THE handing over of the Witbooi Bible and whip to the descendants of the legendary warrior for Namibian freedom and independence, will be remembered in history as one of the most significant events on the Namibian journey of nationhood.
In many ways, it is a reminder that peace always follows war although the prize of conflict is always too high, because the very brave never find rest until the last bullet rips through them.
When the flowers of peace bloom on forgotten battlefields they will never feel the winds of freedom through their hair and dies with the hope that their children will be free to travel the wide plains, valleys and mountains of the country they so dearly loved.
That is why today, Namibian freedom and peace must be appreciated and strengthened so that Namibians can move amongst each other as brothers and sisters to whatever corner of the land their freedom or desire leads them.
The arrival of the Witbooi artefacts is a unique opportunity that will not present itself again and should not be missed. Namibians must in solidarity with the Nama people of Kaptein Witbooi – who were the pioneers in taming and surviving the harsh southern desert lands – use the opportunity to honour and to commit to the path of peace and unity.
It might seem small, but in a world of turmoil, Namibia and Germany set an example for restitution and reconciliation as historical mortal enemies on various battlefields – in Namibia and Europe – for world leaders who are now threatening or are already engaged in war.
A huge step was taken towards the normalization of relations between Germany and Namibia and proves that on the international arena, the two countries can act together in the best interest of their different peoples if peace and justice for all is the aim.
There is every reason to be optimistic that relations will be strengthened and that trust will be restored after factional, tribal and personal interest waged a relentless onslaught against reconciliation and it is time to rise out of tragic history towards a brighter future.
The return of the Bible and whip after requests of the Witbooi family at Gibeon through negotiations that started in 2013, brought a diplomatic conclusion to an extremely painful initiative of the Witbooi-family at Gibeon.
Namibians can only hope and support the leadership of Namibia and Germany to accelerate economic diplomacy to encourage investment and development in which both the German and Namibian descendants can find peace, justice and forgiveness so that – just as for the past hundred years – their collective effort realize its full potential.
The Namibian meat- and karakul sheep industry is evidence of what national cooperation between different Namibian cultures could achieve.
There are many others like the green scheme developments in the Northern Frontier war zones where all Namibians stand shoulder to shoulder. A united nation who harnesses and embraces the lessons of history, can achieve much more with advanced technologies, education outcomes and national efforts, to address unemployment amongst the youth and the closing of the income gap through steady and sustainable wealth creation.
The Vice-president, Nangolo Mbumba, spoke for every Namibian when he described the arrival of Kaptein Witbooi’s whip and Bible as a symbol of reconciliation that is evidence of strengthened bilateral relations between Namibia and Germany and heralds an era of forgiveness and search for peace, strengthened by goodwill and cooperation.
He could have added that the return of the artefacts is a victory for responsive and responsible government over factionalism, tribalism and own interest.
It proves that patience, tolerance and goodwill will always triumph over arrogance and ignorance.
The legacy of timeless leadership cannot be better demonstrated by remembering the last whispers of Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi when the shadows of death fell over him on the battlefield of Vaalgras where he made a last stand to be free and keep his people free.
His dying words are the same plea for peace and unity that still echo over the Namibian landscape as guarantee of peace, unity and justice for future generations. Today, more than a hundred years ago, a mortally wounded Kaptein Witbooi uttered his famous last words: “It is enough, the children should now have rest.”
The greatest tribute the Namibian nation can pay to the memory of one of its greatest warriors who lived and died for freedom, is to chisel the last words of the Great King of Namaland, Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi into their souls: “Enough is enough, the children should now have rest.”
The nation needs all its strength to finish the race to justice, peace and equality that the great leaders of the past started more than a hundred years ago.
Independence and democracy are not steered by the whip, but by the timeless truth in the Witbooi Bible that Namibians should love their neighbours like they love themselves.
Namibians are privileged to slowly close the door on the ugly past, but must race through the gates of opportunity that presents itself.