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31.05.2021

Recognition of the genocide in Namibia

Gefangene Herero im Lager Swakopmund (Namibia). Das Bild entstand 1904 in einem Gefangenenlager in Swakopmund während eines Besuches der Rheinischen Mission, die von der Zivilverwaltung mit der Gefangenenbetreuung beauftragt war und sich beispielsweise für Kleider- und sonstige Spenden einsetzte sowie für das seelische Heil durch provisorisch errichtete Kapellen und darin stattfindende Gottesdienste. (Alle Rechte Archiv- und Museumsstiftung der VEM).

Dr. Zephania Kameeta, vormaliger Bischof der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche der Republik Namibia und früherer VEM-Moderator sowie Minister für Armutsbekämpfung in Namibia, gehört der Herero-Ethnie an. (Foto: R. Elbracht/VEM)

Today's joint press release of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and UEM:

"And forgive us our trespasses" - with this request from the Lord's Prayer, in 2004 the then development aid minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul asked for forgiveness in the form of a prayer at Waterberg, one of the sites of the German genocide in Namibia. Between 1904 and 1908, large parts of the Herero, Damara and Nama were murdered by the German Schutzgruppe of the colonial power. At that time, people fought for their own land against exploitation and disenfranchisement by the colonial power.

"After years of reconciliation work and coming to terms with the colonial era in politics, church, mission and science, I am very glad that the request for forgiveness is now followed by concrete action in German foreign policy and that the statement by Foreign Minister Maas refers to the genocide as such." , said Bishop Bosse-Huber. "May this make reconciliation concrete and tangible and tangible for all people in Namibia."

Protestant churches call for genocide to be dealt with

It was the churches in Namibia and Germany, in particular the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland and the Evangelical Church of Westphalia, together with the EKD and the United Evangelical Mission (UEM), who called for a concrete reappraisal. Dr. Zephania Kameeta, moderator of UEM, himself Herero, was co-initiator of the meeting and the prayer at the Waterberg and spoke in an impressive way again and again for a reconciliation of all.

Thus Kameeta in a speech before the parliament in Namibia: "In this hour we are expected to be courageous and honest and to face this issue connected with the consequences of war, just as we fought and defeated colonialism. We must therefore work together inside and outside this House to wipe away the tears, to restore the broken relationships." ("The hour demands from us to be brave and honest and to face this issue related to the consequences of the war and resolve it as we confronted colonialism and defeated it.  We therefore jointly inside and outside this House, must act together to wipe the tears, to bind the broken relationships and heal the wounds.")

Healing broken relationships

Thus, reconciliation is matched by the German government's concrete program of over 1.1 billion euros for reconstruction and development throughout the country - this follows what the former Minister for Poverty Alleviation Kameeta intended: the healing of broken relationships of all people in Namibia as well as with the descendants of the German colonial power. This is also welcomed by Dr. Jochen Motte, member of the board of UEM: "We are pleased that now 15 years after the commemoration, there is finally willingness on the part of Germany to take responsibility for the crimes and genocide and to support substantial projects."

"We very much hope that this initiative in particular will now help Namibia's relative young population to experience social justice and have good educational opportunities. This will hopefully substantially change the large gap between rich and poor," said Bishop Bosse-Huber.

Press departments EKD & UEM

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