KEETMANSHOOP: The annual Witbooi Heroes’ Day will be commemorated at Gibeon in the Hardap Region this weekend. Gibeon is situated some 60 kilometres south of Mariental. Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi, who was chief of the Nama people, was originally from the Northern Cape in South Africa.
He arrived and settled at Gibeon with his clan from South Africa in 1888, and died near Vaalgras on 29 October 1905 after being wounded in a battle against German soldiers.
One of his grandsons, Petrus Thomas Witbooi, told Nampa on Monday that Witbooi Heroes’ Day is aimed at teaching people about the late Kaptein’s history, and remembering his leadership. Relatives and community members will this weekend also honour his contribution to Namibia’s independence, as he was one of the first African leaders to take up arms against German colonial forces.
On Friday, Witbooi’s history will be read at !Gore-Abes (Zebra Fountain) in Gibeon. This was where he settled with his clan in 1888. Horse-riding will be one of the other highlights of the event as the Nama Kaptein used horses as transport and during battles.
The main event takes place on Saturday when, amongst others things, historical tools will be put on display, before the commemoration concludes with a church service on Sunday.
Witbooi is one of nine Namibian heroes who have symbolic graves at Heroes’ Acre in Windhoek, which was inaugurated on 26 August 2002.
He is also portrayed on Namibian banknotes, such as the N.dollars 50 and N.dollars 100 notes. The commemoration ends on Sunday.