Windhoek – The Namibian government is taking steps to immortalise the legacy of one of Africa’s most iconic liberation war heroes, Chief Hosea Kutako, through erection of a monument and museum in his honour.
President Hage Geingob this week told the nation that his government was building the Chief Hosea Kutako Memorial Museum and turning his homestead in Omaheke Region into a national heritage site.
President Geingob said: “I had the opportunity to visit the dwelling place of this great man and realised that the condition of the site was not befitting of our leader, teacher, and elder – Chief Hosea Kutako. It is for this reason that I declared … that the site b renovated and a shrine be built in remembrance of the role which this icon played towards the Namibian Struggle for Independence.”
Namibia’s Head of State and Government added: “Chief Kutako is a symbol and icon of our national community, whose role as a leader and unifier of all Namibians unites the people of this country. By honouring Chief Hosea Kutako through the envisaged museum and shrine, we, as a people, united under the banner of Independence, are acknowledging the significance of the ideas and values which this great man exuded throughout his life.”
Chief Kutako, President Geingob said, embodied solidarity and unity of purpose through his work.
“Not only are we honouring a luminary, who contributed immensely to our struggle for self-rule but we are also conveying to the world the story of Namibia and the brave men and women whose blood, sweat and tears propelled us along the journey to independence,” he said.
President Geingob recounted his first encounter with Chief Kutako, after whom Namibia’s biggest international airport is named.
“In 1962, having managed to find a car that could take us to the border between Namibia and Botswana, we arrived in Gobabis and we were informed that Chief Hosea Kutako was there. We were able to meet him and he gave us his blessing for our journey. This was a moment that I will never forget and it is an extreme honour to have experienced this encounter with the remarkable Chief Kutako. My only regret is that we couldn’t capture this moment on Polaroid,” he said.
Chief Hosea Komombumbi Kutako was born in 1870 and died a century later.
Chief Kutako participated oi the anti-colonial wars of 1904 as one of the leading commanders; and he was appointed Chief of the Ovaherero in 1920, less than two decades after the German genocide that left his people in disarray and the country under the yoke of oppression.
Chief Kutako rose to the position of Deputy Chief of Namibia’s Traditional Leaders Council and Chief of the Mbanderu in 1951.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, he lobbied long and hard for the United Nations to end South Africa apartheid and colonial rule. The International Court of Justice was to in 1971 declare South Africa’s occupation of Namibia illegal – barely a year after the death of the man who had campaigned tirelessly for Independence.