President Hage Geingob has called for the German Federal Republic to publicly apologise for the atrocities committed against the Nama and Ovaherero tribes between 1904 and 1908.
Geingob said this after hearing a public apology by Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Science, Research and Arts, Theresia Bauer, at an event held in honour of the return of Kaptein Hendrik !Nanseb Witbooi’s Bible and whip from Germany, in Gibeon on Thursday.
Geingob, who spoke after Bauer, initially had a harsh speech which carried a strong message for the Germans.
But after listening to Bauer, who showed remorse for the torture, collective punishment and ultimate racial extermination meted upon indigenous Namibians, he toned down his message.
Geingob said if the two countries are to move forward, it is important for the German government to admit to the wrongs committed against the people of Namibia, like Bauer.
“If the German government thinks something terribly wrong has happened then they ought to, as you have done publicly, apologise. (It should be an) apology that we must also accept as it is truly an apology. When you have admitted (that) something very bad has happened and you are sorry for it, then you must do something to heal the wounds,” he said.
Geingob said Namibia’s wounds are starting to heal, because of the existence of Germans like Bauer.
“I am very glad that you stood here… with so many Namibians to say what you have said. So, thank you very much. Welcome to Namibia,” the president said.
In her speech, Bauer expressed remorse for what Namibians had to bear at the hands of colonial Germany.
“I am deeply sorry for the injustices that have been committed,” she said.
“We cannot forget this history. We cannot forget the inhumane atrocities that were perpetrated against the people of Namibia, especially the Nama and Herero, at the hands of German soldiers.”
Bauer went on to say: “In Germany, the acknowledgement of our difficult colonial past has taken far too long, but it has begun… And I am deeply sorry for that.”
Over 100,000 Ovaherero and Nama were killed as a result of a mass extermination policy initiated by German colonial troops between 1904 and 1908.
Namibia and Germany are currently engaged in state-to-state negotiations on the issue of genocide. – NAMPA