Disappointed by the decision of the German government to exclude their people while it negotiated a “compensation” for the 20th century genocide it committed against Namibians, the people of Ovaherero(also known as Herero) and Nama have rejected reconciliation plans.
Germany last week had proposed the sum of $1.3bn in infrastructural projects as a form of reconciliation for the genocide it committed between 1904 and 1908 in the Southern African nation.
The people of Herero who were the most hit in the colonialism-driven genocide said it was disrespectful for Germany to exclude them in negotiations and said they need to have their dignity restored back. The Namibians added that the EU giant may not achieve its wanted reconciliation if the plan is to exclude the most concerned people.
More than half of the the total population of Herero people, believed to be more than 65,000 of the 80,000 inhabitants of the region were killed by the German forces after they rebelled against colonialism. At least 10,000 people were also gruesomely killed in Nama’s population of 20,000.
After years of denial of the genocide and failure to admit its wrongdoing, Germany accepted and sought forgiveness while it pledged projects that will span a period of 30 years in the country.
A joint declaration for Nama and Herero lacked the use of “reparation” for the Namibians, a step that has been outrightly flagged by the descendants of the concerned people.
Laidlaw Periganda, Chairman of the Namibian Genocide Association said they can’t trust the honesty of the German government as they failed to include them in negotiations for projects said to be for their good.
He said many Namibians still live in poverty as they never recovered from the devastation of the genocide.
Periganda said “We have lost our ancestral land. A lot of us, of our community, live in poverty today. Some of us live in shacks and have to go without eating for a week. A lot of us inherited transgenerational trauma.”
The people of Ovaherero and Nama have asked the Germans to pay directly to the people in the communities if they truly are for reparation, as they also asked Germany to admit to its genocidal acts according to the dictates of international laws.
Germany’s attempt has been described as a “Public Relations coup” and an act of tokenism which objectifies the Herero and Nama people and the role of the Namibian government has been tagged an act of betrayal.