The Nama people want their culture and ethnic language to be recognised

07th September 2017
The Nama people Source:The Midweek Sun


By Sun Reporter - Reporter

The Nama people in Botswana would like their culture to be recognised and their history documented. This was reiterated at the second annual Nama festival held recently in Lekgwabe, Kgalagadi North. In an interview, festival spokesperson, Nichodimos Cooper, noted that they had spearheaded the festival as in order to teach people more about the Nama across southern Africa.

The event attracted the Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi as well as other dignitaries including representatives from the Sol Plaatjie Institute in South Africa, the University of Botswana and German Embassy, while Xukuru Xukuru represented Botswana Museum. Also present was Miss RADP, Neo Baarkath (her mother's father is a San but her mother is a Nama).

Cooper lamented that little is done to recognise and celebrate the so-called minority cultures in Botswana. While many concerned parties have expressed the sentiment that there should be an open criteria which if a tribe satisfies, then it should by constitutional imperative, be automatically recognised, Cooper acknowledged that it was the prerogative of the different ethnic groups across Botswana to make themselves visible by forming active communities and collecting information about their culture and history.

Cooper noted that in Namibia, the Nama (Khoe khadi) language has been included in the school syllabus, adding that what they know about their culture and history they get from Namibia. Cooper noted that they roped in the Sol Plaatjie Institute from South Africa and the University of Botswana San Research centre to assist them with documentation. He added that the National Museum as they collected what they could and had declared the monument of their captain Simon Cooper at Kaartlwe Pan near Lekgwaba, a national monument.

The Summary history of the Nama *1900s – The Nama (historically Namaqua) considered the largest group of the Khoi Khoi, live across southern Africa and are also hunter-gatherers. *1904-1907 – The Germans launch ethnic racial extermination against the Herero, San and Nama communities. More than 100, 000 people were killed, including 15,000 Nama.

*1908 – Chief of the Nama, Simon Cooper, leads his people to settle in Kgalagadi, Botswana.

*1985 -The United Nations’ Whitaker Report classifies the aftermath as attempt to exterminate the Herero and Nama of South West Africa, and an attempt of genocide.

*2004 - The German government apologises for the infamous German genocide but ruled out financial compensation for the victims’ descendants and reparations.

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