Current track



/Khowesin want Witbooi shrine at Gibeon

Written by on May 30, 2024

The /Khowesin traditional community at Gibeon in the Hardap region wants a planned shrine for kap­tein Hendrik Witbooi to be erected at his former homestead at the village.

The traditional community made this request to the government on Tuesday during a public engagement with the parliamentary standing committee on human resources and community development.

Witbooi Traditional Authority chief Ishmael Witbooi said community members are demanding that the shrine be built at the former kaptein’s home for socio-economic reasons, among others, as it could attract tourists.

“The parliamentary standing committee met with governor Salomon April, the Witbooi royal house, local and traditional authority leaders, and thereafter with the Gibeon community.

“In that meeting members of the /Khowesin clan, from young to old, requested the government to erect the shrine at Gibeon and not at Vaalgras,” Witbooi said.

Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi was a chief of the /Khowesin people, a sub-tribe of the Khoikhoi.

He led the Nama people during their revolts against the German colonial empire.

He was killed on 29 October 1905 by a single gunshot wound by the Germans on the northern plains of Vaalgras in the //Kharas region.
Witbooi is regarded as one of Namibia’s national heroes, and his face is portrayed on the flip side of Namibia’s N$50, N$100 and N$200 banknotes.

According to history, he fled from his house at Gibeon with members of his army to Aminuis after receiving news that the German army would be coming for the Nama people after the battle at Ohamakari.

They reportedly moved their camp to the Aminuis area, and upon realising its location could be compromised, they moved towards Vaalgras in the //Kharas region. Witbooi died on the northern side of Vaalgras after being shot by German soldiers.

“A monument has been erected at the royal house at Gibeon, just like there is already a monument at Vaalgras, or what is known as Witboois Ende.

“But if there is to be a shrine, the community wants it at his former house behind the Lutheran church,” the chief said.

The parliamentary standing committee started consulting with communities in the Hardap and //Kharas regions on Monday to erect the shrine at Vaalgras.

The consultations follow a motion tabled by Popular Democratic Movement president McHenry Venaani last year seeking to erect a shrine at Vaalgras in Witbooi’s honour.


Venaani said the erection of a shrine would not only serve as a “perpetual beacon” for Namibians, but would also improve the area’s economic well-being.

War veteran Nahas Angula yesterday commended the move and said the time has finally come to celebrate a true son of the Namibian soil.

He said Witbooi’s colonial resistance has motivated many of his generation to go into exile in the early 70s.

“They must also find where he was buried and designate the place where he fought his final battle,” Angula said.

He said schools should visit the shrine to teach pupils about the country’s history.


Deputy minister of home affairs, immigration, safety and security Lucia Witbooi yesterday described the former kaptein as a national hero who has made countless sacrifices for Namibia.

“I am in full support of the motion. I am just hoping something positive comes from the consultations that will document the great history of our leader,” she said.

Landless People’s Movement (LPM) member of parliament Utaara Mootu this week said the LPM welcomes the motion.

She called on international and local institutions to do more research on Witbooi’s journey to allow students to learn about local history and to promote a culture of pride.

Mootu suggested that a museum be constructed to preserve history and the role Witbooi played in resisting German oppression.

“The shrine would also play a role in our tourism industry,” she said.


Meanwhile, Angula said some of the region’s existing infrastructure would complement the shrine to benefit the local economy, as it would attract tourists.

“I support we put this up for the future generations to learn and not forget the history of Namibia,” he said.

The parliamentary standing committee paid the Hardap and 
//Kharas regional governors, Salomon April and Aletha Frederick, courtesy calls, consulted with the Witbooi royal house at Gibeon, as well as with the community.

They are expected to still meet with the Vaalgras Traditional Authority in the //Kharas region, and with the Nama Traditional Leaders Association, apart from members of the public.

The post /Khowesin want Witbooi shrine at Gibeon appeared first on The Namibian.

Current track