Germna Troops in Colonial Namibia
German Troops sent to quash uprising in Namibia. Source:

The German State is in the midst of discussions with Namibia on paying reparations for crimes against Herero and Nama peoples from 1904 to 1908, when Namibia was a colony of the German Reich. The talks on reparations have been going on since 2015, however the German State has put forward a number of obstacles; the state even refused to us the term “war crimes reparations” at one point.

German radio station, Deutschlandfunk public radio stated that Germany is now willing to accept that it was responsible for the genocide that took place in South West Africa.

German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier is said to travel to Namibia this year, for a parliamentary commemoration. He is said to formally ask for forgiveness during his visit.

In the talks between German state and the representatives from Herero and Nama communities, the  demand from the communities was for individual reparations. The German state however advocated for investments into lands inhabited by the two communities.

Germany colonised Namibia from 1885-1915. They treated the local populations very cruelly, by seizing their lands, diamond deposits, and carrying out mass killings of those who rebelled against German rule. Under the command of Kaiser Wilhelm the 2nd, a large number of troops were sent to Namibia to “increase security of the empire”, owing to increased rebellion from the local communities. The result was that entire communities were eradicated by the troops, while the remaining tribes were subjugated to further persecution and cruelty. Concentration camps being the prime example of this. Shark Island was the primary concentration camp where many were left to die. One of the survivors who was taken to Shark Island recounts the sheer amount of violence that took place: “The Germans sent me to the island. I stayed there for a year. There were about 3,500 of us at first, only 193 of whom managed to get out. The other 3,307 died on the island.”

Between 1904 to 1909, under the command of German General Lothar von Trotha, large number of people from Herero and Nama communities, who rebelled against German occupation, were killed by the German troops. Survivors were taken to concentration camps, and many were even taken to Germany to conduct experiments on race.


Independent journalism can’t be independent without your support, contribute by clicking below.

December 2023


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here