Damara Genocide 1904 – 1908

Dear Editor,

Please allow me to bring forth the concerns and reservations the Damara people have regarding the 1904-1908 genocide. There is ample historical evidence that the Damara people were highly affected by the genocide 1904-1908.

It is pathetic that the Namas, Hereros, the German government and the current Namibian government find it convenient to ignore this historical reality.

In fact, the systematic extermination of the Damaras dates as far back as the 19th century when the Germans invaded Namibia, the then German South West Africa. The Germans while invading our territory clashed with the Damaras and San people, the original inhabitants of vast geographical areas of South West Africa.

Unfortunately this historical fact is not captured in all modern written history, but some storytelling, oral and written history reflections are proof thereof.

The Damara people, unfortunately and regrettably, were let down by the lack of pro-activeness on the part of the Damara traditional leadership when the talks on genocide were initiated. This has led to the non-recognition of the Damara people.

It is highly illogical for anyone to state that the original inhabitants, the Damaras, could not have been affected by the genocide. Some serious questions and factors need to be examined and explored in order to substantiate our position obviously to the discomfort of some ill-informed, false and fake historians.

The historical truth is that 65 000 – 80 000 which was about 80 percent of Hereros, more than 17 000 Damaras about 57 percent and 10 000 Namas which was about 51 percent were killed.

In addition, a substantial number of San people were also killed. The German government has acknowledged that indeed the Damara and San communities were also massacred as indicated in the declaration.

It is our stance that the killing of 57 percent of Damaras over a period of four years was no massacre but an act of genocide.

It is however regrettable that the Namibian government and the negotiation team has to this date failed to correct the false narrative that 1904 – 1908 genocide was committed only against the Nama and the Herero.

The 1904 – 1908 genocide was a systematic and intentionally targeted against Damara and the San communities. The killing of 57 percent of total Damara population was no coincidence of mistaken identity or them being in the wrong place at the wrong time or them being amongst the Hereros and Namas.

In conclusion, we emphasise that we do not seek any confrontation or conflict situation against anyone. The only intent of Damaras is to have justice and the restoration of our dignity for the genocide of 57 percent of Damaras.

In no way should our pursuit for justice be seen as threat to take away or diminish the heinous crime of genocide equally committed against our fellow countrymen the San, Namas and Hereros.

In our struggle for justice and dignity some progressive thinking Namas and Hereros counterparts expressed their full support and sympathy towards our just cause.

*Archillaus Namaseb

Chairperson Genoland Steering Community