Germany must apologise publicly for atrocities: Geingob

28 Feb 2019 17:40pm
By Edward Mumbuu Jnr
GIBEON, 28 FEB (NAMPA) – After hearing a public apology by Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Science, Research and Arts, Theresia Bauer for the atrocities committed against the Nama and Ovaherero tribes between 1904 and 1908, President Hage Geingob said the German Federal Republic must follow suit.
Geingob said this at an event held in honour of the return of Kaptein Hendrik !Nanseb Witbooi’s Bible and whip from Germany, in Gibeon on Thursday.
Geingob, who spoke after Bauer, initially had a harsh speech which carried a strong message for the Germans.
But after listening to Bauer, who showed remorse for the torture, collective punishment and ultimate racial extermination meted upon indigenous Namibians, he toned down his message.
Geingob said if the two countries are to move forward, it is important for the German government to admit to the wrongs committed against the people of Namibia, like Bauer.
“If the German government thinks something terribly wrong has happened then they ought to, as you have done publicly, apologise. (It should be an) apology that we must also accept as it is truly an apology. When you have admitted (that) something very bad has happened and you are sorry for it, then you must do something to heal the wounds,” he said.
Geingob said Namibia’s wounds are starting to heal, amid the existence of Germans like Bauer.
“I am very glad that you stood here… with so many Namibians to say what you have said. So, thank you very much. Welcome to Namibia,” the president said, as the crowd went into applause for the German minister.
In her speech, Bauer expressed remorse for what Namibians had to bear at the hands of colonial Germany.
“I am deeply sorry for the injustices that have been committed,” she said.
She added: “We cannot forget this history. We cannot forget the inhumane atrocities that were perpetrated against the people of Namibia, especially the Nama and Herero, at the hands of German soldiers.”
Bauer went on to say: “In Germany, the acknowledgement of our difficult colonial past has taken far too long, but it has begun… And I am deeply sorry for that.”
Over 100 000 Ovaherero and Nama were killed as a result of a mass extermination policy initiated by German colonial troops between 1904 and 1908.
Namibia and Germany are currently engaged in state-to-state negotiations on the issue of genocide.
On the occasion, Geingob said: “This is a historic occasion in the history of our country and we should accord it the honour it deserves and not resort to the growing trend of using national events for political point scoring.”