CoW moves against colonial statues, street names

Maria Hamutenya

City of Windhoek (CoW) is next week set to deliberate on the removal of the Kurt von Francois statue and the changing of colonial street names in the capital.

The move comes amid calls for statue removal and name change in some of the city roads, with current CoW Mayor, Job Amupanda having led the charge, calling for the Kurt von Francois statue to be replaced by human rights activist Anna Kakurukaze Mungunda.

“The changing of street names still has to go to council for a decision. It was elaborated on at a management committee meeting and yes there is consideration but council will pronounce themselves next week on the 11 February” said CoW Spokesperson, Harold Akwenye said.

Calls to remove the Kurt von Francois statue in front of City of Windhoek headquarters, comes years after the removal of the Reiterdenkmal, which was inaugurated in January 1912. The monument honoured soldiers and civilians who died on the German side of the Herero and Namaqua War of 1904 to 1907.

The statue was later removed in 2013 after public demands to take it down claiming the statue is a recurring wound to those that were oppressed during the colonial era. The statue is currently being stored in the courtyard of the Alte Feste building.

Affirmative Repositioning (AR) spokesperson, Simon Amunime, stated that over the past 30 years, the City has maintained the Apartheid spatial planning and has not engaged in any attempt to support African architecture nor been receptive to alternative building methods.

“The City will disengage with Apartheid spatial planning methods and bring about and accommodate Afro-centric building designs and initiatives. Our two representatives on the City Council has been given a mandate by the movement to support the motion for the statue to be removed within this year. It will be replaced by a statue of Namibian Heroes who have made a significant contribution to the restoration of Human dignity,” Amunime said.

“Our Councillors are mandated by the movement to embark through council, a process of renaming places to give them an African and Namibian character. This process will follow public nominations and submissions by the residents of the City.”

He further added the plagues of old names will be deposited into the Museum, joining the Mayoral Chain and Kurt von François statue, to be kept there for viewing by tourists and future generations.

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