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[LISTEN] Germany Apologises to Nambia for Colonial Genocide, France asks Rwanda for Forgiveness, & Will the Catholic Church Apologise for Endorsing Slavery?

May 31, 2021

Herero men in chains in German South West Africa, now Namibia. The German government has been in talks with Namibia since 2014 to ‘heal the wounds’ of its atrocities there. Photograph: Chronicle/Alamy Stock Photo

Faizel Patel – 31/05/2021

(Twitter: @FaizelPatel143)

University of South Africa international law professor emeritus Andre Thomashausen says Germany has accepted that it has history of colonial abuse and made amends for the wrongs it has committed.

Professor Thomashausen was speaking to Radio Islam on Monday about Germany’s apology to Namibia for its role in the slaughter of Herero and Nama tribespeople more than a century ago.

Germany officially described the massacre as genocide for the first time, as it agreed to fund projects worth over a billion euros.

German soldiers killed about 65,000 Herero and 10,000 Nama members in a 1904-1908 campaign after a revolt against land seizures by colonists in what historians and the United Nations (UN) have called the first genocide of the 20th century.

Thomashausen says it has taken many years for the Germans to say sorry.

“There was even an attempted court case against the German government for reparations. There have been delegations of Namibians going to Berlin a few years ago, they were not even received by the minister of foreign affairs and they were not respected. I think the new government has understood that the world is looking at the enormous international crime, the enormous abuse during the colonisation of Africa in a different way.”

Thomashausen says the Catholic Church may be among the last entities who is yet to apologise.

“Maybe the last one that hasn’t moved is the Catholic Church who endorsed slavery and is definitely guilty for having found arguments to justify slavery. The big reparations, debate of course in America is also still about the benefits of America from the slave trade, from the enormous amount of work generated without any compensation.”

Thomashausen says while the apologies by Germany to Namibia, France to Rwanda and Lloyds for London for insuring ships carrying slave trade is an awakening, but the great difficulty lies into how it can be turned into legal consequences and compensation for harm done by previous generations.


Listen to the interview Professor Andre Thomashausen






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