Thursday, May 06, 2010

Namibia / Germany / Herero and Nama Genocides

Namibia: Herero and Nama Skulls to Be Preserved, Not Buried
By Brigitte Weidlich
The Namibian (Windhoek) on, May 6, 2010
"The skulls of erstwhile Herero and Nama prisoners of war under German colonial rule, which have been kept in boxes at German universities, should not be buried once they return to Namibia but be preserved 'professionally', a committee has decided. About ten chiefs of the Ovaherero Ovaherero/Ovambanderu Council for Dialogue on 1904 Genocide (OCD-1904) met at Okahandja last weekend to discuss the issue. 'It was decided that the skulls should become the property of the Namibian Government so that they can be kept in a professional way to keep the memory of this part of Namibian history alive for future generations,' Festus Tjikuua, secretary to the technical committee of the OCD-1904, told The Namibian yesterday. 'The fifth OCD-1904 summit decided in principle that the skulls should not be buried.'
The skulls were re-discovered in 2008, a century after the Herero-Nama uprising against German imperialism had ended. The 47 skulls of Nama and Herero prisoners on Shark Island at Lüderitz, sent to Germany for 'scientific research', are in the cellars of the Charite University of Berlin. Another 12 skulls from indigenous Namibian prisoners of war were found at the University of Freiburg in Germany. The German government has offered to repatriate the skulls. Several chiefs of the Herero and Nama communities indicated that they wanted to travel to Germany to perform traditional rites before the skulls are packed and transported back to Namibia. According to well-placed sources, the Namibian Government mulled the idea to bury the skulls either at Heroes Acre or another place still to be identified. Some Nama leaders also suggested burying the skulls on Shark Island. ... According to a newspaper in Germany, Badische Zeitung, of November 14 2009, the Charite University in Berlin has in principle offered to return the Namibian skulls. It is doing the same with skulls of Australian aborigines stored there. [...]"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be constructive in your comments. - AJ