THE biggest non-event and a demonstration of growing apathy in COW-politicians this morning saw the removal of the Curt von François-statue during peak morning time traffic with more municipal workers in attendance than spectators.
In an embarrassing moment, the statue slipped and one of the workers jumped from the ladder not to get hurt amongst a roar of laughter.
Notably, absentees was the political leadership with Job Amupanda claiming victory for the removal ceremony that attracted little public attention.
It was clear from the few comments on social media platforms that the citizens of Windhoek care more about service delivery than the politics of a failed municipality.
Von Francois was the German colonial military officer known for commanding the Hornkranz Massacre and building the Alte Feste Fort and various other developments in infrastructure and was removed by the Council of the City of Windhoek (CoW) which is more divided amongst themselves than the public opinion on the statue itself.
Some Namibians believe the city of Windhoek is claiming a decision that was in actual fact initiated by President Pohamba who during his term remarked that he found the statue and the wrong history attributed to Von Francois so offensive that he can’t even “bear to drive past it.”
Von François is mostly known for commanding the Hornkrans Massacre in 1892, which resulted in the killing of many women and children. Many people, therefore, argued that the statue commemorates killings against Namibians during German colonial rule.
Until this morning, the statue, which was erected in 1965, stood in front of the Windhoek Municipal Building at the intersection of Independence Avenue and Sam Nujoma Drive. It has since been relocated to the Windhoek City Museum for storage.
The fate of the statue was decided during the Municipal Council of Windhoek’s Ordinary Council Meeting held on 27 October 2022.
This follows an online petition that was started by Hildegard Titus in 2020, demanding the removal of the statue on grounds that it served as a colonial monument that commemorates the forced removal of Windhoek’s black population and represents “a man who has been erroneously called the founder of Windhoek”. The petition currently has 1 724 signatures after two years which is at best a poor representation of public opinion, but a good representation of apathy and a never mind attitude amongst the vast majority of city dwellers and Namibians in general.
An audit in fact confirmed only about 250 petitioners.