WINDHOEK, 24 AUG – Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa will lead the 74-member delegation to Germany to repatriate 27 human remains of Namibian origin on Sunday.
This was revealed by Hanse-Himarwa at a press conference here on Friday.
Hanse-Himarwa emphasised that due to budgetary constraints, only 11 members are government sponsored, while 63 delegates have been sponsored by various private stakeholders, while some are self-funded.
She noted that the government-sponsored delegation includes herself, four officials from the department of Life Long Learning and Culture, a representative from the Traditional Council, Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, National Heritage Council of Namibia, a journalist, videographer and a camera operator from the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology.
Hanse-Himarwa added that 25 self-funded representatives from (Ovaherero and Nama) traditional authorities and communities, six members from the Council of Churches in Namibia and 32 members of the general public will also form part of the delegation.
“There is a huge interest in the whole exercise and because of many historic reasons, more people want to be part of the delegation. We cannot disallow them if they wish to be part of this significant activity, hence we have allowed people to sponsor themselves and source private funding,” she said.
Hanse-Himarwa also announced that upon arrival of the delegation from Germany on 31 August, a memorial service will be held at Parliament Gardens where the public will be allowed to observe their respective rituals.
“As the repatriation of these remains is seen to be a sensitive national issue as it is linked to the genocide of 1904 to 1908, the notion of greater public awareness is critical,” said Hanse-Himarwa.
All communities and groups who would like to perform rituals should register with the Directorate of National Heritage and Culture Programmes.
The education minister stressed that allegations that the previous skulls repatriated in 2011 and 2014 are kept in boxes and collecting dust have no substance, because the nature of remains have international standards and provisions in keeping human remains, to which Namibia is conforming.
“These remains will not be the last to be repatriated, therefore, the government shall create a platform to engage national and international stakeholders and experts in terms of going forward on how to deal with the remains,” she said. – NAMPA