South Africa & World

Germany Ask For Forgiveness Announces Financial Aid of $1.3 billion to Namibians

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surviving herero

By Staff Reporter

The Republic Of Germany has officially acknowledged committing genocide during its colonial occupation of Namibia.

Friday it announced financial aid worth more than €1.1bn (£940m; $1.34bn).

In the early 20th Century German colonisers killed tens of thousands of Herero and Nama people.

The country’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said his country was asking Namibia and victims’ descendants for forgiveness.

“We will now officially refer to these events as what they are from today’s perspective: genocide, without sparing or glossing over,” Maas said.

Friday’s statement came after five years of negotiations with Namibia – which was under German occupation from 1884 to 1915.

The atrocities committed have been described by historians as “the forgotten genocide” of the early 20th Century, in what was then known as German South West

Survivors from the Herero and Nama population were forced into the desert and later placed in concentration camps where they were exploited for labour.

Many died of disease, exhaustion and starvation with some subject to sexual exploitation and medical experimentation.

Germany has previously acknowledged the atrocities but ruled out paying reparations.

Mr Maas said the negotiations had aimed to find “a common path to genuine reconciliation in memory of the victims” with members of the Herero and Nama communities closely involved in talks.

The agreed deal focuses on the idea of reconciliation over formalised compensation, with Mr Maas describing the aid package as a “gesture” rather than reparation.

Laidlaw Peringanda, a Herero activist and chairman of the Namibian Genocide Association, said the offer of development aid was not enough.

 

Robert Tapfumaneyi

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