March 2019 | Namibia – A Week of Justice
115 years ago, the first genocide of the twentieth century began to unravel in the German colony of South West Africa, today Namibia.
Following the issuance of extermination orders and over the course of four years between 1904 and 1908, the Ovaherero and Nama peoples were systematically targeted in deadly phases. This culminated in the herding of thousands of people into concentration camps where the majority died through starvation, disease, and exhaustion. Indigenous lands were occupied by German settlers, whose descendants continue to own the majority of this land along with other white land owners. This traumatic history, the effects of which continue to linger in both Germany and Namibia, has not been adequately addressed in either country – despite a long term struggle for reparations on the part of the affected communities.
The conference “Namibia – A Week of Justice” organised by a set of German and Namibian organisations, was one of the first public conferences in Namibia to address this genocide and its political aftermath, 115 years after the fact. The conference brought together legal practitioners and scholars, historians, artists, political scientists, politicians, national and international activists from the affected communities, and wider members of the Namibian public.
The report by Howard Rechavia Taylor can be downloaded here