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Namibia News - History

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Namibia News


In The News

WINDHOEK 17 July 2000

Festus and the mysterious hermit of Sandwich Harbour

Tales of adventure and lost treasure are woven around the desolate coastline of Namibia, which early sailors avoided in favour of more promising shores. Kilometres of barren desert coastline, often enshrouded in mist, did little to lure mariners of old. The intrepid Portuguese explorers navigated this coastline in the fifteenth century in small fleets of caravels, discovering new worlds and trade routes, stopping at points along the coast.

One of these spots Diego Cão called Port d'Ilheo (Point of the Island) in 1486 when he sailed into the lagoon, 50 kilometres south of Walvis Bay. Ancestors of the &neAonin or Topnaar people wandered along the coast, surviving on the ocean&rsquos bounty, and myriad bird species gathered at this auspicious spot where fresh water from the Kuiseb River&rsquos aquifer trickles through the dunes.

Constantly changing over the years, the lagoon was once accessible to ships and attracted entrepreneurs. Whalers began to travel down the West African coast in the late 1700s exploiting the Atlantic&rsquos marine life, followed in the 1840s by guano-collectors who flocked to offshore islands like Ichabo to harvest bird droppings valued in Europe as fertiliser and dubbed &lsquowhite gold&rsquo. The natural harbour of Port d'Ilheo became known as Sandwich Harbour, the name either stemming from the German word sandfisch meaning sand fish/sand shark or from the HMS Sandwich, sent on an expedition to explore the west coast of Africa, before coming to grief in the bay in 1792. Sandwich Harbour attracted various industries from the 1850s such as fish-processing and later, beef-canning.

Amidst the intriguing tales of shipwrecks, their flotsam washed up onto the beaches, is the tale of the eccentric German hermit who arrived at the fishing settlement of Sandwich Harbour in the late 1880s. Dressed in French military uniform, he arrived with a Cape Town merchant who had picked him up in Walvis Bay. He had a case of medical instruments and was accompanied by Otto, his Fox Terrier. From his various accounts, it was assumed that he had spent time in the French Foreign Legion.

Shy and introverted, the hermit erected a hut from driftwood and shipwrecked planks, a distance from the settlement. Although he was called the &lsquosilent Mr Doctor&rsquo by local fishermen whom he treated, he was conversant in German, French and English. He became highly respected and was even said to be knowledgeable about the zodiac and geology. He obtained medicine for his patients from passing ships and treated and assisted the local community with medical matters.

As often occurs with the mysterious, rumours spread not only about his origins but also about his intentions. Some thought he was seeking the fabled treasure of a lost East Indiaman. According to legend, it held the riches of the Great Mogul on board, before being wrecked in the thick coastal fog after rounding the Cape of Good Hope. Surviving sailors and passengers were said to have buried the treasure on the beach above the high-water mark.

Although the hermit apparently had no luck finding the treasure, the local fishing community recalled a favourite story which added to the intrigue surrounding him. While on a walk one day along the dunes, the hermit&rsquos dog uncovered an intact skeleton with several British coins dating from before the 1850s. The hermit recovered all the bones and reconstructed the skeleton with wire. He named him Festus and assembled him in the corner of his hut as a bodyguard. He fitted the eye-sockets with pieces of old mirror, placed an antique clay pipe in his mouth, used seal skin on his skull for hair and positioned shells for ears. He also dressed him in boots and a discarded khaki jacket, adorned with coins as if a decorated warrior. He adopted the habit of transferring Festus outside his hut during full moon where his mirror eyes would glitter in the moonshine and his arms would quaver in the breeze, keeping even the brave away.

The hermit lived out the remainder of his days at Sandwich Harbour, walking the beaches and dunes, aiding the local community and receiving supplies in kind from them. His legacy and that of his bodyguard Festus, however, survived long after his demise. Diamond mine workers and policemen en route to Conception Bay used to overnight at his hut, which became known as the übernachtungspontok. Not brave enough to share the quarters with the skeleton of the drowned mariner, adventurer, pirate or whaler, they would place Festus outside on their monthly visits. After repeated complaints by workers who believed in wandering ghosts, police commander Van Coller eventually issued orders in 1929 for Festus to be removed. Two desert camel-patrol constables were assigned the job. The one, on hearing of his undertaker duties, developed a stomach complaint and disappeared for three days, leaving the other to lay Festus unceremoniously to rest after thirty hard years of guard duty. He ensured that his spine was broken before he did so to prevent the dead person from visiting in the night. A wooden cross was erected and an empty Boegoeberg brandy bottle and a few shells marked the resting place. The grave disappeared into the desert sands in 1935.

