Germany’s Unfinished Business

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KAE ON FRIDAY Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro NO matter how much the German diplomatic envoy to Windhoek, and by extension the German Federal Government, would like to run, shuffle and push, huff and puff, play hide and seek and steer away from dealing directly with the people who bore the brunt of the colonial brutalities of the predecessor, the reality is that it still has direct unfinished business with the directly-affected communities. This will continue to haunt the German government and one German envoy to Windhoek after another if the groundswell opinion for it to deal with the affected communities is anything to go by. The great !Ama community last weekend commemorated the centenary since the beheading of the commander of their forces, Captain Cornelius Frederick. The message could not have been louder: “Our compatriots, the Herero people, who also died in huge masses at the hands of German Imperial forces, are demanding compensation. The Nama of the south have been quiet for so long on this subject, but the time has come that we should also make our voices heard,” reads a passage from the !Ama Chief David Frederick loud and clear. I did not notice the German Ambassador to Windhoek at the beginning of the commemoration on Friday when Chief Frederick sent this SOS. However, since he was there on Saturday, I am sure the message must have eventually reached him somehow. And if it did not, now that he may be reading this column it is incumbent upon him to follow it up. Not only that, but it is needless to remind him to ensure that it reaches the ears of those it has been intended for, namely, the German Federal Government. While he may not have been there on Friday to receive this message in person, leader after leader of the affected communities echoed the same message in the presence of His Excellency the German Ambassador to Namibia. This is not the first time that leaders of communities bring the message home. Since the return of the remains of erstwhile Ovaherero Paramount Chief, Samuel Maharero, from Botswana to Namibia for reburial at Okahandja in 1924, Ovaherero have been commemorating their battles against German Imperial Forces that eventually led to the decisive Battle of Ohamakari and the issue of an Extermination Order against them on 2nd October 1904. These commemorations have seen the Ovaherero reliving this history and highlighting the wrongs committed against them. Likewise the Ovambanderu have been commemorating the execution of their leader Chief Kahimemua Nguvauva. The Baster community commemorates Sam Khubis, the Vaalgras community their return to their motherland. The Witboois, Bondelswarts and other southern traditional communities all have their “national” days. The message that has been resonating from the remembrance of these days is loud and clear. Last year, the Namibian National Assembly passed a resolution. And for the benefit of the doubt of the German envoy and his government, I shall repeat its essence: “This assembly should demand for reparation from the German Government as well as those private companies who have benefited from the demise of the Namibian people.” The Namibian communities have already spoken and continue to speak. Namibian lawmakers have unanimously spoken. One wonders who else

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