Journal Vol. 54/2006

Wissenschaftliche Beiträge über Namibia; Scientific contributes about Namibia
Henschel et al.
sofort lieferbar
26,50 € *
Journal Vol. 54/2006

english Reihe: Journal
Verlag: Namibia Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft
Windhoek, 2006
ISBN: 99916-40-67-3 (Namibia)
ISBN: (Deutschland)
Broschur, 17x24 cm, 139 Seiten, viele sw-Fotos, Abbildungen und Karten

english Series: Journal
Publisher: Namibia Scientific Society
Windhoek, 2006
ISBN: 99916-40-67-3 (Namibia)
Soft cover, 17x24 cm, 139 pages, numerous bw-photos, maps and Illustrations


Modelling reproductive strategies in social spiders Stegodyphus dumicola Pocock (Araneae: Eresidae)

A dietary comparison of two sympatric tortoises in the highland savanna biome from central Namibia

Checklist of the Flora and Vertebrates of Gobabeb

Trachypetrella Kirby (Orthoptera, Pamphagidae): Three species or one?

An officer, a scholar and a gentleman Notes on the military career of Judge Clemens Gutsche

Extract: An officer, a scholar and a gentleman Notes on the military career of Judge Clemens Gutsche


Clemens Gutsche was the first Judge of the Supreme Court in South-West Africa after the First World War.

Contemporaries only knew him as a judge and a person with a strong sense of social engagement.

Recently found personal documents of the judge reveal that he was not only a well-qualified legal professional and academic, but that shortly before he took up his post as Judge of the Supreme Court in Windhoek, he had also concluded a remarkable military career in the rank of a Colonel at the end of the First World War.

This contribution focuses on the Judges' military career and is complemented by some remarkable, hitherto unpublished photographs from his personal album.


Clemens Gutsche war der erste Oberrichter in Südwestafrika nach dem Ende des Ersten Weltkriegs. Zeitgenossen kannten ihn nur als Richter und als eine Person mit einem starken Sinn fur soziales Engagement.

Unlängst entdeckte persönliche Dokumente aus dem Nachlass des ehemaligen Oberrichters weisen daraufhin, dass er nicht nur ein hochqualifizierter praktizierender Jurist und Rechtsprofessor, sondern auch, dass er kurz vor dem Antritt als Oberrichter am Obergericht in Windhoek eine auBergewöhnliche Militärlaufbahn im Range eines Obersten (Colonel} zum Ende des Ersten Weltkriegs hin abgeschlossen hatte.

Dieser Beitrag befasst sich mit der Militärlaufbahn des Oberrichters und wird von einigen auBergewöhnlichen, bislang unpublizierten Photographien aus seinem persönlichen Photoalbum ergänzt.

Key words:

Bellevue Prisoner-of-War Camp (Simonstown), Cape Town, Cape Garrison Artillery, Clemens Gutsche, HMS Niobe, Supreme Court, Walvis Bay, Windhoek.


The nineteen-twenties in Windhoek were a period of stability, even moderate economic prosperity, and a breather after the takeover of the territory by the Union of South Africa during the First World War.

From the beginning of the year 1920, the administration under martial law that had been applicable since the German capitulation at Khorab on July 9, 1915 was replaced with a civil administration. Under the Treaty of Versailles, South-West Africa was to be administered by South Africa in terms of the mandate system as a C-Mandate.

An Administrator, a Secretary for South-West Africa and the civilian law courts, presided over by a Supreme Court Judge, headed the new civil administration. The new government was based in Windhoek. Gysbert Reitz Hofmeyr, Administrator from October 1, 1920 until March 31, 1926, succeeded Sir Edmund Howard Lacam Gorges, who had been the Military Administrator of the Territory from October 31, 1915 to September 30, 1920. Albertus Johannes Werth, who was Administrator from April 1926 to March 1933, in turn, succeeded Hofmeyr.1

In this context a man appeared on the scene in the post WWI-context in the former S.W.A., to whom this contribution is dedicated. "In anticipation of the establishment of a Superior Court at the commencement of the year 1919, Colonel Clemens Gutsche, C.B.E. B.A, LL.B.2 was appointed to a judgeship, and assumed duty in October 1919".3

Judge Clemens Gutsche was the Chief Justice for S.W.A. during the entire period of the nineteen-twenties. As such he was one of the most noted personalities in the Territory at that stage. Although his name is by now relatively unknown, it is not entirely forgotten. He is for instance mentioned in Christine Marais' book "Windhoek Our heritage - Ons Erfenis - Unser Erbe" in connection with the old Supreme Court.

A reference to his military career is, however omitted there in the short biography.4 He was the second president of the S.W.A' Scientific Society, which was founded in 1925, and which acted for many years as an intellectual centre for scientifically interested persons in Windhoek, in S.W.A. and even abroad. It exists up to date under the name of the "Namibia Scientific Society".

Antje Otto-Reiner, naturally, also mentions him in her contribution on the 75th anniversary of the Namibia Scientific Society.5 He is also referred to shortly in the second place in the "Gallery of the Presidents of the Namibia Scientific Society" in the Society's newsletter, unfortunately with a rather clumsy career description, which contains several factual errors.6

His portrait can likewise be found in the second place of the pictorial gallery of honour of the Namibia Scientific Society's former presidents. The portrait is a reproduction of the original stunning oil painting by W.H. Wilis from the period when Gutsche was a Judge in Grahamstown from 1930-1946, after his stint in Windhoek.

Except for his contributions in the legal field, which were generally appreciated and re-cognised as examples of sound jurisprudence, he was also always active in the social field. Apart from, as mentioned beforehand, being active as the S.W.A. Scientific Society's second president, he was also active as a patron of the sports, such as for instance as president of the United Rugby Football Club in Windhoek.

It is assumed that Clemens Kapuuo, head-man of the Herero who was born on March 16, 1923 and assassinated on March 27, 1978, was baptised by the name of Clemens in honour of Judge Clemens Gutsche. A street name in Eros - Gutsche Street - reminds of him to this day.

A rare set of circumstances played into the author's hands the personal documents of the former judge, who had died one year after his retirement in 1947 on the farm "Redland" near Knysna, where he was also buried.

Amongst his school certificates, his arts and legal degree certificates, personal correspondence and the like, there were also approximately 200 photographs, as well as Gutsche's deeds of commission as officer of the various ranks he held in the military forces of the Cape Colony, and after the founding of the Union in 1910/1912, in the Union Defence Force.7

These documents not only shed an interesting light on the personal background of the former judge, but also on his military career, which is but unknown. From a perusal of the documents left behind, and from some other sources it transpires that apart from his remarkable legal and academic career, the judge also had a distinguished military career in the structure of the defence systems of the Cape.

He climbed the military career-ladder from the rank of a second lieutenant in 1899 to the rank of a full colonel in 1918. When he retired from his military career in 1919, he took up, in a noteworthy career-shift, the position of a Supreme Court Judge in the then South-West Africa.

This contribution focuses mainly on the military career of Judge Clemens Gutsche. As member of the Cape Garrison Artillery (CGA), he was dispatched as a young junior officer on a short stint to Walvis Bay, for which the CGA was also militarily responsible. His photo album contains a number of unique photographs from that period, which will, except for a picture in connection with Gutsche's military career, be published in the 2007 edition of the Journal of the Namibia Scientific Society. [...]