Namibia and Germany negotiating the past

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University of Namibia Press
Ever since Namibia attained Independence in 1990,, her relations with Germany have been marked by intensity, close cooperation and heated debate. The latter revolves largely around the 30 year period from 1884 up to 1915, when today’s Namibia was known as the colony of German South West Africa. For the last decade, an asymmetrical debate on colonial mass crime has been a prominent feature of memory politics. In this debate, the first genocide of the 20th Century, committed by German colonial troops during the Namibian War of 1903–081, forms the central axis. The debate about the genocide and the consequences of German colonialism is asymmetrical in various ways. First, it relates to the colonial relationship of violence and domination and to a racist ideology that denied acknowledgement of true humanness to the colonised – an ideological prerequisite for denying them the right to exist and for pursuing exterminatory measures against them. Asymmetry also prevails in the underlying power relations in the present. The means available to the descendants of the genocide victims to give voice to their cause are seriously inferior to the possibilities open to the German Government simply to ignore the victims or deal superficially with their demands. Namibia musters much less attention within the German public sphere than issues relating to Germany receive in the Namibian media. The issue is confounded further by the presence of a small, but economically powerful and vociferous community of German speakers in Namibia.
Kossler, R. (2015). Namibia and Germany negotiating the past. Windhoek: UNAM Press.