The Herero People in Namibia

It took 100 years after genocide for the German perpetrators to say « sorry » to the Herero and Namaqua tribes of Namibia. While the United Nations classified the atrocities to the two tribes as genocide in 1985, it was not until 2015 that the Germans said:

“We Germans accept our historical and moral responsibility and guilt incurred at the Germans at that time”

The Herero and Namaqua genocide was exacted as a punishment the Germans used as a campaign for racial extermination in the then South- West Africa, today called Namibia.

The extermination of the two tribes was considered one of the first genocides of the 20th century taking place for three years between 1904 and 1907.

The genesis of the genocide lies in the resistance to colonialism by two tribes against the German invaders. The leader (king) of the Herero, Samuel Maherero and Captain Hendrick Witbooi of the Namaqua rebelled against the German colonial enterprise. War broke out in 1904 between the two tribes and the Germans. However the Germans took the upper hand by virtue of the superior firepower. The defeated Herero were driven into the desert where most of them died of dehydration. The same fate befell the Namaqua a year later.

It is estimated that about 100,000 Herero and 10,000 Namaqua people died. The death could have been avoided had the Germans forces not prevented the retreating Herero from leaving the desert. Others who were captured and imprisoned in camps died of diseases, abuse and punishment.

Even when a United Nations inquiry in 1985 classified the extermination as genocide, multiple times Germans refused to acknowledge the genocide until 2004. Even after accepting it was genocidal, the Germans still refused to compensate the victims relatives.

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