The bid by Namibian communities to extract financial reparation from Germany over the mass killing of Namas and the Ovaherero in the 1900s has, perhaps indirectly, received backing from a group of German researchers, intellectuals and academics who petitioned their government over the matter.
The petition, titled Genocide is Genocide, asks Germany to officially recognise the genocide –
which the Nama and Ovaherero leaders hope will pave the way for Germany to financially compensate the descendants of the victims.
The petition urges Germany to recognise its own “historical responsibility” for the genocide, saying descendants of African victims too deserve closure.
The Ovaherero chief Advocate Vekuii Rukoro, and his Nama counterpart Dawid Fredericks, welcomed the petition saying it was belated but welcome in the quest for justice.
“The issue of the genocide of the Ovaherero and Nama people has been very much in the mouths of so many people and has been the kicking ball between the German and Namibian governments but without any meaningful results, as both in our view have never given it the priority status it deserves,” the two chiefs said in a statement read out by Rukoro yesterday.
The two leaders said the petition had added a new dimension to the genocide issue. “Yes we say new dimensions because just by looking at the titles of names [of petitioners], they are not collected from the streets of the Federal Republic of Germany.”
“We demand the German president, the German parliament and the German government officially recognise the genocide against the Ovaherero and Nama people - an action which is long overdue.
To formally ask descendants of the victims of genocide for forgiveness and to declare Germany’s unconditional willingness to participate in an open dialogue with the descendants of the victims, as well as the Namibian government,” reads the petition in part.
Briefly deviating from the written speech, Rukoro said if Germany does not respond to the demands by the two tribes by October 2 this year, a fresh bold approach would be mapped out.
“Come hell or high water, no one will detract us from the case. Germany, you have until 2nd October to heed the call of your citizens. They are trying to do the right thing . Playing ostrich politics will not work anymore. The Nama and Herero people are saying enough is enough.”
Speaking to New Era separately, Chief Fredericks said: “I cannot fight the genocide battle myself, therefore we as the chiefs of the Nama and Ovaherero clans came together to collectively demand answers from the German government. It is not only extermination but it was mass killing.”
To people allegedly attempting to belittle the importance of the genocide reparation issue, an irate Rukoro hit back: “You can’t bullsh*t me. I am a nephew of Maharero, so if you want a fight you will get a fight.”
The Ovaherero and Nama communities were massacred after standing up against violent exploitation by colonial German occupants who came to Namibia to mostly loot the country’s riches.
New Era Reporter
2015-06-18 10:05:18 | 4 years ago