Damaras want employment-creation projects

10 Mar 2014 10:50am
WINDHOEK, 10 MAR (NAMPA) – The Damara Chiefs’ Council on Friday urged the German government to assist the Namibian government to create permanent employment for affected communities of the 1904-1908 genocide here.
The vice-chairperson of the Damara Chiefs’ Council Max Haraseb said during the memorial service for 35 skulls and three skeletal remains which arrived here from Germany on Friday that the boreholes, goats and sheep projects are not sufficient to uplift the wellbeing of the Namibian people.
“The Damara people became poor and remain poor because of what happened during the period of the genocide when the Germans depleted and destroyed our belongings,” he stressed.
Haraseb said during this period, the Damara people lost some of their cultural and traditional practices such as the ‘holy fire’, which was used to cure sick people and protect the community against evil forces . Today, it is non-existent.
His community also lost their integrity, and their dignity has been damaged from generations to generations, and they thus demanded a public apology from the German government, as well as reparations to be paid to all affected Namibians.
“As principled leaders, we have to forgive the Germans who committed these cruel and inhumane brutalities. However, forgiveness should not be misinterpreted as an act by the Namibian nation to simply please the German nation.
We believe that the forgiveness is only aimed at Namibians to find peace and closure,” Haraseb stated.
Up to 100 000 OvaHerero and 10 000 Nama people died during the genocide of 1904 to 1908, considered to have been the first genocide of the 20th century.
On 12 January 1904, the OvaHerero people, led by Samuel Maharero, rebelled against German colonial rule.
In August of that year, German General Lothar von Trotha defeated the OvaHerero in the Battle of Waterberg and drove them into the desert of Omaheke, where most of them died of thirst.
In October, the Nama people also rebelled against the Germans, only to suffer a similar fate.
The genocide was characterised by widespread deaths from starvation and thirst because the OvaHerero who fled the violence were prevented from leaving the Namib desert.
Some sources claim that the German colonial army systematically poisoned desert wells.