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What Namibia and Germany Need to Do to Heal

In May this year, the German government formally acknowledged responsibility for the colonial-era genocide against Namibia’s Herero and Nama peoples more than 100 years ago. It was the first such atrocity of the 20th century, committed between 1904 and 1908 in the name of Imperial Germany in the territory known then as German South West Africa. As such, many historians now see it as foreshadowing the Nazi Holocaust of World War II. But Herero and Nama activists, who have long campaigned for reparations, say the compensation on offer does not truly reflect the appalling suffering of the tens of thousands who died – through ethnic cleansing, disease, starvation, imprisonment and torture.