Namibia

Names, dates, statistics, records, photographs – Namibia-based historian, Casper W. Erichsen, explains some of the factual evidence of the multiple atrocities that were part of the genocide in Namibia.

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Refuting in detail the arguments proffered by Germany on the questions of apology and compensation for the genocide of the Herero and the Nama, Dr Kwame Opoku notes that the Namibia-Germany case is being keenly observed by other African peoples and states with unresolved issues relating to the colonial era.

Former Namibian Ambassador to Germany, Prof. Peter H. Katjavivi, who was instrumental in getting the repatriation process with Charité started, calls upon both Namibians and Germans to confront the past honestly as part of the process of recovering human dignity and thereby healing of the wounds of the past. This process, he writes, is in the interest of both nations.

The repatriation of human remains more than a century after they were taken to Germany from Namibia has evoked painful memories of colonial wars in which primary African resistance was crushed, and genocide perpetrated (1904–08) in what was then the colony of German South West Africa. This contribution situates the current issues and practices of memory politics between Namibia and Germany within their historical context.

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On 22 March 2012, the German parliament will debate a motion to acknowledge its brutal 1904-08 genocide of the Nama and Herero peoples. Germany’s refusal thus far, and its less than even ‘diplomatic’ treatment in 2011 of the Namibian delegation at the first-ever return of the mortal remains of genocide victims, demands a reassessment of suppressed colonial histories and racism.

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