Hendrik Witbooi – born in South Africa’s the far northern Cape Province – was one of the most astonishing leaders of southern Africa.
Described as a “Kaptein,” he led the Nama people against the Germans in South-West Africa, today Namibia.
He was a well-educated man.
Witbooi was taught at Rhenish Missionary and Wesleyan Methodist Schools in Namibia, as well as at the Wilberforce Institute in Evaton, South Africa.
Coetzee – probably South Africa’s greatest living novelist – reads a selection of Witbooi’s letters. They are amusing, moving and courteous, and show a side of Witbooi that few will have known before.
Namibian President, Sam Nujoma gave this tribute to Witbooi.
Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi was the first African leader who took up arms against the German imperialists and foreign occupiers in defence of our land and territorial integrity. We, the new generation of the Land of the Brave, are inspired by Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi’s revolutionary action in combat against the German Imperialists who colonised and oppressed our peoples. To his revolutionary spirit and his visionary memory we humbly offer our honour and respect.
Witbooi was killed on 29 October 1905, in a skirmish with the Germans near Keetmanshoop.
I found the letters fascinating.
Thanks, Mr Martin for ever coming up with such interesting articles, accounts aquainting us with the long past of Africa.
I am happy to read this. It adds to Connie Braam’s well-researched historical novel ‘Ik ben Hendrik Witbooi’ (Amsterdam 2016) and to the exhibtion ‘German Colonialism – Fragments Past and Present’ in the Deutsches Historisch Museum (October 2016 – May 2017) which showed some fragments about him.
And today his memory is kept alive with his face on our bank notes…