UNPO offers new avenues for this traditional community in Namibia, as they campaign to regain control over their traditional lands and resources.
The latest meeting of the UNPO Presidency, which met from 01 – 03 February at the European Parliament in Brussels, has continued pursuit of UNPO’s goal of giving a voice to all unrepresented nations and peoples, by welcoming the Rehoboth Basters into the organisation.
The Rehoboth Basters emigrated from the CapeColony to what is today known as the Republic of Namibia in 1868, fleeing persecution and discrimination under colonial rule. They purchased a territory from the Swartboois in 1973 with the consent of other Chiefs in this central part of Namibia.
Following the end of German Rule in south west South Africa, South African military rule reigned the entire region from 1914 to 1929. During this period, land confiscation was common, and the Rehoboth Basters were alienated from some two thirds of the territory they had purchased, despite their refusal to sign documents and treaties purporting to grant legitimacy to these confiscations.
The eventual independence of Namibia marked the final end to Rehoboth Baster control over this territory - lands they had now owned and cultivated for well over a century. Viewing this seizure as simply another act of colonial oppression, relations between the new Government of Namibia and the Rehoboth community deteriorated significantly.
A process of reconciliation is now under way however, lead by the Captain’s Council of the Rehoboth Basters. This Council hopes UNPO Membership will offer new opportunities to pursue their ongoing campaign for formal recognition as a traditional community, as well as the restoration of their traditional land and property, as regaining control over these territories is an integral part also of the survival of their culture, which remains closely tied to their land and its resources.
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) is an international membership-based organization established to empower the voices of unrepresented and marginalized peoples worldwide and to protect their fundamental human rights.