Great-grandson says Von François ‘did a lot for this country’

Last Thursday evening the council decided that the statue of the German colonial military officer at the City of Windhoek’s head office should be removed and displayed at the Windhoek City Museum.

This followed a petition handed to them in 2020.

Ruprecht von Francois said yesterday that his great-grandfather is behind the strong infrastructure of Windhoek.

“He did a lot for this country. Look at the city’s infrastructure. Now you are going to remove someone who has done so much for this country,” he charged.

He said those in favour of the removal have an inferiority complex, hence their mission to take away the statue.

“Give him to me and tell me where I can keep him,” he said.

He argued that his great-grandfather did more for the country than the current government.

Meanwhile, Harald Hecht, the chairperson of the Forum for German-speaking Namibians, said the overall objective should be reconciliation between all Namibians, and a defined time frame of when the nation can move forward to the next era.

He said reconciliation should include accounts of the German colonial and apartheid eras, as well as a critical review of the liberation struggle.

“It is an open assessment. We need a genuine willingness by all to concede mistakes in order to move forward as a nation and identify issues that unify us, instead of division,” he said.

He suggested that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission be established, similar to what was done in South Africa.

“If it assists in moving us forward as a nation, yes. It should be within an acceptable time frame though,” he said. The National Heritage Council of Namibia said the statue is not a proclaimed national heritage resource.


In the early morning hours of 12 April 1893, Von François launched a surprise attack on Hendrik Witbooi at his mountain fortress of Hornkranz, 120 km south-west of Windhoek.

It is estimated that 78 women were killed and four more wounded by the Germans.

Over the last two years, councillors attended a workshop where it was established that the Von François statue is not a proclaimed national heritage resource.

Before the voting took place last week, councillor Fransina Kahungu chose not to vote. She earlier wanted the petition to be returned to the management committee.

Kahungu wanted the committee to involve Nama and Ovaherero traditional leaders dealing with the genocide matter, before reaching a decision on the statue’s removal.

Kahungu was supported by councillor Queen Kamati, who also asked for the matter to be sent back to the committee for “a clear outline”.

Councillor Job Amupanda jumped in to argue that all due processes over the last two years had been followed, as it was a matter the previous council also had to deal with.

The removal of the statue will not cost the Windhoek council a cent, Amupanda revealed while arguing that a resolution should be reached for the statue’s removal.


Anthropologist Heike Becker said in 1965, the all-white city council decided to honour the purported ‘founder’ of Windhoek in 1890 by the German colonial officer Von François, by erecting a statue in front of the offices of the municipality in Windhoek’s city centre.

“Namibia was then under South African colonial administration. For the first time there’ll be a change aimed at decolonising the Namibian public space, which has been brought about by an activist campaign,” Becker tweeted over the weekend.

The activist campaign called #ACurtFarewell solicited over 1 600 online signatures within three weeks.

“We consider this a significant milestone for cultural heritage management and a way to contextualise, preserve, and decolonise our city’s history,” the statement reads.

The management committee recommended that the council need to establish clear and transparent guidelines to create a policy framework.

“[This will] guide council in respect of the erection of future statues, removal or non-removal of statues that would ultimately stand up against scrutiny. This framework will pave the way for future consultative deliberations and heritage sites management within the municipal area,” the recommendations read.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News