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Statue removal stalls at Reiterdenkmal

Mon, 13 April 2015 12:18
by Penda Jonas Hashoongo
News

The National Heritage Council of
Namibia (NHCN) confirmed to The
Villager this week that despite the
presence of numerous ‘historically
insensitive’ monuments across the country,
there are no immediate plans of their removal.
Director of the NHCN, Salomon April,
revealed in an interview with The Villager
this week, that following the removal of the
Reiterdenkmal last year, the council has not
been mandated by its line ministry to remove
any ‘politically insensitive’ monuments and
statues in the country.
“As far as we are concerned, the
Reiterdenkmal issue is closed. It is important
to understand that the removal of these statues
is a process that follows a lot of procedures.
Somebody has to identify a monument or statue
that is [politically insensitive] before it can be
brought to the council. At this moment, the
council is not in the process of removing any
statues.”
The lack of urgency in the removal of other
statues and monuments deemed ‘politically
insensitive’ around the country has led to
suggestions from certain members of the
political fraternity to suggest that the removal
of the Reiterdenkmal was merely a tool to
appeal to the masses and secure votes in the
national elections.
Political analyst, Dr. Andrew Niikondo
opined that the successful unseating of the
Reiterdenkmal statue last year was not a result
of the national elections and that its central
location was the main reason for its removal.
“I am not sure if there were some push
factors for the removal of the Reiterdenkmal
statue as such, however, it remains a fact that
the colonial was well at the centre of the capital
city and it always raised questions from visitors
of its prominence,” he said.
“It was a political nuisance and hence its
removal was the most honourable thing to do,”
Niikondo added.
He suggested that the lack of urgency in the
removal of other ‘politically insensitive statues
and monuments erected before the country’s
independence does not mean that they too will
not be removed, with particular reference to
the famed statue of Curt von Francois, which,
like the Reiterdenkmal, occupies a prominent
location in the capital city.
“As long as those statues are not positioned
on the strategic position to embarrass the nation
compared to the Reiterdenkmal, the urgency to
remove them is not significant. However, this
does not mean they will survive the fall. They
will definitely be removed one day,” Niikondo
concluded.
Among the statues and monuments that
appear to be politically insensitive that are
yet to receive the NHCN’s attention are the
Owambo Campaign Memorial located across
the railway station in Windhoek and which
was erected by members of the South African
Army in memory of their comrades killed on
the 6th of February, 1917 near Ehole in a battle
against uprising of King Mandume Ndemufayo
of Kwanyama. He was killed in action and his
head was cut off.
Another prominent monument is the
Schutztruppe Memorial located in the centre
of Zoo Park, which was erected by order
of Governor Theodor Leutwein in 1897 in
memory of those killed before 1897.