Sandwich Harbour was eventually abandoned to the whistling wind, the birds and jackals. In 1890, the sand spit protecting the natural bay broke off, making the harbour too shallow for ships to enter, forcing people to make their way overland across miles of desert. Today, it is part of the Namib-Naukluft Park. Only a few ruins and shell middens remain, and a rich history of entrepreneurship, adventure, mystery and intrigue, the hermit and Festus included.

Von Schumann, Gunter E: Sandwich Harbour&rsquos hermit and his strange skeletal guard known as &lsquoFestus&rsquo, 1990

'NPL must rest and say sorry'

THE Namibia Premier League (NPL) must admit defeat and apologise to the nation for damaging football in the country, former Fifa Normalisation Committee (NC) chairperson Hilda Basson Namundjebo said yesterday.

Meet the Namibian actor who helped gross $60m for the 1980 film ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’ and was paid $300

Meet the Namibian actor who helped gross $60m for the 1980 film ‘The Gods Must be crazy

Meet the Namibian actor who helped gross $60m for the 1980 film ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’ and was paid $300
Nigerian-American rapper Jidenna declares he is looking for a ‘wifey’
Places in Africa where you will have no mosquito problems
5 innocent black people killed by the police and denied justice after their brutal murders

Nǃxau Toma_Photo: Facebook
Born in Namibia and a member of the San also known as Bushmen, N!xau Toma, famously called the African bush farmer, was an actor who spoke fluent Jul’hoan, Otjiherero, Tswana as well as some Afrikaans which are dominant languages in the south of Africa.

He shot to worldwide prominence after an appearance as the lead role of the 1980 comedy film, The Gods Must Be Crazy. He became one of the most improbable and reluctant international celebrity after taking the role.

Image result for Nǃxau ǂToma in The Gods must be crazy
N!xau Toma_Photo: Realtime News
In the movie, N!xau appearing as Xixo portrayed a gentle leader of a local tribal clan of Khoisan people. He was also a sober bushman with a comic smile who discovers a Coca-Cola bottle thrown out of an airplane. Upon discovering the bottle, he sees it as an alien object and it sets off into a comedy of errors.

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Image result for Nǃxau ǂToma and kids
Scenes from The Gods Must Be Crazy_Photo: Egypt today

This comic role endeared him to viewers especially those in Asia who were convinced that he makes three eccentric movie sequels. The movie grossed $60 million dollars and according to Jamie Uys, the South African director who discovered the actor, N!xau, did not know the value of paper money and he let his first $300 wages blow away.

Despite his inability to attract heavy financial resource in the first movie, he had learned the value of money and demanded several hundred thousand dollars before agreeing to a recast in the film. He insisted that the money was needed to build a cinder-block house with electricity and a water pump for his family comprising of three wives and their children.

With patience and good humor, he toured the world and after 10 years of the glamour life, he stressed that he has seen enough of the “civilized” world, hence his decision to return to his home in the Kalahari.

Image result for Nǃxau ǂToma in The Gods must be crazy
Scenes from The Gods Must Be Crazy_Photo: African Film Festival
N!xau uses the local dialect when filming, however, the interpretation and interlocking plots were explained by a narrator. He made it clear that he enjoyed the film and was excited to see himself on screen.

Mr. Uys was criticized for being cruel to N!xau and not taking him out of his environment but to his defence, he said he [N!xau] was born to act. ”All Bushmen are natural actors,” he said in a 1990 interview with The Associated Press. After the sequel, N!xau appeared in Hong Kong films and the Chinese film ”The Gods Must Be Funny.”

His inability to manage his income and have less value for material things was as a result of cultural practices.

Image result for Nǃxau ǂToma in The Gods must be crazy
Scenes from The Gods Must Be
When his film career ended, N!xau returned home to a newly built brick house. He tended his cattle and raised corn and pumpkins. He had a car for a while, but had to employ a driver because he had never learned to drive, The Namibian reported.

