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Activists celebrate the removal of Curt von François statue

By: Hendrina Kanyolo

The statue of the German colonial military officer Curt von François that has been standing at the City of Windhoek for 57 years has fallen. This comes after the city council last month approved the statue's removal.

Affirmative Repositioning (AR) leader Job Amupanda and fellow member George Kambala as well as de-colonial activist Hildegard Titus, who had previously asked for the removal of the statue, were among the onlookers. The removal of the statue commenced at 09h00 and took about an hour to complete.

As the statue was finally taken down, activists popped champagne and chanted in celebration.

De-colonial activist Titus who started the petition in 2020 said that the reason they wanted the statue to be taken down is because von François is one of the first reminders of colonialism in Namibia.

She added that von François was the reason why many Namibians including women and children were killed in 1892 through his command. She described the statue as a symbol of colonialism, thus, it should go.

“Curt von François is responsible for the Hornkranz massacre, where they massacred more than 80 women, children and the elderly. He was also the first symbol of colonial oppression,” stated Titus.

The Chairperson of the Council Cup Committee on Heritage, Job Amupanda defended the decision by the city council to remove the statue, stating that it represents disinformation such as claims that Curt Von François was the founder of City of Windhoek in 1890.

“We are simply saying the statue is a representation of a lie historically and because it represents a lie there is no argument about keeping, protecting and sustaining a lie,” said Amupanda.

Amupanda, who is also a city councillor noted that settlers such as Jan Jonker Afrikaner would be better suited as candidates to be honoured with a statue in public space.

The Curt von Francois statue will be stored at the Windhoek city museum.

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