On 23rd of August 1850, the
“BLOODBATH OF OKAHANDJA” took place between the Nama and Herero speaking people,
today the site where this historic battle took place in known as “ Moordkoppie”
and is situated behind the town's school next to the Windhoek - Karibib main
road. Jonker Afrikaner moved to Okahandja in 1854, where he later died. Chief
Tjamuaha also died in the same year and advised his son, Maherero that he should
stand up against the Nama-speaking people and overpower them, this was to be the
beginning of a seven year war. True to his great leadership, Chief Maherero,
conquered the Nama people and they in turn turned to the Germans for protection.
On the 12th of January 1904, the Herero speaking people rebelled against the German occupation, but were chased off into the Kaiser kop area, East of Okahandja.
In 1904, Samuel Maharero defied the Germans and led his people into battle. He called for a united resistance of all South West African communities against the Germans. Despite having an army of only 7,000 warriors, the Herero were able to use the element of surprise to score key victories early in the fighting, resulting in them regaining control of much of central South West Africa.
However, the tide of battle soon shifted as Germany flexed its military might, fortifying the region with seasoned, experienced soldiers. The arrival of more German colonial troops resulted in the infamous 'Extermination Order' during which 75% of the Herero population perished and the survivors were scattered all over the country.
The two Herero Chiefs, Kahimunua and Nikodemus, were shot by the Germans in Gobabis and were buried at the Bantu Kirche, off Martin Nieb street, Okahandja.
Every year towards the end of August , on what is now called Maherero Day, thousand of Herero's come to Okahandja to pay tribute to their fallen heroes.
They make a grand procession of brightly coloured traditional dresses, military outfits and prancing horses.
They proceed along a route which starts at the grave sites and moves on to a site on the other side of the main Windhoek road, where a great tribal banquet and celebration is held.
The modern day Ovaherero still follows its cultural values. Traditionally, as they have gathered in Okahandja for many years.
Related: Herero holocaust
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