2024 May 16 – The Namibian: Parties divided over Genocide Remembrance Day

Namibian report political parties welcome government proclamation Genocide Remembrance Day divided over date 28 May Namibia

“Namibian Parties divided over Genocide Remembrance Day

By Envaalde Matheus

16 May 2024

A faction of the descendants of the 1904-1908 Ovaherero/Ovambanderu and Nama genocide plan to host a genocide memorial event in Windhoek from 26 to 28 May.

This is despite disagreements surrounding the proposed date of the commemoration.

In 2016, South West Africa National Union president Usutuaije Maamberua tabled the motion for a Genocide Remembrance Day to be introduced in parliament.

He proposed that 28 May be declared as Genocide Remembrance Day, as it was on this day 116 years ago that the commander of the colonial German Schutztruppe ordered the formal closure of all Ovaherero and Nama concentration camps in then-German South West Africa.

A series of events are lined up for the three-day commemoration event, which includes a march from the UN Plaza to the Independence Memorial Museum.


Meanwhile, Ovaherero Traditional Authority chief Mutjinde Katjiua said his faction will not attend as it does not agree that 28 May is the date the genocide should be commemorated.


The extermination order to wipe the Ovaherero people from the face of the earth was given on 2 October 1904, he said.


Landless People’s Movement (LPM) human rights command leader Joyce Muzengua said the LPM will also not attend the commemoration for similar reasons.

“People died in large numbers. LPM is for 2 October,” she said.


Swanu secretary general Wendy Christian confirmed the party’s attendance on 28 May.

“Remember, it was our former president who tabled the motion in parliament in 2016, we will definitely attend any day that everyone else will agree on,” she said.


President Nangolo Mbumba has said nobody would object to the proposal that 28 May be commemorated as Genocide Remembrance Day in Namibia, if that is the common position of all descendants.




Editor’s note: On 28 May 1908 the commander of the colonial German Schutztruppe, Ludwig von Estorff, ordered the formal closure of all concentration camps in then German South West Africa.

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