The entertaining actor N!xau Toma was found dead in late June 2003 near his home in Namibia after he reportedly went out to collect wood. He was believed to be 59 years old, and the exact cause of his death was unknown. He had suffered from tuberculosis in the past.

His name, N!xau is pronounced with the typical Bushman click used in southern Africa.

Op-Ed: Tulsa, Namibia, Hitler, January 6—History Matters – Tulsa, Oklahoma

It was the reaction of my 10th grade history teacher to my request to learn more about black history. It was February 1968. The civil rights movement was still strong. Two months later, Dr. King was assassinated. Importantly, I was raising my question at my home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the deadliest racial slaughter in American history at the time. The two-day frenzy of racial horror by white mobs attacked by law enforcement agencies occurred only 47 years ago in 1921. Still, I’ve never heard of it, and I don’t think my history teacher was. The whitewashing of American racial history was complete.

Thirty years before Hitler came to power in Germany, German colonial officials in southwestern Africa (now called Namibia) launched a four-year campaign to eliminate the indigenous peoples of Herero and Namibia. did. The campaign starved the indigenous people to desserts and then sent many of them into locked wagons to internment camps, where they were deliberately killed in a project that would benefit the colonists. Most of the indigenous people did not survive this genocide. Some survivors were forced to remove skin from the skulls of their murdered siblings before the skulls were shipped to Germany for use in studies attempting to prove the racial superiority of whites. It was. These practices predicted the genocide practices of the German Nazi state.

Its recent history was not taught to the mature Germans of the early 20th century, the citizens who later supported or tolerated the Nazi regime. Without this historical knowledge, these Germans would not be required to understand racism in their societies, their impact on their victims, and their moral impact on those who have benefited. did. If so, how would things be different from Germany in the wider world? Hitler and the Nazi Party have succeeded in convincing German citizens of “Arian’s dominance” and the acceptability of Jews, disabled people, gay people, Romani, and socialist scapegoats and dehumanization. Is it? Was there even World War II?

Similarly, what if my generation and others were taught more about the Tulsa race massacre, or about the race massacre and coup, Lynch, and Native American treatment in Wilmington, North Carolina? Institutional racism in home ownership policies, education, voting, etc.? Can we still tell ourselves that today’s situation, opportunities and thinking processes are unaffected by the decisions and actions of the last few years? Are many of us susceptible to political propaganda that stirs white resentment and hostility in a coded language? Are most of us whites still unfamiliar with thinking and discussing race so openly that we can’t even discuss or admit racism without extreme defenses? We still accept that major parties have refused to allow bipartisan investigations into the January 6th attack on the Capitol by a white mob with a Confederate battle ensign and lynching equipment. Is it?

It provides hope, as the German experience is a lesson. After World War II, Germany dismantled a monument honoring the Nazi political and military leaders. It replaced them with public reminders of victims of Nazi atrocities. The textbook contained a more complete historical account. Germany has now acknowledged and apologized for the previous genocide in Namibia and is discussing the amount and form of compensation. The recent rise in support for the far right in Germany indicates that the work of truthful announcement and reconciliation in Germany has not been completed. Still, Germany has a more diverse and inclusive society than was imagined in the 1940s. People can handle the truth without hating themselves, their ancestors, or their country. Honest and mature recognition of the pros and cons of our history, and their continued influence, allows us to move towards racial justice.

Roger Manus is a former faculty member of Campbell University Law School.

Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club To help keep the Triangle and Fearless Watchdog coverage and essential art and culture coverage viable.

Op-Ed: Tulsa, Namibia, Hitler, January 6—History Matters Source link Op-Ed: Tulsa, Namibia, Hitler, January 6—History Matters

How have Namibians reacted to the German statement?

While some of the groups representing the Herero and Nama agreed to the terms of the deal, others are not willing to accept it and think the German president should not come.

“He might as well stay in Germany. We are not going to accept his apology as long as he doesn’t see us as human beings, as long as he doesn’t come down to our leaders and apologize,” said Sima Luipert, a descendant of Nama victims of the genocide, who lives on a reservation in southern Namibia.

In a joint statement, two groups that represent descendants of the victims argued that the genocide was committed against their people, who they argued should have been the main negotiators with Germany, instead of the Namibian government.

“Germany’s bilateral agreement with Namibia is nothing but a construct of a racist mind-set on the part of Germany and neocolonial subservience on the part of Namibia,” Vekuii Rukoro, the leader of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority, and Gaob J. Isaack, head of the Nama Traditional Leaders Association said in the joint statement.

