The Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement have declared 2 October as Genocide Remembrance Day in honour of the Ovaherero and Nama who died at the hands of German colonial forces between 1904-1908.
AR leader Job Amupanda told journalists yesterday that Ovaherero paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro has also agreed to the 2 October idea.
"We announce there will be a Genocide Remembrance Day as of 2020 onwards. We are declaring 2 October a public holiday every year. We are not waiting for the government to do it because we consulted the Ovaherero chief. This artificial discussion is a problem. We want to break it and move forward. Why is it we can't work together but they worked together during the liberation struggle. It is a point of no return," Amupanda reacted.
Ovaherero Traditional Authority secretary general Mutjinde Katjiua said they support the proposal, adding that the AR leaders paid a courtesy call to Rukoro to discuss the matter. Katjiua explained that they suggested 2 October, as this was the day the Germans proclaimed the extermination order, which led to the first genocide globally of the 20th century.
"It is a common truth that Namibia did not recognise such an important day in the history of mankind. So, AR suggested that even if the government did not recognise it, we as a population of Namibia who are affected should consider to make this day a public holiday. We agreed to that. That does not mean people will stay away from work. It means one may put in leave and go and attend to activities of the day. So, we are in agreement with that idea," he said.
He explained that the purpose of the visit was to "salute" the chief for the brave fight he has been fearlessly pursuing on behalf of the descendants of the genocide victims of 1904-08.
Amupanda maintained they would also seek an audience with the leadership of the Nama Traditional Leaders Association to share similar perspectives on the cultural re-orientation of Windhoek and Genocide Remembrance Day.
"We, therefore, announce to Namibia and our activists that there will be a Genocide Remembrance Day to remember and place at the centre the first genocide of the 20th century. We will be joining and actively supporting the victim communities to ensure that from 2020 onwards Namibia remembers the genocide through national commemoration," he noted.
Amupanda said Rukoro also shared various perspectives on history, which were beneficial to the AR programme of action.
The issue of a Genocide Remembrance Day has been coming on for quite some time. Former Swanu of Namibia parliamentarian Usutuaije Maamberua tabled a motion in the National Assembly in April 2016 with the aim of having 28 May declared Genocide Remembrance Day and as a national day.
The motion to enact Genocide Remembrance Day was well received and saw members of both ruling and opposition parties in agreement.