XANAXAS, Botswana – The last group of Namibians who have been living in Botswana since the liberation struggle began years ago, could soon be returning home.
Both governments have already facilitated the return of hundreds of Namibians over the years since 1992. These citizens have since been resettled at Gam and Eiseb in Namibia’s Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions. The repatriation process, which has been on a voluntary basis, had however slowed down over the last few years, as some of the people (Namibians living in Botswana) apparently became reluctant to venture into the unknown. However, the repatriation process has now resumed, according to John-Abraham Handura, a 74-year-old Namibian citizen who has lived in Botswana since coming here as a young man.
Handura told Nampa in a recent interview at Xanaxas that the Botswana government has once again extended an open invitation to all Namibians here who would want to return to the country of their birth, to register with the relevant authorities. The elderly Handura, a resident of Omakunda in Botswana’s Charleshill District, is among those who have been chosen to lead the process by spreading the word about the upcoming mass repatriation.
“Yes, I can confirm that such a process has been initiated and will soon be set in motion. People who want to return to Namibia will have to indicate their willingness by submitting their names. I am happy that the process is finally getting into motion – it is long overdue,” he said. It is not clear at this stage when the process will be set in motion, but Namibians like Handura in Botswana, are excited about the prospect of going back to their country of origin.
“We will never be full citizens of Botswana. We will never be able to access all the benefits that Botswana citizens enjoy. We came here because of war, we are Namibians and deserve to go back home. It is really a relief that the process will be continued,” said Handura.