been one of the “most energetic drivers of the campaign for a German apology and reparations in connection with the 1904 to 1908 genocide,” saying that Hoffmann had become one of the most respected voices of the campaign to the German public.

It called Hoffmann an “indispensible mainstay who connects” its work with what is going on in Namibia, saying her removal would be an unfortunate setback for the communities in southern Namibia.

“Her removal puts in jeopardy working relations she has helped to build over the many years. We dearly hope that this decision can be reviewed in a way that will safeguard the work that is dear to all of us and, indeed, unites us,” said Christian Kopp and Reinhardt Kössler of Berlin Postkolonial.

CATHERINE SASMAN

Similar News

 

Reparations a sticking point in genocide talks

1 week ago - 12 February 2018 | Cultural

Reparations for the victims of the German genocide in Namibia are a sticking point in the negotiations between the Namibian and German governments. Another...

Ondonga community welcomes peace talks

3 weeks ago - 02 February 2018 | Cultural

The Ondonga community has welcomed the decision by King Immanuel Kauluma Elifas to reinstate the senior traditional councillors he had axed last year, saying that...

Ondonga factions smoke peace pipe

3 weeks ago - 31 January 2018 | Cultural

In a dramatic twist of events, the warring factions within the Ondonga Traditional Authority have reportedly buried the hatchet and this could lead to the...

Genocide consultations spark outrage

3 weeks ago - 31 January 2018 | Cultural

The Nama genocide technical committee has condemned a round of consultations in the south by the government on its negotiations with Germany regarding reparations for...

Queen becomes foster mother

3 weeks ago - 31 January 2018 | Cultural

Queen Martha Mwadinomho Kristian Nelumbu of Oukwanyama has turned her palace at Omhedi into a foster home.During a press conference at Omhedi last week, Nelumbu...

Small gathering for Nehale commemoration

3 weeks ago - 30 January 2018 | Cultural

Some 50 members of the Ondonga community gathered in the Etosha National Park over the weekend to commemorate the battle of Namutoni.The gathering was held...

Ya dhini oompango dhelelo lyopamuthigululwakalo

3 weeks ago - 29 January 2018 | Cultural

Omukalelipo gwopaveta gwelelo lyUukwanyama, Silas Kishi Shakumu, ngoka ta kalelepo elelo ndyoka okwa popi kutya ongundu ndjoka otayi e ta evundakano unene momudhingoloko gwaShikunde oshowo...

Oukwanyama dissidents called to order

4 weeks ago - 26 January 2018 | Cultural

The Oukwanyama Traditional Authority has threatened 22 dissident subjects with legal action for reportedly violating a court order.Lawyer Silas Kishi Shakumu, who is representing the...

Hambukushu committee in dramatic U-turn

1 month - 19 January 2018 | Cultural

In a dramatic twist, a committee established by the Hambukushu tribe with the sole mandate to force local chief Erwin Munika Mbambo to relinquish power,...

New headman for Amarika

2 months ago - 05 December 2017 | Cultural

King Johannes Mupongolitha Mupiya of the Ongandjera Traditional Authority installed 21 new village headmen at the weekend.Among the installed leaders is Ottilie Ndeutala Ipinge, 61,...

Latest News

DebMarine prelims to kick off...

1 day - 24 February 2018 | Sports

The DebMarine Namibia Cup kicks off on 3 March countrywide, with clubs in the first and second divisions battling it out to secure a place...

Outjo donkey abattoir off the...

2 days ago - 23 February 2018 | Agriculture

Plans to build a donkey abattoir in Outjo have folded.Fu-Hai Trading Enterprises, reportedly co-owned by Swakopmund estate agent Shane Quinton Hangula and a Chinese business...

One Africa Television Chief Executive...

2 days ago - 23 February 2018 | Business

Namibia’s first ever free-to-air, independent TV broadcaster in Namibia, One Africa Television was founded in 2003, the brainchild of Namibian photographer and businessman, the late...

3 Key Social Media Trends...

2 days ago - 23 February 2018 | Education

Like it or not, you are recruiting in the world of Google. Just as easily as you can go to the Internet to look things...

Union warns private schools

2 days ago - 23 February 2018 | Labour

JEMIMA BEUKES The Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN) intends to clamp down on fly-by-night private schools that allegedly exploit...

Mwoombola fights back

2 days ago - 23 February 2018 | Justice

Former health permanent secretary Andreas Mwoombola has launched a two-fold application in the Labour Court, in which he wants to court to either halt his...

Elephants cause havoc

2 days ago - 23 February 2018 | Environment

Several elephant herds have over the past few weeks caused havoc on farms in the Outjo District, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in...

The Basics of Branding

2 days ago - 23 February 2018 | Business

Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it...

How to Communicate Effectively in...

2 days ago - 23 February 2018 | Education

Communication is essential for the smooth running of a business, whether it is between colleagues, with a client or with customers.With technology creating a multitude...

Load More