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The Herero and Nama genocides

The forgotten Herero and Nama Genocides

Survivors of Herero being executed

The German military forces, between, 1904-1907, committed a genocide against indigenous in their colony present day Namibia. The intention of these mass killings-which occurred through battle, starvations, poisoning of water boreholes, thirst in Omaheke desert, forced labour, malnutrition, sexual violence, medical experiments and disease in concentration camps, was to get the rid of indigenous people viewed as expendables and eventually gain access to their land.


This genocide, considered  the first in twentieth century, was justified by racial prejudice.

Survivors of Herero Nema.

Historians estimate that approximately 80,000 indigenous people were killed, but the figure is hard to estimate since 80% of all Herero and 50% of all Nama were killed. General Von Trotha, a seasoned African campaigner, had been sent to crush the resistance and he ordered that, “Within the German borders every Herero, whether armed or unarmed, with or without cattle, will be shot. I shall not accept any more women or children. I shall drive them back to their people-otherwise I shall order shots to be fired at them.”


Today, more than a hundred years later after the genocide, the government of Namibia is seeking reparations from Germany for land stolen and lives lost. A significant portions of the most arable land in Namibia is still owned by descendants of the German settlers. Germany is yet to officially apologise for the genocides. To date, Germany has steadfastly refused to consider reparation payments.

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