Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Germany rejects reparations for Hereros

Germany’s ambassador to Botswana has rejected calls for reparations from Herero people who were victims of an extermination campaign under German colonial rule 100 years ago.

Ambassador Hans-Dietrich von Bothmer told a gathering of Hereros in a village in northwest Botswana on Sunday that while Germany regretted ”this unfortunate past”, it was not prepared to offer compensation.

He said that Germany had given Namibia 500-million euros in aid since 1990 to benefit all Namibians. Von Bothmer went on to say that ”it could not be justified to compensate one specific group”.

The ambassador’s remarks prompted an angry response from an Herero activist, who berated him for failing to make amends for the atrocities.

”I was disappointed that we did not get an apology today, [Sunday]” said Stephen Kazeire Raurau, a lawyer and Herero community activist.

”We want something for reconstruction in Botswana today to bring back our young Herero people into our culture so that they can proudly say we are Herero,” he said to strong applause.

More than 1 000 Hereros from Namibia, Botswana and South Africa were gathered in Tsau to commemorate the 100th anniversary of their uprising against German colonial rule.

Thousands of Herero fled to Tsau from neighbouring Namibia, then known as German South-West Africa, after an extermination order was issued to crush the uprising of the Herero.

German colonial ruler Lothar Von Trotha issued the order in 1904, launching a campaign that left about 65 000 of the 80 000 Herero dead.

While the German ambassador did not offer compensation, he made it clear that Berlin was seeking to open a new chapter in relations with the Herero. There are about 120 000 Herero in Namibia and about 70 000 in Botswana.

”I, on behalf of the German government, want to reach out a hand of friendship, solidarity and reconciliation to the Herero people of Botswana,” he said. – Sapa-AFP

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

More top stories

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

US fashion contaminates Africa’s water

Untreated effluent from textile factories in in Lesotho, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius and Madagascar pours into rivers, contaminating the water

Deep seabed mining a threat to Africa’s coral reefs

The deep oceans are a fragile final frontier, largely unknown and untouched but mining companies and governments — other than those in Africa — are eying its mineral riches

Komodo dragon faces extinction

The world’s largest monitor lizard has moved up the red list for threatened species, with fewer than 4 000 of the species left
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×