There is hardly a place in Africa, where a brutal and inhumane form of colonialism was so incongruously stated, as in Namibia.
The center of Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, has an unmistakably Germanic orderly feel, boasting colonial architecture, including flowerpots, Protestant churches and sadly with commemorative plaques mourning German men, women and children, whom the Germans labeled as martyrs, who died during the uprisings and wars conducted by local indigenous people against the Germans.
The most divisive and absurd of those memorials is the so-called “Equestrian Monument”, more commonly known as “The Horse” or under its German original names, ‘Reiterdenkmal’ and ‘Südwester Reiter’ (Rider of the South-West). It is a statue inaugurated on 27 January 1912, which was the birthday of German Emperor Wilhelm II. The monument honors the soldiers and civilians that died on the German side of the Herero and Namaqua War of 1904–1907. To be precise, the war was not really a war; it was nothing more than genocide or a holocaust on the part of the Germans against the indigenous Herero and Nama people of Namibia.
Of course there were many genocides committed by the Europeans in Africa, from the Portuguese, British and French slave trade hunts, to about 10 million innocent people murdered in cold blood alone in what is now DR Congo by Belgium, during the reign of a Belgian monarch, King Leopold II, who is today still revere by the Europeans.
Jewish scholars exempt other Europeans and claimed that Namibia’s genocide was a tasting ground and a prelude to what the Germans later tried to achieve on European soil. Like the French in some of their Caribbean and Pacific colonies, the success rate of German genocide and ethnic purge was almost complete, around 80%.
An expert working for the UN, said, like almost everyone here, passionately, but without daring to reveal her name:
“The first concentration camps on earth were built in this part of Africa. They were erected by the British Empire in South Africa and by Germans here, in Namibia”.
Shark Island on the coast was the first concentration camp in Namibia, used to murder the Nama people, but now it is just a tourist destination, mainly for the divers, you would never guess that there were people exterminated there. In the center of Windhoek, there was another extermination camp; right on the spot where ‘The Horse’ originally stood.”
The Horse was recently removed from its original location, and placed in the courtyard of the old wing of The National Museum, together with some of the most outrageous commemorative plaques, glorifying German actions in this part of the world. Nothing was destroyed, instead just taken away from prime locations.
Where The Horse stood, there now stands a proud anti-colonialist statue, that of a man and a woman with broken shackles, which declares, ‘Their Blood Waters Our Freedom’.
A visit to those German genocidal relics is an absolute must for countless Central European tourists that descend every day on the country, mainly on their grand southern African tour that includes South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.
Following several groups of tourist and listening to their conversations, there appears to be no remorse, and almost no soul-searching: just snapshots, posing in front of the monuments and racist insignias, pub-style/beer jokes at places where entire cultures and nations were brutally exterminated.
European and German-speaking tourists in Windhoek, appear to be heartless and totally emotionless. And so are many of the descendants of those German and European genocidal pioneers.
Currently the German community in Namibia is protesting the removal of the symbolic horse status. It is indignant. And this community is still powerful, even omnipotent, here in Namibia.
Almost nobody calls the events that took place by their rightful names, of holocaust or genocide. Everything in Namibia is sensitive.
But in 1985, a UN report classified the events as an attempt to exterminate the Herero and Nama peoples of South-West Africa, and therefore the earliest attempted genocide in the 20th Century.
On 21 October 2012, a Canadian daily newspaper, The Globe and Mail, reported:
“In the bush and scrub of central Namibia, the descendants of the surviving Herero live in squalid shacks and tiny plots of land.
Next door, the descendants of German settlers still own vast properties of 20,000 hectares or more”. It’s a contrast that infuriates many Hereros and Namas, fuelling a new radicalism.
Every year the Herero hold solemn ceremonies to remember the first genocide of history’s bloodiest century, when German troops drove them into the desert to die, annihilating 80 percent of their population through starvation, thirst, and slave labor in concentration camps.
The Nama, a smaller ethnic group, lost half of their population from the same persecution.
A new research suggests that the German racial genocide in Namibia from 1904 to 1908 influenced the Belgium, British, France Portugal, Spain European genocide in Africa and the Apartheid regime of South Africa from racial science and eugenics, to the theory of Lebensraum (creating living space through colonization) were promoted by German military veterans and scientists who had begun their careers in South-West Africa, now Namibia, during the genocide.
The Namibian government is still negotiating the return (from Germany) of all skulls of local people, which were used in German laboratories and by German scientists to prove the superiority of the white race upon the black race. German colonialists decapitated Herero and Nama people, and at least 300 heads were transported to German laboratories for scientific research.
Many were discovered in the Medical History Museum of the Charite Hospital in Berlin, and at Freiburg University.
A leading German doctor, who was working on the ‘pure race doctrine’ in Namibia (the doctrine later used by the Nazis), was Eugen Fischer. He educated many German physicians, including Doctor Mengele.
It is of little surprise, considering that the first German governor of the colony was the father of Hitler’s deputy Herman Goering.
Germany never officially apologized for its crimes against humanity in what it used to call German South-West Africa. It did not pay reparations nor did European colonial powers, Portugal, Britain, Belgium, Spain and France.
When one of the greatest African leaders, Patrice Lumumba, and a democratically elected President of Congo DR, declared that Africa has nothing to be grateful to European colonial powers, he was murdered in cold blood by the alliance of Belgian, British and the US nations.
In Namibia, there is segregation on an enormous scale, everywhere. The country remains one of the most segregated countries on earth, with great private services for the rich Europeans, and almost nothing for the poor majority Africans.
In ‘Katutura’ city which literally means ‘We have no place to stay’. Fifty percent of the people in this city defecate in the open. Sanitation is totally disastrous. Then you go to Swakop city, on the shore, and it is like seeing Germany recreated in Africa. You also see, there, shops with Nazi keepsakes. Some Nazis, who escaped Europe, came to Windhoek, to Swakop and other towns.
In Swakop, men march periodically, in replicas of Nazi uniforms. Katutura is where the black people were moved to, during apartheid.
In Namibia, it is very rare for blacks who used to suffer, to speak about it publicly, majority of the capitals population lack access to sanitation and electricity.
What one can see in Namibia is that many German people are still in control of big business just like in South Africa. They are ruling the country. They have hunting farms and other huge estates and enterprises. Germans bring money to Namibia, but it stays with them, and it consolidates their power, it does not reach the majority. One cannot even imagine how local people working on farms stolen from them by the whites are suffering. It is still like slavery.
In Europe, in the 1930’s and 40’s, Germany simply and painstakingly copied the genocidal crimes that it committed in its colonies from the Arabs who expelled, exterminated all indigenous black inhabitants and annexed much of northern part Africa, particularly in it African colony of what was known as ‘South-West Africa’ now Namibia.
The southern part of Africa is where the British and German empires built the first concentration camps on earth. It is where the people were treated as sub-humans, as animals, and it is where entire nations were exterminated.
Until now, there was no apology and hardly any acknowledgement of the history, coming from Europe.
In recent history, the West was openly supporting the apartheids in South Africa and in Namibia, as well as a brutal civil war in neighboring Angola and currently doing same indirectly in Congo DR, Rwanda, Cote D’ Ivoire, Sudan, Mali and Central Africa Republic.
The crimes committed by the Europeans and the Arabs on the continent of Africa remains unforgiving and a scar to Africans.
Ejike Iloduba @Pan African Liberation Movement – palm.https://m.facebook.com/panafricanliberationmovement?_e_pi_=7%2CPAGE_ID10%2C1870716091