Windhoek-Speaker of the National Assembly Professor Peter Katjavivi this week reiterated the call to accurately document Namibia’s history for preservation for current and future generations.
Katjavivi, who spoke as guest speaker at a public lecture themed ‘Twentieth century Namibian genocide in perspective’ in Oslo (Norway) on Sunday, said it is essential Namibia regains its heritage through understanding and appreciating events of the past, and getting into memory and commemoration.
“In this regard the history of Namibia right from the days of colonial occupation, to date, needs to be properly documented and made available in an appropriate setting such as a genocide memorial centre,” Katjavivi said at the event.
He added that it would provide the necessary information to the current and future generations, as well as to researchers, scholars and leaders.
“The main objective of this is to ensure that these kinds of heinous crimes are never repeated again,” the Speaker noted.
He said the question of genocide comes along with complicated issues. For example, those who are hurt need the person(s) who hurt them to acknowledge their deed in order for healing to take place.
“To date, Namibia as a country is still waiting for an official apology from the German government. Some scholars have established that recent genetic research appears to show that trauma can be inherited in one’s genetic make-up. Trauma is not just remembered through stories told by one’s parents and grandparents but it leaves a genetic impact on the descendants of those who have been traumatized,” he said.
He added that the genocide that occurred in Namibia from 1904 to 1908 has commanded the attention of historians who study complex issues of continuity between this genocide and the Jewish Holocaust.
“Some historians have argued that the Namibian genocide set an ideological pattern and precedent in terms of physical and psychological warfare against particular groups of people. These tactics were later used by Hitler and his troops during the days of Nazi Germany to commit acts of extermination against the Jewish people,” Katjavivi said.
The Namibian and Germany governments are engaged in negotiations to find an amicable solution to the genocide past. Both countries today have appointed dedicated special envoys who are overseeing this important process.
Dr Zedekia Ngavirue, a renowned Namibian scholar, is the Namibian representative, while Germany is represented by Ruprecht Polenz.
“These are complex issues that require commitment and sincerity to address in a conclusive manner. Resolving these issues is essential for both Namibia and Germany to heal the wounds of the past,” added Katjavivi.