The Herero and Nama people have gone to Namibia’s high court, rejecting an apology made in 2021 after years of talks between Namibia and Germany, which they say falls short of atoning for the 1904 to 1908 genocide. The German empire unleashed a campaign of killing and torture after the tribes rejected colonial rule in 1904. An estimated 80% of all the Herero people and 50% of Nama were killed. They are now politically marginalised minorities in Namibia.
“We were not involved at any stage. The government set the agenda, it discussed what it discussed and never disclosed it until we saw a joint declaration last year,” said Prof Mutjinde Ktjiua, chief of the Herero.
Germany pledged of €1.1bn (£980m) in development projects over 30 years but Ktjiua said the tribes want direct reparations to address the poverty and marginalisation that resulted from the genocide.
“It is critical because we know without any doubt that we have in this country a government that is misappropriating resources. A government that has for all these years denied that Hereros and Namas were [subject to genocide] – now you trust them to manage this?” said Ktjiua.
Gaob Johannes Isaak, chair of the Nama Traditional Leaders Association, said reparations needed to address the loss of 80% of Nama ancestral land – much of it now occupied by farmers of German descent – as well as generational damage to livelihood and identity.
Henning Melber, president of the European Association of Development Institutes, said, “One of the most scandalous parts of the whole joint declaration for me, it’s not only the money, it’s that it says Germany will apologise to the Namibians and then it continues to say the Namibians accept their apology. Come on. Can it be more colonial as an agreement? They are not even given the opportunity to reject the apology. ”
Descendants of Namibia’s genocide victims call on Germany to ‘stop hiding’ | Global development | The Guardian
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