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Namibian Leader Addresses Dutch Reformed Church Congregation

On Sunday, Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba asked white farmers - who own multiple farms - to give one to landless blacks. He said when it comes to the issue of land reform, he prefers "evolution" to "revolution". Four thousand white farmers - out of a population of nearly two million people - own most of the country’s arable land.

The Nambian leader made his remarks before a congregation of the Dutch Reformed Church, which had participated in apartheid, or racial segregation. Mr. Pohamba is the first president since independence 15 years ago to address the church -- whose membership is predominantly Afrikaaner. His appearance at was seen as a gesture of reconciliation. News reports say that church reverends in turn gave him a special Bible and an antique ostrich egg.

Dr. Ben Fuller is a senior researcher with the namibia economic policy research unit, or NEPRU, in Windhoek, Namibia. He talked to Voice of America reporter William Eagle about the importance of the President’s appearance before the Dutch Reformed Church congregation – and about the progress of land reform in Namibia.