Each government selected its delegation. Mr. Polenz said that representatives from each of the ethnic groups had been represented in the negotiations from the start, but that some “very loud” members who were not included in the process had been against the efforts from the outset — including filing lawsuits that slowed the process.

Mr. Polenz insisted that any agreement had to take place at the state level, comparing it to post-World War II pacts between Germany and its neighbors France and Poland.

But many among the Herero and Nama see a contrast between how Germany approached this genocide and how it handled reparations with the Jews after World War II. Germany has negotiated with the Jewish Claims Conference, founded by representatives of 23 Jewish groups, to provide indemnification worth $80 billion since 1952 to Jews from around the globe.

“Germany spoke to many different Jewish groups after the Holocaust. They didn’t say they will only speak to Israel,” said Ms. Luipert, the descendant of Nama victims. “Why is Germany now saying, when it comes to the Nama and Herero we are not willing to talk to a dozen different groups? Is it because we are Black?”

Why Germany's Namibia Genocide Apology Isn't Enough

Germany's long-awaited apology for last century's mass killing in Namibia has opened fresh questions about how Europe confronts its colonial past in Africa, argues Namibian analyst Emsie Erastus.

Last week, at the completion of negotiations with Namibia, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas made the announcement that the slaughter his country carried out in its former colony was a genocide.

There was also the promise of development aid worth more than &euro1.1bn (£940m $1.34bn).

German colonisers killed tens of thousands of Ovaherero and Nama people in Namibia between 1904 and 1908. This amounted to some 80% of the Herero and over 40% of the Nama. Their land and livestock were also confiscated.

This was punishment for taking part in an uprising.

The media announcement on Friday was stage craft at its best: a carefully compiled statement seemingly to avoid any legal culpability. It came as the largest faction within the Ovaherero community continue to pursue attempts to sue the German state for the genocide.

The message was intended for a sceptical German audience that, according to multiple studies, has little remembrance of the killings or of the country's past as a powerful colonial force with dominion over modern-day Togo, Namibia, Burundi, and Tanzania.

Germany Acknowledges Colonial Genocide in Namibia and Promises Development Projects

Germany&rsquos government acknowledged Friday that it committed genocide during its colonial occupation of what is now Namibia and promised more than $1 billion in development projects in communities descended from victims.

The announcement from Germany&rsquos Foreign Ministry comes after more than five years of negotiations between Berlin and Windhoek, the Namibian capital, where the news was received cautiously as a &ldquofirst step in the right direction,&rdquo according to the president&rsquos spokesman. Germany refused direct reparations that victims&rsquo descendants had lobbied for and said development projects would be carried out over the next 30 years.

The acknowledgment came more than 100 years after the genocide &mdash a stark contrast with the public recognition and deeply imbued sense of national shame around the Holocaust that has become part of Germany&rsquos modern identity.

Between 1904 and 1908, German colonial forces in what was then known as South-West Africa brutally quashed a rebellion spearheaded by the Herero and Nama tribes against the seizing of land and livestock by colonists, killing at least 65,000 Herero and 10,000 Nama. Many were driven into the Kalahari Desert, where the colonial administration had built labor and concentration camps, and died there of starvation and exhaustion. Researchers estimate that as many as 80 percent of the Herero and half of the Nama people were killed.

&ldquoIt was, and continues to be, our aim to find a common path towards real reconciliation in the memory of the victims,&rdquo German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement. &ldquoThis requires us to be unreserved and unflinching in naming the events of the German colonial period in what is now Namibia, and especially the atrocities of the period 1904 to 1908. We will from now on officially call these events what they are from a contemporary perspective: a genocide.&rdquo

Alfredo Hengari, spokesman for Namibian President Hage Geingob, said the announcement out of Berlin was the result of a ninth round of negotiations that began in 2015 over how Germany would move forward in making amends to victims&rsquo descendants and repairing relations between the two countries. The process has drawn widespread criticism among victims&rsquo descendants, who say they have been left out.

CDU member: Germany 'ready to return remaining human remains' of Namibians

"The acceptance on the part of Germany that a genocide was committed is the first step in the right direction," President Hage Geingob's spokesman Alfredo Hengari told AFP.

