Why reparations?

Two separate processes are currently at play with regards to the genocide issue.

10 September 2018 | International

“The governing parties of the Federal Republic . . . formally agreed that the need to address Germany’s colonial past should be included in their coalition agreement.” Michelle Muntefering, German minister of state,

Jemima Beukes – Germany must pay reparations for the 1904-08 Nama and Ovaherero genocide in order for Namibians to recover from imposed poverty, says Namibia’s special envoy on the genocide, Dr Zed Ngavirue.

The Ovaherero and Nama genocide case against the German government, which was lodged in New York, was postponed to 3 May 2019 at the German government’s request. Germany made their first appearance in the US federal court in January this year after it had rejected a summons since 2017.

Meanwhile, the Namibian government is negotiating with its German counterpart, appointing Ngavirue to head these talks, which have been lambasted by Nama and Herero groupings – the affected genocide communities.

Germany’s refusal to admit to genocide and persistence in talking about atrocities has thrown a spanner in negotiations about reparations.

According to Ngavirue, to date there has not been a written position adopted by the Bundestag.

The call for reparations from Germany for one of the biggest genocides of the 20th century, has been criticised for an extended period, and many believe that the current German development aid to Namibia is enough.

The German government’s support to Namibia has been described as overly generous and its government is on record as saying the biggest chunk of their development aid goes to Namibia.

Asked why reparations are such as big deal then, Ngavirue said it is obvious.

“Everybody knows that this country and people suffered damage as a result of the genocide. All we are interested in is the reconstruction of devastated communities. People have suffered cultural and property damage. This is a process of regaining economic improvement on various levels,” he said.

Facing colonial past

The German minister of state, Michelle Muntefering, last Friday said Germany is obligated to learn from its actions and that the time has come for change.

“This year, in 2018, is the first time that something entirely new was achieved in Germany. The governing parties of the Federal Republic, for the first time in the history of my country, formally agreed that the need to address Germany’s colonial past should be included in their coalition agreement.

“The need to face the colonial past head on has for the first time become part of our basic democratic consensus. This is a big and important step, even though it comes late. It is now time to close this gap in our culture of remembrance,” she said.

However, while German officials are talking about taking responsibility, the country is yet to tender a formal apology to Namibians and talks about reparations remain under wraps.

“The negotiations are ongoing. As you know, there has been a pause in the formal meetings and the formal position will be part of a formal agreement and that would be taken to the government and that would be accepted by our parliament as well. But we haven’t reached that stage yet,” Ngavirue said this week.

Local impact

During the genocide in colonial Namibia over 100 years ago, the Ovaherero and Nama people lost large tracts of land, properties and their cattle.

Even today, many descendants are without land living in sheer poverty while the majority of land is now in the hands of white Namibians, most of whom are of German descent.

Apart from economic ruin, hundreds of Nama and Ovaherero people were killed at will by German soldiers.

The skulls of these people were then shipped to Germany for scientific research and eventually landed in the homes of private collectors or army generals.

Since 2011, Namibia has driven an aggressive campaign to have these skulls and artefacts, including the Bible of the late Nama chief Hendrik Witbooi, return to home soil.

The third repatriation of Namibian remains from Germany took place last Friday, which included a San girl’s skeleton that was collected by colonialists between 1899 and 1900 from Grootfontein, as well as a second San girl’s skeleton and jawbone.

The skull of a Nama woman aged between 28 and 40 that was taken from Shark Island in 1905, was also among the repatriated remains, which were mainly of women.

Similar News

 

International recognition for Namibia's EIF

4 days ago - 21 October 2020 | International

The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) received a certificate of merit at the Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Awards – an honour bestowed on financial institutions...

Masisi arrives in Namibia

8 months ago - 13 February 2020 | International

President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana arrived in Windhoek this morning for a one-day working visit on invitation by President Hage Geingob to exchange views on...

Follow in Dr Helena’s footsteps

8 months ago - 30 January 2020 | International

The United Nations is calling for nominations for the 2020 Nelson Mandela Prize – an award which was won by Namibia’s own Dr Helena Ndume...

Accelerator Lab launched

1 year - 07 July 2019 | International

To increase the pace at which solutions for Sustainable Development are found, the United Nations ­Development Programme (UNDP) on Friday launched the Namibia ­Accelerator Lab...

Namibia’s Sibongile vlogging away

1 year - 07 July 2019 | International

Sibongile Tshabalala who was born in Katima Mulilo, has been selected as one of the vloggers discovering and reporting on EU-funded projects in the country...

The black hole and what it means for Namibia

1 year - 28 April 2019 | International

After astronomers managed to take a photo of a supermassive black hole and its shadow with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) – a worldwide network...

Labour experts seek solutions

2 years ago - 01 October 2018 | International

More than 30 delegates from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) gathered in Swakopmund for the employment and labour sector joint tripartite technical sub-committees meeting...

Chinese capture claims denounced

2 years ago - 10 September 2018 | International

Ogone Tlhage – Namibian president Hage Geingob has denounced claims that a recent investment summit held in Beijing, China, was an attempt to dupe African...

Living together in harmony

2 years ago - 24 May 2018 | International

Namibia recently joined the world in celebrating living together in peace and harmony to build a sustainable world.The first commemoration of International Day for Living...

Latest News

Making plans to mitigate disasters

13 hours ago | Events

The Namibia Red Cross joined government and the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day for Disaster Reduction, encouraging citizens and government to...

N$40 million for NWR

14 hours ago | Tourism

Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) received at N$40 million grant from government in the FY2020/21 Mid-Year Budget Review and Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement. The last time...

NIIHA trails this weekend

3 days ago - 22 October 2020 | Sports

The Namibia Inline Hockey Association (NIIHA) hosts national time trials for junior and senior men and women at the show grounds in Windhoek from 23...

Cheaper to ‘tjaila’

3 days ago - 22 October 2020 | Transport

Taxi fares will decrease to the normal rate effective from midnight tonight, thanks to the easing of Covid-19 travel restrictions.Speaking at the Presidential Covid-19 public...

Keeping cyclists’ wheels rolling

3 days ago - 22 October 2020 | Sports

The RMB Elite Cycling team received cycling gear as part of an overall sponsorship of N$230 000. RMB Namibia has been part of the after-school...

Repo rate remains unchanged

4 days ago - 21 October 2020 | Economics

The Bank of Namibia (BoN) announced that the repo rate would remain unchanged at 3.75%, governor Johannes !Gawaxab said at the Monetary Policy Announcement in...

International recognition for Namibia's EIF

4 days ago - 21 October 2020 | International

The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) received a certificate of merit at the Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Awards – an honour bestowed on financial institutions...

GIPF invests in home-grown asset...

4 days ago - 21 October 2020 | Economics

The Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) announced the introduction of its incubation assets management programme, which commenced in 2019.The programme aims to address the need...

Get your mortgage approved like...

4 days ago - 21 October 2020 | Opinion

Windhoek • Loide DavidAttempting to purchase a house without a plan in place can be a challenging situation. As a first-time homebuyer, you will need...

Load More