“We are proud to present” A play about the Herero genocide

A play about Namibian history, a play presented in rehearsal form, who would have thought? Original is one way to describe it. We are proud to present is a play about a group of people rehearsing how they would play out the untold story of the Ovaherero genocide from  South West Africa, now known as Namibia. This proves to be difficult as there isn’t any documentation of the genocide to which they can refer. Creativity comes into play!

The play covers 1884 to 1915 when Namibia was colonized by the Germany. Eighty percent of the Ovaherero people were killed under German rule.  This is a play presented with a lot of humor, which can be hard to believe considering the gravity of the message.  It says a lot about the writer, Jackie Sibbies Drury’s talent.

Joycelene Prince & dr Ngodi Kamatuka

Joycelene Prince, Connectivity Director @ Woolly Mammoth and Dr Ngodi Kamatuka

On February 22nd 2014, the play started at Woolly Mammoth. Woolly Mammoth invited Dr Ngodi Kamatuka, President of the Association of the Ovaherero Genocide and the Namibian Community in the DMV area.  Dr Kamatuka gave a brief presentation to shed some light on the history.  He mentioned that the Ovaherero people are under reparation discussions with the Germans however, there hasn’t been much progress because the Germans want to dictate the reparation conditions instead of allowing the Namibians to do so themselves, seeing as they were the victims.  Another issue that seems to be highly spoken of is that there hasn’t been an official government apology received from the Germans even though there seems to be no denial of the genocide from them.  There was an emphasis on the importance of sharing this history with the rest of the world because unlike the Holocaust, many people have never heard of this genocide.

Woolly Mammoth was a full house. People shared both tears of laughter and tears of sadness.

Full house at Woolly Mammoth Theatre

The cast and audience getting ready for the show

 

By Lisa Netha for Southern African Connection

 

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