‘Do not spare any man, any woman, any child, kill them all’ . Words the German emperor William II himself spoke, as an order to exterminate the Herero people of Namibia. This colonial tragedy was the first genocide of the 20th century.
Further to the Berlin conference of 1885, in which the European nations have established the rules to invade Africa, Germany insidiously established its domination over Namibia, then called the African South-West by the invader. The colonial governor Leutwein said ‘the lands must obviously be transferred from the hands of the natives to those of the Whites. This is the goal of the colonization of the territory. Whites must occupy the lands. Therefore, the natives must leave and become servants or will have to go away’.
The abuses against the native Herero people were going on; their lands taken from them and their cattle were confiscated. They were killed for no reason and beaten when they were employed. Like in Tasmania and in the concentration universe of America, the lack of White women – 1 woman for 5 men – engendered mass rape of Black women. So much that kind of practice was common, that the Germans even gave it names. As a symbol of segregation, a German colonizer killed a local chief’s daughter-in-law because she refused his advances. The colonial justice acquitted Dietrich and then sentenced him to only 3 years of prison on appeal.
Before this awful situation upon them, the Herero organized themselves, lead by their chief Samuel Maherero and decided to strike the invaders in 1904, killing 128 of them. There was the beginning of the war. They used guerrilla methods, taking advantage of the environment laden with diseases unknown for the Europeans. They took the advantage, camouflaged themselves in the bushes to surprise the enemy. The Germans found themselves in difficulty before an enemy they considered inferior and uncivilized.
The Reich responded sending reinforcement lead by a harsh man called Lothar Von Trotha. By way of repression, Trotha instituted the systematic massacre of the Herero, as well as the Nama and Baster – who are the mix between the Nama and the Whites. On August 11th 1904, 60 000 Herero along with their 5000 to 6000 warriors were surrounded and eventually defeated.
They were compelled to run away towards the Kalahari Desert, chased by the German troops and slaughtered. They died of thirst, of hunger, of heat and the water of the wells was poisoned by the Europeans, action probably consented by William II. The Germans were completely excited before the macabre scenes of death in the desert. They would kill every war prisoner. They burnt them alive. Thousands of women and children were killed. Survivors were sent to concentration camps where they died in mass. Over 3500 Herero and Nama sent to the concentration camp of Shark Island, only 193 got out alive when the camp was closed in 1906.
Three thirds of the Herero, of the Nama, of the Hottentots and of the Baster died. 90% of the Herero disappeared. Scientific studies about the Baster where directed by Eugene Fischer and concluded that ‘Hottentots and the bastard populations of the German African South-West must only live if they are useful at work’ . Eugene Fischer became a first-rank theorist of Nazism.
In 2004 some German MP’s expressed their ‘regrets’ about the genocide but Germany still refuses to pay in the least cent for reparations to the descendants of the massacred people of Namibia.
By: Lisapo ya Kama © (All rights reserved. Any copying or translation of the text of this article is strictly forbbiden without the written approval of Lisapo ya Kama)
- Benjamin Madley for the University of Yale
- La férocité blanche, des non-Blancs aux non-Aryens : genocides occultées de 1492 à nos jours (White ferocity, from non-Whites to non-Aryans, 1492 to now-a-days hidden genocides); Rosa Amelia Plumelle Uribe.
-  Idem, page 140
-  Benjamin Madley for the university of Yale, page 186
-  La férocité blanche; Rosa Amelia Plumelle Uribe; page 123