Day 18: The Scourge of the Kaiserbird

1909 contract with Simon Kooper
A copy of the contract between Simon Koper and the British commissioner executed at the behest of the German colonial government in German SWA. The Germans did not want to know that it was they who paid the pension.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Simon Koper story is the fact that he survived the great battle at the Lost Battlefield near Seatsub but the leader of the Germans, Captain von Erckert was killed. Even though the Germans won the battle they suffered a moral defeat which hovers above them to this day. But more than that they were so annoyed by the great little man, Simon Koper, leader of the KharaKhoen Nama tribe, that they secretly offered him a pension on condition that he would never return to German South West Africa, Namibia today. The British colonial governementpaid the epnsion on behalf of Germany who reimbursed them.

Even though Simon Koper died on 31 January 1913 Germany continued to honour the contract by paying the pension for the benefit of his descendants until Bechuanaland gained independence in 1968 and became Botswana.

Above is a copy of the contract. Today it is in the hands of Elias le Riche, previous park warden of the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park.

I trust that once we find the battlefield and the graves Germany will be interested in renewing the terms of that contract, at least in a spiritual sense.

The Scourge of the Kaiserbird,” originally published in Afrikaans as “Die Keiservoël Oor Namaland,” is available from all leading bookstores in Namibia, through Namibian Book Market, and in South Africa from Upper Case, formerly Graffiti, in Menlyn Maine. Copies can also be ordered from  It is available on Kindle and worldwide in paperback from Amazon. Visit my Amazon author’s site by clicking on where you can also place orders. 

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