Replica statue must fall

A group in Swakopmund has called on the Namibian police to remove a replica of an apartheid era statue.

08 April 2019 | Local News

Norbert Sadlowski; Alstadt Restaurant owner; . . . this is a historical building and the statue is simply a marketing tool.

Swakopmund - Otis Finck

The Namibian Genocide Association (NGA) is demanding that a replica of the Reiter Denkmal monument erected in February at Alstadt Restaurant and Beergarden in Swakopmund be removed.

NGA chairman Laidlaw Peringa said he had meetings with the owner of the restaurant, Norbert Sadlowski, as well as the Swakopmund station commander, chief inspector Moses !Aebeb, about the issue.

“Sadlowski told me he will not remove the politically insensitive monument at the public restaurant because it is part of history. Chief inspector !Aebeb requested that I put my request in writing, which I did.”

In a letter dated 2 April Peringanda requested that Nampol intervene and remove the statue at the venue on the corner of Hendrik Witbooi Street and Anton Lubowski Avenue.

According to him its presence is violating article 23 (1) of the Namibian Constitution which prohibits the practice of racial discrimination, and the practice and ideology of apartheid.

“The statute is a stark reminder of how thousands of Namibians were killed in the 1904-1908 genocide orchestrated by colonial Germany. Our ancestors perished.”

Sadlowski confirmed that Peringanda had visited him and discussed the presence of the statue at his establishment.

“We talked and I explained to him that this is a historical building and the statue is simply a marketing tool. Our intention is to try and get old stuff here and give it a sort of museum atmosphere. People like to see these things, especially tourists. I also invited him to bring any cultural items that could be displayed here. If instructed, I will remove the statue.”

NGA also wrote a letter to the municipality of Swakopmund on 8 March and to Nampol’s chief, lieutenant general Sebastian Ndeitunga, on 27 March expressing its dissatisfaction with the replica.

Peringanda explained history indicates that the original Reiter Denkmal was inaugurated at the former “Windhoek Concentration Camp” on 27 January 1972, and honoured soldiers and civilians that died on the German side in the Herero and Namaqua War of 1904-1907.

“Former president Hifikepunye Pohamba called for the removal of the statue from public view in 2013, stating that it was violating the rights of many black Namibians. Nampol subsequently removed it on 25 December that year. The bronze statue is in storage at the courtyard of the Alte Feste building.”

The replica of the Reiter Denkmal monument at Altstadt restaurant is about half the size (approximately 2 metres) of the original and was constructed by a local artisan.

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