WINDHOEK – Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said yesterday that the German government ought to change its policy and recognise the mass killings of the Herero and Nama communities during imperial Germany’s colonial period of 1904-1908 as an act of genocide.
Hanse-Himarwa, who is leading a 74-member delegation to Berlin, Germany, said this during the handing over of 27 human remains of the Ovaherero/Ovambanderu and Nama that were seized from Namibia more than a century ago and shipped to Germany for pseudo-scientific racial purity and eugenic ‘research’.
The Namibian minister said she was fully aware that the 1904-1908 atrocities were not committed by the present generation of Germans but that country’s government ought to recognise the atrocity as genocide.
The Namibian government delegation received the skulls at a church service in the capital, Berlin yesterday. The delegation is expected back in Windhoek tomorrow.
The local media yesterday quoted Minister of State for International Cultural Policies in the German Foreign Ministry, Michelle Müntefering, an equal of a permanent secretary in Namibia, to have asked “for forgiveness from the bottom of my heart” as she handed over the remains to Namibia’s culture minister.
Speaking at the same occasion, Ovaherero Paramount Chief Advocate Vekuii Rukoro said the handover ceremony should have taken place not in a Berlin church, but a German government building.
The tribal Chief also accused the German government of taking too long to formally apologise for what is often called the first genocide of the 20th century.
“By trying not to acknowledge the past, the German government will continue to make serious mistakes as regards present and future policies,” said Rukoro.
Speaking at the same occasion, Nama Chief Johannes Isaack said:”May the remains of our ancestors finally go home to Namibia in peace. May they return to the dust from which they came. May justice be done and faith in humanity be restored.”
The German government announced in 2016 that it planned to issue an official apology for the atrocities committed by German imperial troops.
But up until today it remains locked in talks with the Namibian government on a joint declaration on the massacres.
2018-08-30 10:08:55 10 months ago