Henties Mayor, CEO support gallows removal
By Confidente Reporter
HENTIES Bay Mayor Herman Honeb and acting Chief Executive Officer Mahne Kruger are in full support of the removal of the infamous gallows in the coastal town, a structure that some community members feel represent a painful time for black people.
The two leaders of the council expressed their support in a meeting that took place on Wednesday this week, between them and one of the organisers of the #TheGallowsMustFall movement, Mweneni Nashilongo stating that although they do not have the absolute power to give a green light to have the structure removed, they will put it forward to council for a vote.
According to the mayor, their willingness to have the gallows removed is subject to following legal procedures and due diligence required in having such a structure removed from a public place.
The meeting took place at the municipality following a petition signed by more than 2 700 calling on the municipality to have the structure removed.
Speaking to Confidente, Honeb stated that he believes that any peace-loving Namibian will be in support of the removal of the gallows that still have a noose hanging which, to some Namibians, represents white supremacy and serves as a reminder of a painful time when black Namibians were hanged in colonial times.
“This is a reminder of when humans where hanged… it is not an issue that should be entertained. I am of an opinion that it represents a bad time of our history and having it there is a bad image for the nation… it paints a bad scene and as a peace promoter, I do not want it there… It is offensive to the public. If it is something of historical value, then it should be taken away from obvious visibility and placed in a museum or reserved places where it can be studied,” the mayor said.
He added that Henties Bay was already known for racism and for having people who did not encourage other races especially black people to get involved in marine economic activities; and having such a structure paints an ugly reminder.
“Society still has a circle of people who think this way and that scene needs to be discouraged. I believe all peace-loving will support the removal as it reminds people of a time when black people were hanged. We generally should not be encouraging this image. I see some people saying it was used to warn people to keep the beach clean but that shouldn’t be a justification when you look at what it generally stands for. We also cannot use it to promote visits or tourism,” Honeb said.
Another organiser, who also started the conversation on social media Mavis Braga-Elias told Confidente that she came across the gallows about two weeks ago when she visited the town.
“When I saw the gallows, I was bewildered by its existence… I took its picture and shared it on twitter just to ask for public opinion because I was baffled to see it there. Google described it as non-offensive and Afrikaans humour but I felt it shouldn’t be in a public space.
“Why a lynching pole to warn visitors to keep the beach clean? Especially during a time when skin colour matters and such gallows were used to hang black people? So I just wanted other opinions and thoughts on the issue. I got overwhelming support this weekend prompting us to start a petition which signed by about over 2700 people to-date,” she said.
She noted that while she appreciates the response by the mayor and the acting CEO, their petition stipulates a demand for a response on whether the gallows will be removed or not in two weeks, which lapses on June 17 2020.
“That demand remains unchanged, and should it not be satisfied, we will proceed to remove the lynching pole ourselves,” she stated.