New Era Newspaper

New Era Epaper
Icon Collap
Home / Ovambanderu remember the battle of Otjunda

Ovambanderu remember the battle of Otjunda

2024-05-15  Correspondent

Ovambanderu remember the battle of Otjunda

Zebaldt Ngaruka


Ovambanderu commandos in Namibia paid tribute to the fallen heroes of the battle of Otjunda, marking 128 years of the fierce battle between the Ovambanderu and the German Schutstruppe under General Theodore Leutwein. 

The commemorations were held on 1 May. 

Freddy Nguvauva, the brigadier of the Ovambanderu Traditional Authority, said the day is important to Namibians as it signifies the bravery and steadfastness of Kahimemua Nguvauva to his motherland and his people. 

The German colonisers were supported by troops from Captain Hendrik Witbooi of the Nama, Samuel Maharero of Ovaherero in Okahandja, Hermanus van Wyk of the Baster and Simon Kooper of the Nama. 

Kahimemua was assisted by some Ovaherero clans, such as the Ondoto and Hikaeta clans, as well as the Khauas Nama faction.

 Kahimemua knew the strategy of the Germans, as they wanted war to break out so they could support Maharero, and crash the opposition forces who opposed land sales. 

He knew the defeat of Kambahahiza would usher in land colonisation. 

During the battle, Kahimemua was injured in the leg, and was therefore requested by his sons to leave the battlefield.

He performed miracles that caused the Germans to become scared, and was sentenced to death. 

“He left unnoticed with his son, Hiatuvao Nicodemus Nguvauva, and went to Omukuruvaro, near present-day Epukiro. Later, senior Nguvauva sent an envoy to the German troops to report on his whereabouts so that he could be arrested since the Germans were looking for him,” narrated the historian.

“His argument was that since most of his children had perished during the battle of Otjunda, together with his first wife, who refused to flee to Botswana, there was no reason for him to continue living. He was thus arrested on 15 May 1896, and led by foot to Okahandja,” he explained.

On his way to Okahandja, Kahimemua performed miracles that caused the Germans to become scared, and they asked Samuel Maharero what kind of person he was, Nguvauva narrated.

He, together with Kambahahiza, faced trials at Okahandja, and were sentenced to death by a firing squad. 

Kahimemua asked the Germans to first shoot Kambahahiza since the latter feared death, before they could shoot him.

The Germans obliged.

When it was his turn, he was shot 11 times, but remained alive. 

He later identified a soldier of senior rank to shoot him on his forehead between the eyes. 

He told the Germans that it was the appropriate spot where a human bull should be shot at.

He fell face down and grabbed the sand, which he died with. 

His wife, who was miles away, knew her husband had died and went inside her hut, collected tobacco and gave it to her family members.  She went back inside, slept and died peacefully.

Nguvauva also reminded the community that 15 May is when Kahimemua was arrested – and as customary, there is a big ceremony to commemorate. 

The event will be held at Okahandja during the weekend of 14-16 June.

Nguvauva also told this publication that the German general who was tasked with arresting and disarming Kahimemua, Gustav Voigts, took a belt, rifles and other artefacts from him, which he later took to Braunschweig in Germany.

According to the historian, Voigts donated all the other artefacts, but asked the museum to keep the ‘sacred belt’ for him while he was still attached to the German Schutstruppe.

“Fortunately, Voigts never went back to collect the belt, and we managed to find it in 2021. The restitution process for the stolen belt is ongoing, and the Braunschweig City Council will finally resolve this matter on 12 June 2024, which is coincidentally the day when Kahimemua was executed.

Otjunda is the present-day Sturmfelf, and is one of the ancestral lands of the Ovambanderu people.

It is situated about 140km northeast of Gobabis, and is about 5km from Okounduve, where Kahimemua’s forefather, Tjozohongo Nguvauva, was buried in Omaheke’s Okorukambe constituency.

2024-05-15  Correspondent

Share on social media