Botswana genocide victims’ descendants continue to seek their government’s support

Staff Writer

Kazeire Raurau Hangara last Thursday submitted on behalf of the Botswana Society for Nama, Ovaherero and Ovambanderu (B.O.S.N.O.O), a plea to the Botswana Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Lemoganga Kwape, for support for the Diasporans in their bid for genocide reparations against Germany.

Last month a delegation of Batswana of Namibian descent living in Botswana, met Kwape sensitising him on their desire to raise the issue of reparations against Germany for the genocide committed against their forebears, pleading for the support of their government as Botswana citizens in this regard. Whereupon Kwape understandably advised them to put their request on paper, subsequently the submission last Thursday, copied also to the German ambassador in the Botswana capital, Gaborone.

Namibian Nama, Ovambanderu and Ovambanderu Diasporans in Botswana and South Africa, have lately been busy with their own initiatives for reparations, disappointed by their exclusion from the current negotiations between Namibia, and the Federal Republic of Germany, the last round of which was in May in Berlin in Germany culminating in the said Reconciliation Agreement and Joint Declaration. While the content and nature of the Reconciliation Agreement remains under wraps, the Joint Declaration, which has become public knowledge, is completely mute about the Diasporans or Batswana and South Africans of Namibian descent as far as them benefitting in any way from the Reconciliation Grant. The recorded official position of the Namibian government is that Botswana and South African are two sovereign nations.

But this while as far as the campaigners for reparations in Namibia are concerned, descendants of the victims of genocide are indivisible, hence equally if reparations becomes a reality it must benefit all the descendants wherever, whether in Namibia or outside the country. Not only this but both Botswana and South African citizens of Namibian descent has since the inception of the reparations initiative after independence by late Dr Kuaima Riruako, Paramount Chief of the Ovaherero, been actively involved in the reparations movement attending genocide commemorative events in Namibia and Namibians likewise attending those held in Botswana and South Africa.

In the same vein as their Botswana fellows, South African citizens of Namibian descent have written to the African National Congress, the governing party in South Africa, to sensitise it to their plight as descendants of the victims of genocide in Namibia, and the ongoing reparations initiative and their exclusion. They are still waiting feedback from the ANC.

With the breaking of the news of the “deal” between Namibia and Germany, and the blatant exclusion of the Diasporans, a member of the Botswana Parliament for Ngamiland, Kainangura Hikuama, an Omumbanderu Batswana of Namibian descent, writing on the website of the Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Nama Genocide Institute (ONGI) in May, was categorical when he said: “Current On-going negotiations Between Namibia and Germany on Genocide, Reparations and Apology will remain incomplete without all the affected.”

This March Hikuama also posed questions to then Botswaba Foreign Minister, Unity Dow, around the issue wanting to know, amongst others, if the Batswana government was aware of the negotiations between Namibia and Germany, and how Batswana of Namibian descent were involved. Although sympathetic to what happened and the scars till today, Dow said that the genocide issue was a bilateral matter between two sovereign governments. She further encouraged affected Batswana to seek involvement through cooperation with their Namibian fellows.


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