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Basters demand genocide reparation

2021-11-11  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Basters demand genocide reparation
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United People’s Movement (UPM) parliamentarian Jan van Wyk is demanding that government include the Baster community in ongoing genocide reparation negotiations with the German government, saying they also suffered at the hands of the European colonisers. 

He made this plea in parliament on Tuesday while contributing to the 1904-1908 genocide debate. 

Earlier this year, Germany officially acknowledged the atrocities, which saw an estimated 80 000 Ovaherero and Namas massacred at the turn of the 20th century. 

The two governments have since reached an agreement, which will see the European nation paying about N$18 billion as reparation over 30 years. Affected communities have rejected the amount, saying it is not enough.

Van Wyk said the Baster community of Rehoboth, the San and Damaras also suffered the same fate between 1896 and 1915.

“I was heavily criticized by members of my community for not informing this August house about the untold stories of suffering and bloodshed caused by the German regime against the Rehoboth Basters,” he said.

Van Wyk said the conflict between the Basters and the German occupational forces started as early as 1895 due to land disputes which led to several Basters being killed by German soldiers.

Sharing a short story as to what transpired, Van Wyk said on 22 April 1915 Germany officially declared war against the Basters, attacking them at several sites, including Heuras where several people were killed and over 3 000 cattle and small livestock shot dead. 

He added that the Germans did not only kill Basters and their livestock, but also confiscated their land resulting in, what he termed, “economic genocide”.

Van Wyk then stressed that without the leadership of affected communities involved, there is no assurance that all affected communities will benefit from an acceptable deal.

“I would like to make it clear that the leaders of affected communities be consulted in order to identify “focus priority areas” that would benefit their communities.” 

“Today the descendants of the German colonial forces live wealthy lives - lives build on the resources of Namibia, whilst some descendants of victims of German atrocities live in utmost poverty. Trillions of dollars will not compensate for the lives lost, neither will it bring back the death,” he said.

- ktjitemisa@nepc.com.na


2021-11-11  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

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