Let's make it a nice home

07 January 2019 | Columns

The general disdain shown for the Nama people's response to the naming of the festive season crime operation as Hornkranz is indicative of a bigger problem.

More than 125 years ago German colonial forces attacked Hendrik Witbooi at his village at Hornkranz in the Khomas Hochland on 12 April 1893, killing 80 people, many of them women and children. The attack, led by German captain, Curt von Francois, was described as a massacre aimed at destroying and exterminating an entire tribal clan who refused to be subjugated into slavery to give up their land and their dignity.

In response to this, social commentator Henning Melber tweeted that “any rational and considerate person with common sense” would not think of calling a crime-fighting campaign Operation Hornkranz - and then defending the decision against criticism in a statement which “underlines the arrogance, or rather ignorance, of power”.

The public's response has not been much different, whether due to ignorance of the historical facts, or just a general lack of respect for the Nama in the country.

The police chief, Sebastian Ndeitunga, told the media that his force was aware of the history but maintained it was the prerogative of the police to name operations as they see fit.

This behavioural trend is also seen towards the genocide issue with government still excluding the bulk of the affected communities and viewing the issue as a national issue rather than one of the Ovaherero and the Nama. The two peoples who lost the most – land, cattle and birth right – in their own country.

Minorities in Namibia often fall by the wayside. We see it with the San on a daily basis, and there is a total disregard for these people. A disrespect which is almost blatant.

Development and opportunities in Namibia must become more inclusive but to achieve that, we need to change the way we view each other. Tribal roots should not at all be a consideration. We are after all, all Namibians with nowhere else to call home but here.

Let's make it a nice home.

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