Some representatives of the Herero and Nama peoples have voiced criticism of the agreement, saying that it was a PR stunt by Germany and a bid to defraud the Namibian government.

However, neither of the groups expressing objections — the Ovaherero Traditional Authority and the Nama Traditional Leaders Association — can be considered as representing all Herero and Nama groups.

Members of both groups have demanded an official apology from Germany, as well as financial reparation.

LIVING Namibians are unemployed and starving, yet some individuals are afforded state funerals. Where is the logic in this? When will Namibians abandon illogical, unsustainable, sentimental political ideologies?

CAN our leaders please put their political issues aside and focus on the perishing nation? Can they at least use funds to turn a block at Ramatex into a Covid-19 centre? Please hear our cries and plan proactively. It is not just the poor who are dying and getting infected, we are all infected and affected – no matter your rank or level in life.

MERCY Karuuombe reported on the family who was evicted from a government flat where they were illegally squatting. Is this a joke? Since when do we portray this type of behaviour sympathetically? The lady has done the wrong thing, and this is portrayed as if she is in the right? It is not right to take over property which is not yours. It is also not right for government employees to sublet their apartments, and it is not right to abuse taxpayers' money.

PLEASE, Project Hope, stop paying volunteers working at the gender ministry peanuts. They have families to feed and other needs to cater for. Just imagine people getting paid little, yet they don't get bonuses and other benefits. Pay them the same salary as community healthcare workers. Ms Sioka, do something. Enough is enough.

DR Wilhelmine Shivute, executive director of defence, please consider members who are currently conducting stocktaking at the NDF's different units for S&Ts. There is no logic in telling people there is no money. Effective administration is the only way to more honesty and transparency.

OUR government must learn to listen and consult. If they had done so since the start of Covid-19, when they were advised by Dr Bernard Haufiku, the local outbreak would have been under control.

NO more corona weddings, please. It is selfish to tie the knot during the pandemic. Please don't just think of your wedding-night bliss, consider how many people will be infected with the virus and probably die after attending your wedding.

ONE of the most important lessons of the coronavirus is that the health system cannot be based on profit. Socialise the system.

WE all know weddings are superspreader events. It is therefore crucial that churches and magistrate's courts put a moratorium on administering wedding oaths until further notice. Prospective grooms and brides must postpone wedding plans until further notice. I know of two weddings in my family, scheduled for August and December. Don't even think of inviting me. To all such invitations I say thanks, but no thanks.

MINISTER of health, all teachers and pupils in the country must get vaccinated. Those who refuse to get the jab should be excused from schools.

CAN the minister of health elaborate more on why Ramatex is not suitable for Covid-19 mitigation, please? He elaborated on why the government did not take the Lady Pohamba Private Hospital option, but on Ramatex he just said it was unsustainable. In which way is it not sustainable? People deserve to know the reasons, because their tax money is being used.

NAMIBIA Medicines Regulatory Council, I am of the view that you legalise or authorise the use of ivermectin by medical practitioners to avoid fatalities due to the unsupervised use of the drug by individual community members. We don't have to wait for a crisis to do the right thing. In fact, the authorities were expected to be upfront on this issue, instead of waiting to be petitioned by doctors or the community. Do we even plan, or do we just react to problems? After all, all drugs have side effects and disadvantages – especially if its use is not supervised by qualified medical practitioners.

I HAVE read a lot about the Herero and Nama genocide, and I have realised that the local communities have a strong case. A neutral arbitration process is needed, and not the type of negotiation process that was just completed recently.

TSES Village Council is not adhering to Covid-19 regulations at all: no masks, no sanitisers, no social distancing. Two staff members have tested positive, but business continues as usual. Please look into this matter urgently.

OVAHERERO-speaking Namibians are not a nation. Please, Namibians, understand what the term 'nation' means. A language group is not equal to a nation. The Namibian nation is far more important than one language group.

KHOMAS Medical Centre management, if you do not remove this so-called Doctor Swakopmund (Mondesa branch), then be ready to lose more customers, because that doctor does not have good manners. It looks like this man is just there for his salary. I do not hate him, but I am worried about his careless behaviour towards patients. Give us a caring doctors, please!

CITY of Windhoek, thank you for your excellent service in replacing our broken wheelie bin. Wonders never cease to exist.

Watch the video: SOUNDS AND SIGHTS OF THE ZAMBEZI REGION (August 2022).