NEWS

Namibia Will Seek $30 Billion From Germany For Genocide Reparations

But the Herero and Nama groups of people aren't enamoured by this move, as it is seen as a 'coffer-filling' tactic.

20/03/2017 15:11 SAST | Updated 20/03/2017 15:18 SAST
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Journalists photograph two of 20 skulls to be taken possession of by a delegation from Namibia at a ceremony at Charite hospital on September 30, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. The skulls are from Herero and Nama tribespeople taken by German colonial forces between 1904 and 1908, when the Germans violently suppressed an uprising in what was then German Southwest Africa, which is today's Namibia, and in the process killed tens of thousands of Herero and Nama. German scientists at the time took the skulls back to Berlin to demonstrate the racial superiority of Europeans over black Africans. Many Namibians demand a formal apology from the German government.

The genocide of the Herero and Nama people in Namibia is often called the first of the 20th century. It is also perhaps the least well-known. Following a revolt led by Samuel Maharero and Hendrik Witbooi, German troops exterminated 85 percent of the Herero people, and several thousand Nama between 1904 and 1907.

In 2004 and 2015, the German government acknowledged that a genocide had taken place in its former colony, but refused even to consider reparations. Since then, descendants of the Herero and Nama victims have filed a lawsuit in New York. What apparently spurred this move was a decision by the German government to enter into negotiations with the Namibian government without including them in the process.

The Namibian government's $30 billion (R381 billion) lawsuit — or plans to launch one — are separate to the existing suit.

"The Namibian government has always steered clear of demanding reparations, but has now changed its stance. Senior sources said the government wants the group suing the German government in the USA to join them in the legal battle to force Germany to pay for the sins of their ancestors," The Namibian reported.

However, the paper also reports that a spokesperson of paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro of the Ovaherero Genocide Foundation (OGF) denounced the new lawsuit as "an attempt from government to bail itself out."