Here in the US with all the protests for racial equality there have been some that are calling for reparations to be paid to black ancestors of slaves…..
Of course they use the fact that the US has paid reparations to Japanese-Americans for their treatment during World War Two….
But this post is about something other than US slavery…I know hard to believe that there is something more important than the events in the US….but amazingly there is……and it is the history of Africa and the region unknown in the day as German Southwest Africa.
German South-West Africa, or present-day Namibia, was a colony of the German Empire from 1884 until 1915, when it was occupied by South African forces fighting on the side of Great Britain in World War I. The brief history of the colony was marked by a series of insurrections by the Khoekhoe and Hereros against German rule, insurrections that the authorities suppressed with extraordinary harshness. The German ambition was to populate the colony with large numbers of settlers from Germany, much as the British had done in other parts of Africa. By 1914 more than 9,000 German settlers were living in the colony, but the dry climate and lack of water was a limiting factor on further settlement and expansion. Theodor Rehbock was a noted German hydraulic engineer who was asked by a local syndicate to study the colony’s water resources and their potential use in irrigation projects. Rehbock visited German South-West Africa in 1896-97 and produced this analysis of its economics, geology, climatology, and hydrology. His work contains detailed maps, tables, and plans for water projects. It remains a valuable resource for the study of the history of Namibia.
A little more historical perspective…..
In 1884, German chancellor Otto von Bismarck convened a meeting of European powers known as the Berlin Conference. Though the conference determined the future of an entire continent, not a single black African was invited to participate. Bismarck declared South-West Africa a German colony suitable not only for trade but for European settlement. Belgium’s King Leopold, meanwhile seized the Congo, and France claimed control of West Africa.
The German flag soon became a beacon for thousands of colonists in southern Africa—and a symbol of fear for local tribes, who had lived there for millennia. Missionaries were followed by merchants, who were followed by soldiers. The settlers asserted their control by seizing watering holes, which were crucial in the parched desert. As colonists trickled inland, local wealth—in the form of minerals, cattle, and agriculture—trickled out
Indigenous people didn’t accept all this willingly. Some German merchants did trade peacefully with locals. But like Belgians in the Congo and the British in Australia, the official German policy was to seize territory that Europeans considered empty, when it most definitely was not. There were 13 tribes living in Namibia, of which two of the most powerful were the Nama and the Herero. (Kaunatjike is Herero.)
Germans were tolerated partly because they seemed willing to involve themselves as intermediaries between warring local tribes. But in practice, their treaties were dubious, and when self-interest benefitted the Germans, they stood by idly. The German colonial governor at the turn of the 20th century, Theodor Leutwein, was pleased as local leadership began to splinter. According to Dutch historian Jan-Bart Gewald, for instance, Leutwein gladly offered military support to controversial chiefs, because violence and land seizure among Africans worked to his advantage. These are all tactics familiar to students of United States history, where European colonists decimated and dispossessed indigenous populations.
If you would like more info then this site may be of some assistance…..https://www.sahistory.org.za/place/namibia
Now that we have set the stage….Germany has offered reparations for the ills foisted upon the natives…..and Namibia has declined the offer……
Namibian President Hage Geingob on Tuesday turned down Germany’s offer of €10 million ($11.7 million) in reparations for the genocide committed by the German Empire at the start of the 20th century.
“The current offer for reparations made by the German government remains an outstanding issue and is not acceptable to the Namibian government,” Geingob said in a statement after a briefing on the status of negotiations. He added that the government’s special envoy, Zed Ngavirue, would continue to negotiate for a “revised offer.”
Geingob also took exception to Germany’s use of the term “healing the wounds” in place of the word reparations, saying the terminology would be debated further.
No apology so far
The two countries began negotiating an agreement in 2015 that would see Germany give an official apology and development aid as compensation for the killing of tens of thousands of indigenous Herero and Nama people by German occupiers in 1904-1908.
Maybe an apology would make things go better…..
Just a thought.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”