LEPHALALE — The OvaHerero people celebrated 110 years in South Africa on Saturday 23 September 2017 on the farm Werkendam of Pastor PW Papo. This unique, great, resilient and remarkable group of people moved from Namibia, formerly known as South West Africa, to South Africa in 1907 and beyond. OvaHereros descendants from Lephalale and as far as Botswana, Namibia and Vryburg shared in the celebrations.
They came in masses, proudly dressed in beautiful traditional clothes with the strong message of their undying heritage in South Africa with the theme: OvaHerero Growing and Going Strong.
“The Herero and Nama genocide was a campaign of racial extermination and collective punishment that the German Empire undertook in German South West Africa (modern-day Namibia) against the Herero, Nama and San people. It is considered the first genocide of the 20th century. It took place between 1904 and 1907 during the Herero Wars.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herero_and_Namaqua_genocide).
It is said that according to the Extermination Order a proclamation was issued on 2 October 1904, Ozombu zovindimba on behalf of the German Government saying: “I, the great General of the German troops, send this letter to the OvaHerero people. Hereros are cowardly no longer German subjects now they are to continue fighting. I say to the Nation: Every person who delivers one of the Captains, as a captive to a military post will receive 1 000 Marks. The one who hands over Samuel will receive 5 000 Marks. All the Hereros must leave the land/country (German South West Africa). If they do not do so, I will force them with cannons and great guns to do so. Any Herero found within the German borders with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot. I shall no longer receive and shelter any women or children; they must either return to their people or they will be shot at. This is my message and decision for the OvaHerero People. Signed by the Great General of the Mighty Kaiser, General Lother Von Trotha”.
(The OvaHerero people settled in the area where Lephalale is now, 110 years ago, under the leadership of Chief Samuel Maharero).
Mr Kenaura Appolus on Saturday said that the Nama Captain led by Hendrik Witbooi, was the first person to set foot in South Africa in 1907 “and we are still here.” He said that inner freedom is to cherish your culture as it has so much to do with identity. Culture is dynamic and through times it defines oneself as to how you interact with others. But he also asked the question as to how can those exposed to genocide, reclaim their dignity and how are they going to interact with culture in society for their destiny? “We need to unite and bring ourselves to unity so that the world can recognise us as people and decide how to terminate the order,” he said.
Mr Kamutuua Kandorozu, former Mayor of Lephalale, gave a historical overview of the OvaHerero in South Africa. Paramount Chief of OvaHerero, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro, also took the platform as well as the honourable MEC for COGHSTA, Mrs Makgurupetje.
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