OKAHANDJA: The Technical Committee of the OvaHerero/OvaMbanderu Council for Dialogue on the 1904 Genocide (OCD-1904) has reiterated their demands for reparations from the German Government against widespread atrocities committed by German colonial troops in Namibia.
Esther Utjiua Muinjangue, a member of the OCD-1904, used the just-ended 89th Red Flag Day at Okahandja over the past weekend to draw attention to the unresolved OvaHerero/OvaMbanderu people’s demands for reparations from the German Government.
“We (OvaHerero/ OvaMbanderu people) will never rest as long as the German Government continues to ignore demands for reparations and restorative justice.
The demands for reparations are our legitimate demands, and we will continue with such demands until such a time that the authorities in Germany understand these genuine demands of ours”, Muinjangu stressed on Sunday.
She told the thousands of people who attended the Red Flag Day event that members of the OCD-1904 will further demand a dialogue with the present German Government to obtain restorative justice.
“The German Government should not try to sweep the reparation issue and the call for dialogue between OvaHerero, OvaMbanderu and Nama people and Germany under the carpet,” charged Muinjangue.
According to her, the OCD-1904 is demanding reparations from the German Government in order to close “this dark chapter of our history in the service of a sustained and everlasting reconciliation that is imperative for both Germans and Namibians to live side by side in peace and prosperity”.
However, several Namibians and historians are of the opinion that the issue of genocide and reparations’ demands will continue to haunt the Germans for decades to come if this matter is not attended to, and resolved amicably to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
The German Government insists that it will not pay any reparations to the OvaHerero, OvaMbanderu and Nama tribes, who had suffered the genocide that took place between 1904 and 1907 in Namibia.
It has so far refused to pay reparations – worth millions of Euros since Namibia obtained its political independence in 1990 – to the these Namibian tribes, arguing that it has been providing development and financial assistance to Namibia.
The OvaHerero and Nama genocide is considered to have been the first genocide of the 20th century.
It took place between 1904 and 1907 in present-day Namibia during the scramble for Africa by the European colonial powers.
On 12 January 1904, the Herero people, led by Samuel Maharero, rebelled against German colonial rule in Namibia.
German General Lothar von Trotha then defeated the OvaHerero in the battle of Waterberg and drove them deep into the desert of Omaheke, where most of them died of thirst.
The Nama people of southern Namibia under Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi also rebelled against the German colonial troops, only to suffer a similar fate as the OvaHerero.
Between 24 000 to 100 000 OvaHerero and 10 000 Namas died during the genocide.
This genocide was characterised by widespread death by starvation and thirst, because the Hereros who had fled the violence were prevented from returning from the Namib Desert.
It is further claimed that the German colonial troops had also systematically poisoned desert wells and water holes, causing more deaths of people as a result.