Germany has officially has recognized genocide against the Herero and Nama people in present-day Namibia during its colonial rule over a century ago
A brief note on the Herero(pastoral community) and Nama genocide
- It was the first genocide of the 20th century waged by the German Empire against the Herero (Ovaherero), the Nama, and the San in German South West Africa (now Namibia).
- It occurred between 1904 and 1908.
- In 1904 Herero people and Nama people rebelled against German colonial rule.
- In the same year, January 12, they massacred more than 100 German men in the area of Okahandja, though they spared women and children.
- In August, Germany defeated the Ovaherero in the Battle of Waterberg and drove them into the desert of Omaheke, where most of them died of dehydration.
- In October, the Nama people also rebelled against the Germans, only to suffer a similar fate.
- The Germans continued to rule the region till 1915, following which it fell under South Africa’s control for 75 years. Namibia finally gained independence in 1990.
- In 1985, the United Nations’ Whitaker Report classified the aftermath as an attempt to exterminate the Herero and Nama peoples of South West Africa, and therefore one of the earliest attempts at genocide in the 20th century.
- In 2004, the German government recognised and apologised for the events, but ruled out financial compensation for the victims’ descendants.
- In July 2015, the German government and the speaker of the Bundestag officially called the events a “genocide”
- Germany has promised financial support of over a billion euros to the Southern African nation.
- A declaration will be signed by Maas in early June, following which it will be ratified by the parliaments of both countries.
- President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is then expected to officially apologize for Germany’s crimes in front of the Namibian Parliament
Usage of the financial package of 1.1 billion euros
- This amount will be paid separately to existing aid programmes in the country over the next three decades.
- A majority of the total sum will go towards projects relating to land reform, rural infrastructure, water supply and professional training
- The descendants of Herero and Nama tribes are heavily involved in these developmental projects.