Genocide descendants must, should see 2024 as the year of serious recalibration and ACTION on genocide, apology and reparations

By Concerned descendants of the survivors of genocide Rikondja Ben Katjitundu Karamata, Vitura Kavizembua Kavari, Verikomba Mbahuurua and Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro

Genocide descendants must, should see 2024 as the year of serious recalibration and ACTION on genocide, apology and reparations

As 2023 draws to a close and with much anticipation we herald 2024, as descendants of the great warriors of the anti-colonial resistances against German penetration and occupation of our ancestral, then known by the imperialists and their accomplices and allies as German South West Africa, we cannot but pause and seriously reflect on the year that has been.

Such reflection is all the more vital in view of the fact that 2024 is an important year, especially for us as descendants of the Genocide committed by Imperial Germany against our forebears. Because it would be 20 years since the centenary commemoration of the Genocide. A commemoration which properly germinated the momentum towards the demand for the ACKNOWLEDGMENT by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, of our genocide, and for her to subsequently offer the requisite APOLOGY, and consequently in view of the ACKNOWLEDGEMENT and APOLOGY, for the matter to take its logical conclusion, which is REPARATIONS.

Despite the momentum created 20 years ago in Okakarara, a stone’s throw away from to the famous battle ground of the Battle of Ohamakari, by the centenary commemoration of the genocide, we are not any closer to the logical conclusion of this matter. By the deliberate and indifferent designs of both the Namibian government, and its counterpart of the Federal Republic of Germany. its partner in the crime of derailing our aspiration for restorative justice, in having the genocide recognised for what it was and still is – a crime against humanity.

One such design lately, is the Joint Declaration (JD), which was initialed by the government parties, and is understandably due for signing in the beginning of 2024. How ominous can the signing thereof be in 2024, 20 years after the historic centenary of the genocide!

The designs of the governments of Namibia and the Federal Republic of Germany, notwithstanding, the descendants through their various leaders, traditional and otherwise, severally and commonly, have been steadfast and categorically clear and vocal that the JD, given its very genesis, is, cannot and shall never ever be the right vehicle for the deliverance of true, just and fair restorative justice to the descendants. What was committed is a crime against humanity for which International Instruments exist for the adjudication of such a crime and the determination of the requisite reparations. Meaning it has been preposterous of the two governments to abrogate, subjugate and subject the genocide of the Nama and Ovaherero, to bilateral negotiations.

As the descendants of the survivors of the first genocide of the 20th century, we cannot be oblivious to the 2006 Namibian National Assembly Resolution on this matter, enjoining the Namibian government to facilitate a dialogue. Between, on the one hand, the Nama and Ovaherero genocide descendants, among other, and the government of the Federal Republic of Germany on the other.

What was and could have been envisaged by the said 2006 Resolution was not for the two governments to engage in bilateral talks and/or negotiations on this matter but to put it on their respective national political agendas. To subsequently channel it to the relevant international institutions and fora as befits a crime of its nature subjecting it to the requisite international instruments.

A pathway, which the two governments deliberately, for own parochial bilateral interests, chose not to follow. To only eventually come up with the JD, which an overwhelming section of the descendants, and Namibians in general, as well as the international community, have condemned and rejected outright for what it is. A bilateral expiation of the two countries ascribable to the historic link between the ruling party in Namibia and the former German Democratic Republic. Which has nothing to do with the crime of genocide. With the two countries treating our demand as no more than just another matter between them. Indifferent to the fact that this is a matter which has been raised by the Nama and Ovaherero descendants, about which they do not only feel deeply, but to this day very much traumatised by it.

While we constantly as descendants have been pleading, and continues to plead to both governments to hear our lamentations, of the descendants, we cannot but concluded that they have been falling on the deaf ears of both governments.

Simply because it is not part of their bilateral agenda. Rather, it seems, for both governments, this matter is a politico-diplomatic nuisance that they must quickly dispense with by any means necessary, if not completely in one way or another discard. Instead of justly and through a just process, eventually allowing the German government to atone to its historic sins for which it has been pretending to have accepted its avowed historic responsibility. Hence the existence of the Joint Declaration (JD). The Joint Declaration (JD) is not a new concept of its kind but has its numerous forerunners which both governments experimented with. Foremost amongst them the Special Initiative, which to this day has no track record to refer to.

It must thus dawn on both governments that the question of the genocide of the Nama and Ovaherero is not a problem that they can wish away and dispense with bilaterally in any way they deem in their best respective interests. It is a sacrosanct matter to the descendants and a crime against humanity. Foremost, this genocide – the first genocide of the twentieth century, is not a matter of the descendants in Namibia only but of all descendants all over, including in Botswana and South Africa, and everywhere on the globe where the descendants of the survivors of the genocide committed in Namibia by German Imperial Forces find themselves. Meaning Namibians in the Diaspora are an integral part of the demand for restorative justice.

This demand is indivisible. Not only this but this genocide is very much an integral part of the demand for reparations against colonialism and slavery. Thus, it cannot be dealt with behind cameras by two governments with and in their own parochial interests in isolation. In isolation from the broader global reparations movement of the African people and people of African descent in the Diaspora.

Thus, as we close 2023, uneventful as it may have been with mysterious shuttles by officials of both governments to push through the Joint Declaration, the two governments are well reminded that as descendants we are aware of their chicaneries and shenanigans regarding our just demand for restorative justice. Whatever they have been trying to engineer behind closed doors, has not gone unnoticed by most of us descendants of those genocided.

That is why 2024 cannot be any longer business as usual but a year of action to stop the Machiavellian designs of both governments on the question of restorative justice !ACKNOWDLEGEMENT, APOLOGY AND REPARATIONS.

But such action needs serious recalibration by all descendants. Therefore, 2024 is and must for all descendants, without living anyone out, as a matter of urgency earlier in the year, be a time of serious reflection and introspection. Not for its own sake and as an end in itself but to inform the urgent action that must follow to squarely put the problem of the genocide committed by German Imperial Forces in Namibia, on the global platform where it duly belongs.

As concerned members, and an integral part of the descendants, we pledge our unconditional and unwavering support to the genuine and purposeful local and international efforts by the descendants themselves, aimed at addressing the problem pertaining to the genocide committed by German Imperial Forces in Namibia.

As an integral part of the global reparations movement of people African people and people of African descent in the Diaspora. We are willing and ready to live to our historic mission with each and every one involved and genuinely striving towards restorative justice to our very best self in every respect and aspect within out capacities, severally and separately.

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