Von Francois statue to fall

Tanja Bause
Today, the statue of Kurt von Francois is being removed from where it stands in front of the Windhoek municipality.
This move comes after nine councillors voted in favour of the removal during a council meeting on 27 October, with five against it.
Von Francois was not only the founder of modern Windhoek in 1890, but also the founder of Swakopmund in 1892. According to a local historian, the then residents of Windhoek paid for the statue and it was unveiled on 10 October 1965.
“The statue was paid for and erected by the residents; it has nothing to do with any government. It was done by the people in memory of the founder of the city; a city that keeps growing. Removing it will once change the historical landscape of Windhoek forever. It doesn't make much sense. It is being removed and there are no plans for what will be erected in its place.”
A petition for the removal of the statue was started in 2020 due to Von Francois' involvement in the attack in 1893 at Hornkrans. “The man was a soldier and like any other soldier in any war, country or army, he carried out orders. Yet another reason for the statue being erected in the first place. To show that he was not only a murderer, but also a founder of successful cities that flourished and still do. Now all we see is a white man and he has to go.”
Von Francois married the Damara princess Amalia !Gwaxas and together they had a daughter, Josephine. His great-great-grandson, Ruprecht van Francois and who lives in Windhoek, is not going to watch the statue being removed today.
“The contempt for other people and other races is astounding. That people who don't know his background can just as easily decide to remove him. My great-grandfather was a Huguenot and not a German by descent. He was a surveyor and cartographer who recorded the first maps of Namibia. It was his passion. He was not a murderer, but that is all you see. He built the Alte Feste - which was the beginning of Windhoek. The same fort where the Damaras and Namas sought refuge from the Herero.”
He also said that grandma Josephine had four children of which the two daughters married Oshiwambo men. “My father was her eldest son and my mother was of German Jewish descent. When I look at all my family now, we are truly Namibian. We are a mixture of races and you want to tear down my great-grandfather's statue just because he was not an original inhabitant of the land? Who arrived in the country like all the other races? Right after independence, it was only reconciliation-reconciliation at every turn. What happened to that now? Did we all become enemies overnight?”
The statue will be moved today to the Windhoek Museum where it will be stored.
The date of the re-erection of the statue will be announced next year. – [email protected]