Himba village demolished

10 February 2021 | Local News

Swakop Town Council; "Internal power struggle can never be resolved".

Swakopmund • Erwin Leuschner


For years the Ovahimba groups in Swakopmund have been arguing and “it is clear that the conflict between the groups will never be resolved”.

This is the conclusion of the Swakopmund Town Council that decided during a meeting at the end of January, that the groups must clear the cultural village next to the Martin Luther Museum and demolish its structures.

The background is explained in the resolution proposal.

In July 2016 the council rented a 900m² area to eight people from an Ovahimba group, whose leader, Marikondjo Tjambiru, had submitted an application for a cultural village to council several times. The rent would be N$465.75 per month and Tjambiru was responsible for the administration thereof.

The village was finally built in 2017.

However, due to an internal power struggle, town council convened a meeting with the two Ovahimba groups early in October 2020. One group is led by Tjambiru, who describes himself as the founder of the project, while the second group is led by Kaveturire Tjijerua, who describes himself as the vice-chairman of the Ovahimba cultural group.

“Both agreed during the meeting (in October) to work together without any problems,” council documents read. It was thus agreed that a new committee would be established and Tjambiru would be the chairman, while Tjijerua would servce as vice-chairman.

In mid-October, Tjambiru informed council in writing that he refused to accept new members (of the other group) into his group because they had violated Section 4 of the Ovahimba Constitution.

However, “Tjambiru drafted the constitution himself without the consent of others,” the document reads.

Some time later, the traditional Eonga group, which represents the communities of Ovatua, Ovahimba and Ovathjimba, informed council that they had performed traditional dances at the cultural village, but they were never paid for it, and that the money had “disappeared”.

At almost the same time, Tjijerua informed council that Tjambiru was not ready to work together and that his group was refusing people entry to the cultural village.

“Tjambiru exercises ownership of the village and dictates who he wants to work with,” according to the draft resolution, adding that “the majority who can benefit from this village will be excluded from this type of leadership”.

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