Namibian tribal leaders want Germany to pay for genocide

The two countries have been in talks about a joint declaration on the massacres, although Germany has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the mass killings or pay reparations.

Photo by: AFP Archive
Photo by: AFP Archive

Descendants (2L and 3L) of colonial German general Lothar von Trotha, blamed for a campaign of annihilation during a 1904 uprising in what is now Namibia, led a reconciliation visit in 2007.

Updated Feb 27, 2017

A group of Namibians have travelled to Berlin to raise awareness of a long-forgotten genocide. 

They're members of the Ovaherero and Nama tribes who were targeted in mass killings by German colonists at the start of the twentieth century. 

Namibia says from 1885 to 1903 about a quarter of Ovaherero and Nama lands — thousands of square miles — was taken without compensation by German settlers with the explicit consent of German colonial authorities. They claim German colonial authorities turned a blind eye to rapes by colonists of Ovaherero and Nama women and girls, and the use of forced labour.

Tensions boiled over in early 1904 when the Ovaherero rose up, followed by the Nama, in an insurrection crushed by German imperial troops. At least 100,000 Ovaherero and Nama people died in a campaign of annihilation led by German General Lothar von Trotha.

The killings have now been recognised as genocide by the German parliament, but not yet by the German government. 

Representatives of the two indigenous groups have also filed a class action suit in New York against Germany, seeking reparations for the genocide of their peoples by German colonial rulers.

TRT World's Ira Spitzer reports from Berlin.

TRTWorld and agencies