Calls for Germany to recognise the genocide committed against the Ovaherero and Namas yesterday received a boost when a coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civic organisations handed a historic petition to German president Joachim Gauck in Berlin.
The Namibian genocide was a campaign of racial extermination and collective punishment that the imperial German army undertook against the Ovaherero and Nama.
It is considered to have been the first genocide of the 20th century and took place between 1904 and 1907 in the then South West Africa – modern-day Namibia.
The NGOs were joined by a delegation including Ovaherero Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro, Chairperson of the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu Genocide Foundation,Utjiua Muinjangue, Chairperson of the Nama Technical
Committee on Genocide and Swapo Party Member of Parliament, Ida Hoffmann, and Daniel Fredericks. They travelled to Germany on Saturday.
The petition was received by Alexander Skiba in the office of the German president Gauck. It was signed by over 2 000 German nationals across the political and socio-economic, cultural and academic spectrum and calls upon the German government to, inter alia, recognise the genocide committed against the Ovaherero and Nama.
During the genocide the chief German colonial regime army commander, General Lothar von Trotha, decreed the extermination of the Ovaherero and Nama.
As a result, close to 100 000 Ovaherero and 10 000 Nama people died of thirst, starvation and in subsequent battles during the genocide.
Yesterday’s petition also urges the German government to officially offer an apology to the affected communities as well as the Namibian government.
It further urges the German government to commit to and enter a dialogue with the representatives of the affected communities as well as the Namibian government.
The petition further implores the German government to facilitate the immediate return of the remaining human skulls “currently in private possession in Germany” to Namibia.
Ovaherero Paramount Chief Rukoro commended the sympathisers saying theirs was a new and intensified phase of the struggle.
“The whole of Africa will be united behind the Ovaherero and Nama of Namibia, and Germany will be the new international exile state guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” he said.
Tomorrow Rukoro is expected to meet, consult and brief a team of reputable international lawyers in London in preparation for possible legal action against Germany should Germany not meet the October 2 deadline for an answer on the demand for reparation.