Surviving on her own in the desert, 12-year-old Jahohora searches for her family while hiding from the German soldiers. It’s 1904, and Germany has claimed all of South West Africa.
Since the Herero would rather fight than surrender their ancestral homes, Gen. von Trotha has declared that they all should be forced into the Omaheke to die. Wasting away in the desert, Jahohora is about to give up her desperate struggle for life when she finds hope in a simple act of kindness from a Jewish doctor serving in the German army.
‘Mama Namibia is based on the compelling, true story of an innocent Herero girl whose life portrays the suffering, perseverance, and resilience of the Herero and Nama people as they faced their
most daunting test – a genocide that proved to be the training grounds for the Holocaust.‘
-Kuaima Riruako, Paramount Chief
Herero Traditional Authority
I start to eat a few berries. But then I remember that Tuaekua Ehi, Mama Uajoroka, and the others are just as hungry as I am. I will eat when they do. I pick and pick and pick until the sun is high in the sky. My hands and arms are stained with juice and the skin pouches I brought are filled with berries. I tie the pouches around my neck and begin the steep climb to the top of the mountain.
The thunder of boom sticks and screams echo against the mountain. I drop to the ground, clinging to the mountainside. I quickly look for a hiding place. I crawl to a long narrow crack between two rocks. I hide the pouches of berries in a pile of rocks on the ground. Then I squeeze into the narrow crack and wait. The rocks shade me, but it is still hot. I want water. I want to sit. I want to check on the others. But I stand still, hidden between the rocks.
I think I hear footsteps, then more thunder and screams. Some seem to come from below, others from above. They’re all around me. I hear rocks falling. And distant thuds, like something falling on the boulders. I wait and wait. I hear the birds and the buzzing of flies. But nothing else. I wait some more.
The sun is sinking behind the mountain when I step out of my hiding place. I stretch. My feet and legs hurt from standing still so long. I look around, but I don’t see anything. It’s too dark to find my way off the mountain. I must wait until morning. I sit close to my hiding place and eat my fill of berries. I think sadly about the others. Of Karikuta’s hungry cry. Of Tuaekua Ehi’s growing weakness. All I can do is hope Karemarama caught a rabbit. Hope they’re all right. Hope Mama and Tate will make it back up the mountain.
Hope. It’s all I have.
Before the darkness settles, I find a rock ledge. I pick up a stick and poke it under the ledge to check for snakes. Knowing it’s safe, I crawl under the ledge to sleep. I will need my rest. Tomorrow, I must run to Maharero like Tate said. I must find Uapiruka and Uncle Horere and all the others who joined Maharero. And I must do it alone.