'The Topnaar throne is ours'

Members of the #Khaxab Royal House say they are the ­rightful successors to the Topnaar throne.

01 April 2019 | Government

Chief Samuel #Khaxab; Topnaar chief; “When the Ondangwa Traditional Council experienced conflict, the president saw the need to intervene.”

Swakopmund • Leandrea Louw

Chief Samuel #Khaxab and deputy chief Ephraim Petersen of the #Khaxab Royal House have been involved in a lengthy legal battle to be recognised as the rightful heirs to the Topnaar throne.

They claim that the Kooitjies are not of royal descent while #Khaxab is and therefore should be recognised as the legitimate chief.

Documents they presented indicate that Frederick !Naraxab #Khaxab (1773) was the first Topnaar leader. He ruled from 1846 - 1855, with his headquarters located at Sandwich Harbour. When he died at the age of 82, Frederick Jan Khaxab ruled from 1866 - 1870, followed by Samuel Khaxab who ruled from 1871 ­- 1880. Thereafter Piet #Khaxab followed (1881 - 1998) along with 14 councillors with Jacob //Neichab as headman.

Other kings that followed were Jan Jonker Afrikaner who ruled from 1890 to 1892, Bericht #Khaxab (1893 - 1894) and Frederick Tsatago Khaxab from 1895 - 1945. The latter was the last king of the Topnaar.

Before his death in 1945, he handed the leadership to Stevenson Argell, the son of Frederick #Khaxab's niece. Argell was supposed to lead the community until a son was raised to take over the leadership.

However, the leadership was only supposed to be from royal blood or family. Still, he ruled until 1976 with the remaining council members of Frederick Khaxab.

DTA involvement

Namibia was still under South African rule then and the party until recently known as the DTA, decided to choose Esau Kooitjie as leader of the Topnaars in order to strengthen the political party - against the wishes of the Topnaar ­community.

Esau handed over the leadership to his son Seth Kooitjie in 1980.

Letters dating from 2016 show that Chief #Khaxab and his deputy tried to secure meetings with the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development on numerous occasions.

“We also approached the president's office, where we were told that the matter was being dealt with by the Anti-Corruption Commission along with the ministry. When the Ondangwa Traditional Council experienced conflict, the president saw the need to intervene. Why not assist us as well?”

According to the leadership of the Khaxab Royal House, they have lost all hope in government to address their plight and resolve the issue.

“The Topnaar are being suppressed by the government who is effectively blocking the rightful kingship. We have been fighting this battle for more than 26 years. Seth Kooitjie, who was in cahoots with the government, has been hampering our effort to be fully recognised as the descendants of the royal bloodline. The history of our people has also been falsified and twisted.”

Rightful place

#Khaxab also claims that the late ­Kooitjie had said he would hand over leadership on two occasions, but had never put his intentions on paper.

“We had meetings at Utuseb and at Swartbank, where he said it, but he never did so. The Topnaar community are aware of this and know us.”

The leadership of the Khaxab Royal House further stated that the handing over of the leadership of the Topnaar community isn't what it is supposed to be.

“All we want is to take our rightful place, uplift the Topnaar from the poverty they've been suffering all these years and elect traditional councillors who are of Topnaar descent. We are not a poor community, but in fact a very rich one. We want honesty and justice to prevail for our people.”

Efforts to obtain comment from the Nama Traditional Authority to clarify where the #Khaxab Royal House fits in, proved futile.

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