9 July 2018

Namibia: Landless San Want Land Conference Postponed

Swakopmund — The Kai !Akhoen Hai//om San community wants the government to postpone the planned second land conference until they get the assurance that all the minority groups will be represented at it as they say the minority groups were the first inhabitants of Namibia.

They further say San people are still scattered around the country as government failed to resettle them after 28 years of independence.

The Kai !Akhoen Hai//om San community is of the opinion that regional consultations for the land conference serve no purpose as they only focus on urban areas and completely exclude rural areas.

Marcel Nauseb, the spokesperson and advisor of Chief Ananias Soroseb, chief of the Hai//om San, who are still seeking 'recognition' from government despite being from the San royal traditional authority, said that they do not know whether the government is simply ignoring the history of the San people or it does not know their history at all.

"We have been writing letters since 2010 to the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development as well as the former presidents to get an audience so that we state our case and be resettled and recognised as a traditional authority. But it seems our pleas have fallen on deaf ears," he said.

He said the fact the San are landless has negatively affected their traditions and norms as they no longer live as a community.

"The situation is forcing us to seek international assistance so that we can also benefit from Namibia. All we want is for our chief to be recognised as he is legitimately for the royal traditional authority and for us also to be resettled so that we can also live dignified lives just like all Namibians," he said.

"Hence we are requesting the government to postpone the upcoming land reform conference until we have a representative from the Hai//om San royal household. We were already excluded from the 1991 land conference and policies were made in favour of those tribes who came from outside Namibia, while we after 28 years are still landless," he said. According to the book 'Etosha Hai//om Heartland, Ancient Hunter-Gatherers' by Reinhard Friederich, the late Chief #Arebeb was killed and buried in 1904 under a tree on farm Marburg in the Okorusu area where he lived with his people.

The book says #Arebeb was killed together with his two sons by armed German soldiers on the same day, and his sons were buried a few kilometres from the tree at a waterhole in the same area. Most of the Kai !Akhoen Hai//om San people who were under #Arebeb had dispersed and disappeared to other places out of fear of what happened to their leader.

Close relatives of the late Chief #Arebeb reportedly also changed their surnames as they were being hunted by the German soldiers.

The current traditional leader of the Kai !Akhoen Hai//om San community at Otjiwarongo, Chief Soroseb took over from his father, Chief Theofellus Soroseb, in 2011.

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