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

 

Accelerator Lab launched

4 months ago - 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

4 months ago - 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

6 months ago - 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

1 year - 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

1 year - 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

1 year - 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

Suzy launches her own site

9 hours ago | Art and Entertainment

Well-known Namibian saxophonist Suzy Eises launched her own website at a swanky event in the capital last night (13 November). Through the website, her fans...

City changes 13 street names

10 hours ago | Local News

Yolanda NelThe City of Windhoek (CoW) held a mass street renaming ceremony on Wednesday, to honour some of the fallen sons and daughters of the...

Windhoekers continue to waste water

12 hours ago | Disasters

The City of Windhoek (CoW) once again warned residents that the continuous exceeding of weekly water targets could lead to water rationing.According to the City’s...

Nie net sommer ‘airbrushing’ nie

12 hours ago | People

Yolanda NelEzville Husselman van Rehoboth kom uit ’n kunstige familie en nou het sy stokperdjie ’n volwaardige besigheid geword.Ezville is op Rehoboth bekend vir sy...

Die broodkar is hier

1 day - 13 November 2019 | Art and Entertainment

Yolanda Nel Hierdie plek wat kos voorsien is soos die roomyskar met sy irriteerde deuntjie toe ons kinders was,maar beter, want daar is ’n verskeidenheid...

An outburst of music and...

1 day - 13 November 2019 | Art and Entertainment

Equipped Dancing Academy hosts a show titled ‘Outburst Music and Dancing’ in the capital on 22 November.The academy’s founder and principal, Stanley Mareka, said at...

Verfhale sonder huiwer

1 day - 13 November 2019 | Art and Entertainment

Yolanda Nel Die bekende keramiekkunstenaar Sarie Maritz is hard aan die werk om op 22 November haar nuwe skeppingste vertoon. Nie net is haar handewerk...

Is a franchise the right...

1 day - 13 November 2019 | Business

Mbo LuvindaoNamibia’s Small Medium Enterprise (SME) sector is reported to contribute more than 10% to the gross domestic product (GDP) and 20% to employment creation....

Apples in the Kalahari?

1 day - 13 November 2019 | Agriculture

On Monday (18 November), Salomon Kalondo hosts a public talk at the Scientific Society about how Namibian farming will have to change to remain viable....

Load More