THE Director of the Riruako Centre for Genocide and Memory, Kaambenda Veii expressed disappointment in the erection of statues of former colonial rulers across the country, saying that enough is not done to commemorate the 1904 Genocide against the Herero and Nama people.
Veii was speaking at a public lecture on rebuilding the identity of a post conflict society, hosted by Monica Geingos, Namibia’s First Lady, as a panellist. The lecture saw the attendance of Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame who was the guest of honour.
Kagame accompanied her husband Paul Kagame for a two day state visit to Namibia.
“At concentration camps around the country, people go there to camp on top of the Graves of people who were buried there. At the Shark Island in Luderitz, for example, people were fed to sharks but today you go there and drink a beer enjoying as if nothing happened there. There is absolutely nothing to remember there about the Genocide. Another concentration camp in Swakop, people built houses on top. Our history is being wiped out,” Veii maintained.
She further expressed disappointment in the naming of streets after colonial settlers, saying that the non existence of statues commemorating the extermination of Genocide victims constitutes a lack of identity and self belonging.
Speaking on the 1994 Rwandan tribal Genocide, Kagame said that to date, the country still seeks healing, peace and restoration.
“Organizations such as mine, the Imbuto Foundation provide youth forums that instil values and self reliance within the country and people in the Diaspora. It affords youth an opportunity to engage with leaders. The Genocide legacy is a bid to find solutions and generate ideas,” Kagame said.
Another panellist, a Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Nama Genocide Technical Comittee, Ida Hoffman equally expressed concern for a lack of discourse on Genocide in parliament.
“We also don’t have a day where we can come together and talk about this painful issue. The others have dates but not Genocide. How will our youth understand what has happened? When we talk about Genocide, it is not about the money but the restoration of our human dignity. We don’t even understand ourselves,” Hoffman said.
Other notable panellists included Dr Andrew Niikondo, Professor Andre du Pisami, Dr Monique Ansanzabangwa of Rwanda, Jeremy Sylvester and lebbeus Hishikutuva, a student.
The discussions were centred on the inter-generational impact of colonialism and apartheid in today’s society, facilitating healing and unity, addressing vocabulary and language that fuels and deepens divisions.
Dr Niikondo on his part condemned the ongoing tribal hate language and speeches amongst Namibians. Gender discrimination, xenophobia and minority discrimination form part of social evils.