German Hostility Triggers Demonstrations in Namibia

Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and the Nama people last Friday marched to the German embassy in Windhoek to express their dismay over the hostile reception given to the Namibian delegation that went toGermany to retrieve the skulls of the Namibian victims of the German colonial genocide.

The 20 skulls, belonging to victims of the first genocide of the 20th century were taken to Germany, purportedly for “scientific research” to determine whether whites had more brainpower than blacks.

The protesters said they were dismayed, shocked and saddened by what they termed demeaning behaviour and reception shown to the official Namibian Government delegation sent to Germany to collect and accompany the skulls back home.

The protesters, numbering 300, attracted a crowd of onlookers, as they marched to the German embassy while chanting traditional songs.

They also carried placards demanding reparation and expressing their unhappiness.

“The German Government must pay homage to our ancestors, “read one of the placards.

Others read: “Those are human remains, not animal skulls”; “Where are the bodies of these skulls, you Germans”; “Stop excuses over floodgates for repatriation”, and “Our grannies were raped by Germans.”

Lazarus Kairabeb, the secretary general of the Nama Traditional Leaders Association, read out a petition which was handed over to the German embassy. The petition noted that the Namibian delegation, led by a Cabinet minister and accompanied by senior traditional leaders, was treated in a demeaning, degrading and disrespectful manner in that the delegation was received by a junior German government official.

“To add insult to injury, the German government, through a professor, continues to deny the heinous crimes against humanity through which they massacred our people, dismembered their bodies and took their heads as trophies and as items for their stupid racialist imperialist experiments,” Kairabeb read.

The petition further accused the Germans of continuing to withhold the names of those they dismembered and the burial sites of their headless bodies. Consequently, even after more than 100 years the human remains would not be reunited with their bodies nor would they get dignified funerals befitting their hero and heroine status.

“The Germans must be ashamed today to know how low their forefathers could stoop in their shameless ambitions to want to be of a so-called superior human race. The current behavior of the federal German government is a serious setback to the spirit of national reconciliation prevailing in Namibia,” the petition added.

The group is demanding the German government to treat the Namibian government as equal partners and Namibian citizens as equal members of the human race in resolving the repatriation of “what is rightfully ours”.

Receiving the petition, Deputy German Ambassador, Andre Scholz, said he would take note of the petition’s content and that it would be transmitted to that country’s foreign minister.

Meanwhile, the handing over of skulls was on Friday done in the presence of the German Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, in Germany. The official delegation is expected back in Namibia with the skulls tomorrow.