Nama and OvaHerero to march in Berlin soon

Pushing for global action so world is informed

05 October 2016 | Local News

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The Nama and OvaHerero communities are readying themselves for the biggest international campaign to educate the world and German nationals about the 1904 genocide.

The first group of representatives will leave for Berlin this Sunday already while the rest will leave next week in their pursuit to force the German government to immediately recognise the OvaHerero and Nama genocide through a Bundestag resolution and a statement by the German chancellor Angela Merkel.

According to the Nama Technical Committee secretary Paul Thomas, they call upon the German government to ask forgiveness from the descendants of the victims of the genocide, who reside in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and other countries.

The group also plans to attend the Berlin Congress on Restorative Justice after Genocide, as well as taking part in a one-and-half-kilometre long OvaHerero and Nama protest and solidarity march through that city.

The chairperson of the Nama Technical Committee Ida Hoffman and OvaHerero Traditional Authority (OTA) spokesperson Bob Kandetu yesterday confirmed the trip.

According to Kandetu, the main aim of the trip is to establish whether the German society is informed about the gross atrocities colonial Germany committed against the Nama and OvaHerero people.

“We do not want to assume that they know about the past, this will be a global campaign that knows no boundaries,” he said.

According to the congress programme the OvaHerero Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro as well as the Nama Chief Petrus Kooper of the Hoachanas community will be part of this delegation as well as other descendants in the diaspora.

“When the Chief Rukoro was in Botswana recently these things were discussed and he made a call on the OvaHerero in the diaspora to come to the fore. They have shown great commitment but we have not received any confirmation from them yet,” said Kandetu.

Meanwhile, the two communities have drafted a lengthy list of resolutions to be presented at the congress in Berlin, which takes place from 14 to 16 October 2016.

Chief amongst these resolutions is the call on Germany to immediately stop all further research on Ovaherero and Nama human remains in Germany that is not serving their identification, dehumanisation and repatriation.

According to Kandetu, an investigation conducted over the last five years showed that this field of research continued unabated at some teaching institutions.

“It is highly provocative and has been silently on-going for the last five years, we did our own investigation,” he said.

Diaspora action

Meanwhile, descendants of the OvaHerero and Nama descendants of the victims of the genocide who are resident in the United States have held a demonstration at the United Nations headquarters in New York on 21 September.

According to a press release issued by Mekahako Pioo Komomungondo, spokesperson of the Otjiherero-speaking Community in the USA, (OSCU), their demand is to be included in the negotiations for reparations.

The demonstration was held under the theme, ‘Anything without is us against us’.

“We demand total inclusion of the OvaHerero and Nama communities in the present genocide negotiations between the governments of Namibia and Germany,” the statement read.

“We wanted to create awareness about our dissatisfaction with the manner in which the negotiations are being conducted without giving full recognition to the parties affected most by the tragic genocide events in the history of our people,” Komomungondo said.

Oscu is of the view that affected parties, while demanding their rightful presence at the negotiation table are being sidelined, while a negotiation framework has been drafted and talk are ongoing.

The group says the while both heads of state, President Hage Geingob and Chancellor Angela Merkel address the United Nations General Assembly, they avoided the demonstrators stationed at the UN premises.

“We demand to be fully recognised and our voices to be heard,” Komomungondo added.

“Until all affected groups are represented at the negotiating table, we wil continue to display our unhappiness to him the president, the Germans and the world at large.”

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