Nama are left out

At an eleventh hour coronation of Hendrik Ismael Witbooi at the weekend, Nama chief Johannes Isaack said they demand better for themselves.

08 July 2019 | Cultural

A misperception has been created that Nama leaders are stubborn and unwilling to cooperate with government simply because they have demanded better living conditions and opportunities for their people.

These were the words Chief Johannes Isaack of the |Ai |Haua ||Aes at the coronation of the 9th Kaptein in Gibeon to the throne of the |Khowese chieftaincy, Hendrik Ismael Witbooi, who was installed this weekend.

“Our people don't have any shares in mining in the //Karas Region, but there are others who have shares in the region, and don't say we didn't try. Our people do not have significant shares in the fishing industry, but there are people from other regions with shares.

“We are trying hard to enter the tourism industry for our people, but the opportunities are deliberately delayed and complicated so that our people are frustrated and discouraged, just to hear someone else having that opportunity. These situations can no longer be condoned by us, and no one can expect us to hide it,” he said.

Isaack added that Gaob Hendrik Ismael Witbooi joins the leadership at a time when the role of traditional leadership is transformed in terms of the management of rights of communities to traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources.

“Traditional knowledge over the years has made significant contributions to pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food and medicinal product development without any benefit to the communities whose knowledge was used,” he said.

Witbooi's coronation follows after a High Court bid to halt it was denied by Judge Thomas Masuku on Friday morning.

The urgent application was brought by Ismael's cousin and former Namibian high commissioner to Zambia, Salomon Josephat Witbooi, his mother Anna Jacobs, Elizabeth Kock, Christina Fredericks and Reverend Penias Topnaar.

“We in the Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA) are especially thankful for the |Khowese Aes that you managed to get your house in order at this point. This is the same house that has bred outstanding leaders,” said Isaak.

He added that the |Khowese clan is bequeathed with the responsibility to keep its history for not only its generation but that of the entire Nama nation and the rest of Namibia.

“This is, in part, those ideals that we as contemporary Nama leaders pursue in the association. And these are the same ideals that we want to plant in the hearts of the Nama people so that we can replace the reasons for differences with the reasons for reducing poverty in our people, increasing political participation for our people, increasing access to economic resources for our people, reducing the disproportionate distribution of wealth of this country, improve human abilities through education and healthcare for our people, social change and increased freedom of choice for our people. These are the things that the Nama people must adopt and pursue strongly. And it is also the reason that this day is of particular importance to us,” said the chief.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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