Saturday, January 28, 2017 9:48 am
By Rhulani Thembi Siweya
During the Herero Wars, the Herero and Nama people suffered a massive racial massacre and human squalor by the Germans who were seeking to overtake the then South –West African country which is today called Namibia. These racial atrocities took place from 1904 to 1907 with others leaving their homeland. They sought refuge in countries like Botswana and surrounding neighbours. Just like any war others did not survive and were killed, livestock and land taken.
Throughout the world victims of human rights abuses have risen to seek justice for atrocities they experienced regardless of the time in history. In the United States of America victims of the Germans in Namibia, the Nama and Herero people have filled a Class-Action Law Suit against the German Government. Their genocide is considered the first in the twentieth
century and occurred around one hundred and ten years ago. A very long-time ago and questions have emerged in relation to the timing to initiate such an action. Regardless of the time; victims of genocide ought to seek justice for the agony they suffered and impartiality must be served.
Repatriation are important in fostering social cohesion between both parties. They symbolise a process of making peace and apologising for the wrong committed against fellow human beings and countries. They further affirm that such atrocities will never happen from both parties. Countries which have continued to agree on engaging on the matter have shown earnest will to correct the wrong committed by their fore-fathers, simply because victims remain from generation to generation and the scars are still very much detectable. To date the people of African still rails from slavery which occurred time in memorial. For we know that the Germans have paid their price for killing the Jews. The people of Maxiputi in Maxico sought compensation and today celebrate the ‘New Reparation Agreement’.
In recent years the Australian government has initiated a number of programmes to facilitate the return of indigenous humans held in Britain. In South Africa the human remains of Sara Baartman and Moses Kotane were also returned home for final resting place as part of repatriation. And so must the Germans also assist the Herero and Nama people to find some kind of peace. Their demand for Repatriation is not roguish.
In itself repatriation does not necessarily have to be financial but the financial aspect is important as people’s livestock’s were unlawfully taken, land with mineral wealth is also at play. The Nama people are within their right to seek justice, it is within their right to
demandacknowledge of the wrong committed, apology and financial compensation for what they suffered regardless of the duration. Of importance is how the money will be distributed and to who. Does these two Namibian tribes have some form of database and generational tree to show who-is-who on the beneficiary list? In essence the compensation and resources must be channeled to community development and not individuals.
Their suffering can never be compensated enough, the least which can be done is to channel the resources to building lasting legacies like schools, hospitals, clinics and community centers. It would defeat the notion if such resources are not properly utilised with lawyers and
leaders cutting the share of the compensation for their narrow financial gain.
Rhulani Thembi Siweya is the founder of Africa Unmasked, she is also an NEC member of the ANCYL and writes in her personal capacity