"The 1903 Kavango Uprising Against the German Imperial Government - a Forgotten Historical Episode in Namibian history
After it was clear that the Vakwangali were not going to budge to the missionaries' demands, they decided to move eastward to ask for permission from the Vambunza's Hompa Nampadi to settle in his territory. Catholic missionary reports put it that Hompa Nampadi welcomed them and allocated a plot to them but retracted his decision due to threats of war from Hompa Himarwa.
(See Beris, A.P.J (1996:206 ). Oral reports from both the Vambunza and the Vakwangali do not acknowledge this line of history but situate Hompa Nampadi's refusal to the brotherhood that existed between Hompa Himarwa and himself. It was then decided by the German authorities to punish Hompa Himarwa so far as this could be done "without breach of Portuguese boundaries".
In July 1903, Lieutenant Richard Volkmann, with a party of men and maxims (guns), drew up on the south of the Okavango and treated Hompa Himarwa's village on the northern bank (in Portuguese territory) to an exhibition of volleys and quick firing which lasted for a day.
It was reported that the Owambos (Vakwangali) returned fire but while their losses had been reported to be numerous (zahlreich), there were no German casualties. The Catholic missionaries actively participated in the shooting incident under the command of Lieutenant Richard Volkmann. Adrianus Beris (1996: 205) gave some insight that the German Schutztruppe were nearly encircled by Hompa Himarwa's men.
He wrote that while the shelling of Hompa Himarwa's palace was in progress, a number of his men crossed the river upstream and wanted to encircle Volkmann and his men. It is said that Hompa Himarwa was forewarned about the advancing German Schutztruppe and prepared by assembling 150 armed men at the other side of the river.
The German Schutztruppe then withdrew, and arrangements were made at Windhoek for another punitive expedition on a large scale to move against the Owambos (Kavangos), as soon as the rainy season passed.
According to Silvester, J & Gewald J-B (2003:231), the outbreak of the Herero Uprising in January 1904 and the subsequent general uprising of the Namas in the south, distracted attention so effectively that the Owambo (Kavango) were left in peace and in the enjoyment of their tribal freedom. Beris, A.P.J (1996:207) writes that Hompa Himarwa's resistant attitude and actions in 1903 led to the Catholic missionaries to declare him an enemy of the Germany imperial government. The German-Vakwangali skirmish of July 16, 1903 is well-known among the Vakwangali and the Vambunza as Yita yaKatautau (War of Katautau)."
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1903 Kavango Uprising
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