Memorial lecture traces past
of an educational trailblazer

Staff Writer

The Mbuende clan is due to inaugurate its shrine in the village of Okapendje in the Otjombinde Constituency of the Omaheke Region on the 1st of October.

The shrine, among others, is in honour of two of its forebears, Gotthard Kakuinakuine Mbuende, and his son Gabriel Gotthard Mbuende both who have left deep spoors in Namibia, both politically and educationally during the liberation struggle and after. The two are father and grandfather respectively to late Namibian musician, Virumuje Mbuende, and his younger brother, Ambassador Professor Kaire Mbuende , and their sister former parliamentarian, Vicky Kaura.

It is not accidental or coincidental that the inauguration of the shrine has been scheduled for the 1st of October. That very weekend also sees the 118th anniversary of the Extermination Order by General Lothar von Trotha, then Commander of Germany ‘s Imperial army forces in the then South West Africa. Von Trotha issued this order on the 2nd of October 1904, when Gotthard Mbuende, was only ten years old. Meaning he is essentially a survivor of the Ovambanderu, Ovaherero and Nama genocide commited by Imperial Germany’s armed forces pursuant to the Extermination Order.

Not only this but Dr Mbuende says his grandma from the Katjivirue family, who was then orphaned due to the genocide, was given up for adoption by the colonial authorities, having traced her kinsmen in the rural area whereto after the genocidal onslaught against the indigenes, the survivors had been banished or had taken refuge . Subsequently she was married to an otjiramue, cousin.

Hence the existence of the Mbuende generations as they are known today in Namibia.

Thus in many respects than one, the Mbuendes, as are many an Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Nama people today, are all survivors of the genocide for whom the genocide is more than a historical account, but a personal tragedy and trauma. This is exactly the historic context of the Mbuende shrine due to be inaugurated.

To retrace this proud history of the clan, especially the trailblazing past in education of two of their foremost forebears, the Mbuendes had a memorial lecture for their educational pioneer, Gotthard Mbuende, the first principal of the St Barnabas Anglican Mission School, among the first school for the indigenes in colonial times. The lecture could not have been better hosted than at the St Barnabas Primary School hall in Katutura, named after none other than Gabriel Mbuende, its first principal since its reopening as the Higher Herero Primary School in Katutura in 1969, after it was closed in 1968 due to the forceful removal of black people from the Old Location, today’s Hochland Park.

In the memorial lecture Dr Mbuende, Kaitira Kandjii and the former principal of the Bethold Humumuine Primary School, Gerard Norman Vries, led the discussion around the theme: Development of Education of the centuries.

During which educators like Gotthard Mbuende and others, where hailed for their commitment to education when teaching then, more than everything else, was a community service and equally when most who went through it, in turn went to be of service to the whole community. Those were the old days of one big community of the oppressed, and when the community nor education was segregated on ethnic or tribal lines unlike in the Apartheid colonial.

Education then, which was initially missionary in nature, but became liberating through the community’s own determination, was contrasted with today’s education while desegregated as it is, is nevertheless not geared towards community service, nor responsive to the demands of the productive market. Pointing to the inability of those who went through the education system, to solve the society’s myriads challenges. Time, as it transpired, was not enough to tackle this vexed question of the seemingly unproductive education system. Revealing the need more similar platform to continue the discourse on the essence of the education system in Namibia.

Ovambanderu Choir, First St John Brass Band, Oruuano Choir and pupils from the school were at hand to put icing on a cake on an otherwise memorable evening directed by Dr Kauna Schroder and Sam Kauapirura.

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