Marthina Mutanga & Samuel Shinedima
DIGNITARIES of various Ovherero traditional institutions and royal houses are preparing for the commemoration of the 50th year of the death of noted Namibian nationalist and Independence Hero, Chief Hosea Kutako amidst strict COVID-19 restrictive measures.
COVID restrictions Chief Hosea Kutako, who died at the age of 100 on 18 July 1970, is honoured as a national hero, who was especially loved for his unifying qualities in the naming of the International Airport and statue in his honour in front of the National Assembly.
President Hage Geingob in a special message said Chief Kutako inspired other early nationalists and the Namibian people to rise and to achieve the goal of freedom.
“With Namibia a free nation since 1990 and standing tall among the nations of the world, one of the wishes of Chief Kutako have been realised. His calm authority, his deep wisdom and consistent pursuit of a united Namibian people shall continue to guide us as we work on the tasks of nation building, and the development of a country in which all citizens can flourish and develop to their full potential,” Dr. Geingob said.
The President said while Namibians pay homage on the 50th anniversary of his death, to honour his memory, people are summoned to deepen unity among themselves, to fight against the vices of division, tribalism and racism.
“Befittingly, we should honour the memory of Chief Kutako by acting with an acute sense of solidarity and unity of purpose as we work for social justice for the people of Namibia,” Dr. Geingob said.
Chief Hosea Katjikururume Kutako was born in 1870 and fought in the German-Herero war in the early 1900s, including the Battle of Ohamakari in 1904.
He was among those who escorted Samuel Maharero to the safety of Bechuanaland (present-day Botswana). Maherero sent him back to Namibia to care for the scattered Herero people.
Kutako was arrested and spent time in the various German concentration camps, including the Omaruru concentration camp from which, it is said, he escaped when he heard that they planned to secretly kill him.
In 1959 Chief Kutako and his chief’s council founded the South West African National Union (SWANU), one of the first political parties which acted as an umbrella body for the various groups in Namibia. SWANU is one of the oldest political parties in Namibia and is still represented in the National Assembly with its slogan of ‘Give the land back to the people’.
Kutako was instrumental in bringing South West Africa into the international arena at the United Nations, which ultimately paved the way for Namibian Independence in 1990.
Because his passport was withheld by the South African authorities, Chief Kutako asked British Anglican priest, Reverend Michael Scott, to plead Namibia’s case at the United Nations in 1946.
Chief Kutako has been described as a humble, dignified, courageous, intelligent and open-minded man who believed in the virtues of negotiation. He was highly respected and encouraged Herero leaders to communicate with traditional leaders from other communities and unite in the struggle for Independence.
As a central figure in Namibian nationalism, he inspired members from the resistance movement in difficult times, including people like the Founding Father, Dr. Sam Nujoma.
Abuid Tjipangandjara, Commando spokesperson said that on Sunday morning invited dignitaries will visit his grave to pay respect to the Chief, where all traditional rituals will be performed.
“Around 50 people, which will include some Ovambanderu people, are expected to attend the commemoration,” Abuid concluded.
Additional sources: Wikipedia and the Gondwana History Collection