The Rehoboth Basters
live in a 14 thousand square kilometers area in the center of Namibia. From 1870 until 1990, this area was named “Rehoboth” and had an autonomous statute. Currently, it is divided into two Namibian administrative provinces, Hardap
. The climate is hot and dry.
The Rehoboth Basters
are the descendents of the European colonists and the South African indigenous people, the Khoi. They then decided to migrate toward Southeast Africa. There they were able to buy a large extension of land from the Swartboois, with the consent of the governors.
Then they developed their own political system, which was used for more than 130 years and guaranteed these People the right to self-determination all through the years of the colonial periods and was recognised by the German Empire and the Government of the South African Union.
During the German colonial period, the Treaty of Protection and Friendship was between the German Kaiser and the Rehoboth Basters, in which the rights and freedom of the Basters were recognised. The Government of the South African Union followed the Empire in 1915 and, from that date, the Military administration has dealt with denying the Basters’ right to self-determination, even though General Botha was one of the strongest defenders of the Basters’ rights.
Ten, during the Twenties, South Africa began colonizing the country. International pressure on South Africa increased in the following years, obliging the government to concede some of the Rehoboth Basters’ demands. On July 2, 1979, the Basters received the possibility of forming their own government, based on their Paternal Laws, by means of Act 56 of the South African Parliament. The Rehoboth Basters developed and prospered on all levels from 1979 until 1989; without a doubt, the situation changed completely when the Swapo Government assumed control.
All lands belonging to the Basters Community were confiscated. Those goods were registered in the name of the Captain and the Council on the behalf of the Rehoboth Basters Community. The Namibian Constitution stipulates that in these cases an indemnity must be paid; however, in this case, nothing arrived for the Rehoboth Basters.
The Rehoboth Basters were divided into two parts that were added to two large regions, Khomas and Hardap. This delimitation impeded the Basters from having their own representatives in Parliament and dealt with further debilitating these People’s fight to recover their autonomy.
One of the most important organisations for the Rehoboth Basters is the Captains’ Council which has been, traditionally, the community’s leader. The Council is comprised by the Captain, who is elected by the Rehoboth Basters People, and three members of the Council.
Rehoboth Basters Facts:
Status: Indigenous People
Population: Approximately 35 thousand
Areas: Rehoboth, Hardap ad Khomas Provinces (approximately 14,000 km2)
Languages: Afrikaans and English