Rehoboth Baster Community

Namas Might Join Next Sam Khubis Commemoration

Published by May 13, 2005

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A senior lecturer at the University of Namibia and well-known social worker, Dr Hettie Rose-Junius, has called on the Sam Khubis organising committee to consider inviting a delegation from the Nama-speaking people to next year\'s festivities and those in the future.

The Baster community in Namibia celebrates Sam Khubis every year on the 8th of May to mark a victory over German troops in 1915.

Exactly 90 years ago, the Baster people decided to take up arms against the German colonial troops after they refused to join the Germans in fighting against other indigenous groups like the Nama and the Herero.

They fled on foot, horseback and wagon, to Sam Khubis, ahead of a then modern and merciless German army. Sam Khubis lies about 70 kilometres south-west of Rehoboth. The area was chosen by the then Baster leaders because of its strategic location and is surrounded by mountains and provides only one entrance.

At Sam Khubis, the Baster people took a stand to protect their defenceless women and children, some of whom were on their way to Sam Khubis, but who died from shots fired by German troops. The wife and child of the then Baster leader, Kaptein Cornelius van Wyk, was shot dead in cold blood at farm Garies by a German officer. She was on her way to Sam Khubis.

Only one bullet was used to kill the two because in the face of death the mother tried to shield her child. The bullet struck the child first and then killed the mother.

Others who fled were met with the same fate.

However, most made it to Sam Khubis with the German army in pursuit. Fighting erupted and casualties were inflicted on both sides during the battle of Sam Khubis.

However, the Baster men and women, who fought side by side, were running out of ammunition. Their make-shift rifles, 'Ou Sannas' were not up to the German war artillery. The German army used modern war equipment, complete with canons and other heavy-calibre war equipment.

In short, the Baster people faced a massive onslaught from the German troops, possibly complete extermination.

Faced with this, the Baster leaders and their people turned to God and asked Him to save them. In return they made a pact with God and promised to respect and commemorate the day every year.

The German army withdrew and the war was over.

Speaking at the festivities, Dr Rose-Junius noted that the first leader of the Basters, Kaptein Hermanus van Wyk, had a bodyguard who travelled with him constantly.

Research has shown that Kaptein Van Wyk trusted this man with his life. Rose-Junius pointed out that instead of choosing a Baster bodyguard, Kaptein Van Wyk opted for a Nama man. After also having given a brief history about the transaction between Kaptein Hermanus van Wyk and the then Nama leader, Abraham Swartbooi, over the sale of Rehoboth to the Basters, Rose-Junius posed the following question:

"What about inviting a delegation from the Nama-speaking people to the festivities of Sam Khubis next year?" She paused and when her audience started clapping she continued: "Thank you people. I was scared to say that, but I had to say it because it is in my heart."

As part of the Sam Khubis festivities, tribute was also paid to the men and women who fought at Sam Khubis. In line with the theme of this year's festivities, 'The role of women', women of the Baster community and those across Namibia were also praised for their contribution.

The day's festivities also coincided with Mother's Day and while paying tribute to the mothers of the Baster community, best wishes were also sent out to all the mothers of Namibia.

Source: NewEra