Attitudes to reparations are changing - OvaHerero

''Not as dismissive as they were before''

25 October 2016 | Cultural

The OvaHerero people are optimistic about their relationship with the Namibian and German governments following a recent trip to Berlin where they protested in order to pressure the two governments to include them in genocide reparations.

The OvaHerero and Nama people are demanding restorative justice for the 1904-1908 Nama and OvaHerero genocide and have on numerous occasions urged the Namibian government to include them to participate in all negotiations about the genocide and reparations.

The two groups have for a long time insisted that the Namibian government is sidelining them in negotiations, despite Namibia''s special envoy on genocide Dr Zed Ngavirue''s assurance that the government remains committed to inclusivity.

However, the spokesperson of the OvaHerero Traditional Authority, Bob Kandetu, yesterday told Namibian Sun that they feel that government is developing a different approach.

When asked how he could tell that things have changed, Kandetu said “the atmosphere itself” is telling.

“But [even] our engagement with government players tell us that there is room for improvement,” he said. Kandetu added that their campaign was primarily aimed at forcing the German government to immediately recognise the OvaHerero and Nama genocide through a Bundestag resolution and a statement by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The groups also demand that the German government ask for forgiveness from the descendants of the victims of the genocide, who live in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and other countries.

The trip also aimed at informing German society about the atrocities colonial Germany committed against the Nama and OvaHerero people

According to him, this campaign has the potential to yield positive results. “Our engagements are telling us that they are at best restless and jittery . . . they are not as dismissive as they were before,” he said.

Following their trip to Berlin last week, the two groups held a feedback meeting at Okahandja at the weekend organised by the OvaHerero Genocide Foundation (OTA).



JEMIMA BEUKES