Indigenous Intelligentsia must push and drive the genocide narrative

Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro

Like Yours Truly Ideologically postulated in initial instalments, that there’s no question that the genocide committed against the indigenous people of Namibia during the colonial penetration of Namibia, then German South West Africa, being colonial in form, was also Capitalist in content.

First and foremost it was initiated and driven by German and European traders, supported by their imperial allies like missionaries (religions), intelligentsia (researchers, scholars and academicians, notably anthropologist and ethnic geneticists, and ultimately and eventually German politicians and the German imperial government and State, which reluctantly joined the scramble for colonies to provide for liebensraum (living space), outside German territory, in both Europe (Switserland, Austria, Poland,etc) and even in Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Togo.

There was thus this unholy German, and/or European alliance in the penetration and eventual colonisation of Namibia, all in the name of global Capitalism.

Equally today, as the indigenous Namibians are traumatising in coming to terms with Germany’s capitalist historic past in Namibia, to put it mildly, they have been facing a brick wall in the same unholy alliance on the side of not only the current government of the Federal Republic of Germany, but the entire Europe with few exceptions if any. In a Machiavellian silence behind fellow Capitalist European traveler. Vigilant lest Germany admits to genocide in Namibia, thereby opening floodgates of unprecedented colonial claims against Europe and the Americas.

Thus the same Capitalist colonial narrative, which saw Namibia and other African countries being conquered and colonised by foreign powers, is being pushed in the case of the genocide of the Ovambanderu, Ovaherero and Nama.

Like civilisation narrative, pretext as the good of colonisation, today in the case of genocide, the narrative being driven is one of “healing the wounds”. A narrative the Namibian government, having abrogated itself all of a sudden champion of genocide and reparation, after its initial hesitancy and ambivalence, seems to be now falling lock, stock and barrel. Thrust upon it by its presumed fellow state actor, the German government.

“Namibia’s negotiation strategy is based on three (3) Pillars, namely: Genocide, Apology and Reparations. This means: Germany should acknowledge to have committed Genocide in Namibia during the period 1904-1908; Germany should render an unconditional apology, delivered at the highest level to the Namibian Government and people, in particular the affected communities; and Germany should pay reparations. “

Namibia’s Prime Minisiter, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, enticed the Namibian National Assembly (NA) on March 16 this year regarding the progress, or lack thereof on the negotiations between the Namibian government and its German counterpart. So far so good.

“While the German Government agreed to negotiate the issue of redress (reparations), which they consistently referred to as “healing the wounds”, they refused to accept the term reparations. The Namibian side, with the intention of demanding restorative justice from Germany, find the term “healing the wounds” inadequate. Currently both sides are discussing alternative terms,” reads the PM’s statement further. Granted but the crucial question is on whose authority and legitimate mandate has the Namibian government been engaging the German government? Because surely it does not and cannot have its own locus standi in this matter as imperial Germany did not commit genocide against any forerunner Namibian government. Not only this but it is well known that there’s a section of the affected Namibia communities that the Namibian government cannot and shall not claim to represent. Not to mention affected communities in the Botswana and South African Diaspora. Surely the Namibian government cannot and shall never ev
er claim to represent them, or/and indeed practically and legitimately represent them.

“Having not reached an agreement on the amount of reparations, the Namibian side has proposed to the German side to look at projects, as a way of moving away and not be bogged down by the reparations quantum,” the PM seems to put the nail in the coffin of the essence of the current negotiations, as illegitimate as they are, which are about nothing else but genocide. It is perplexing how one really negotiates genocide? It would be almost close to a month now since the PM’s statement. But one has been hearing little or next to nothing from the NA itself, the genocide movements within, let alone the traditional leaders claiming and abrogating to themselves sole leadership of the matter.

Thus this is where the genocide issue not only calls but has long been needing an alternative informed approach. Needless to say Namibian intelligentsia can hopefully bring a different, more credible and informed insight and narrative to the genocide debate. Because it is clear that both the Namibian government and its German counterpart, who have been running in circle, have now reached a cul de sac.

Not only this but it is becoming increasingly evident that a section of the traditional leadership of the affected communities, if not the entire leadership, has lately not only been showing signs of advanced fatigue, but have also run out of ideas and alternatives. Crudely put, they have lost track of the issue if not direction. This is the time the intelligentsia from the affected communities, and of course the rest of the country, is more than ever called upon to come and in fulfilling their historic mission of being the brain trust of their communities, salvage the sinking ship of genocide and reparations. If history is to judge them profoundly one day according to their prowess.

such as Reconciliation and Reconstruction, however, an agreement on the terms has yet to be reached.

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