Genocide Survivors Project

Genocide Survivors – Otjozondjima/Okozondje, Epukiro-Namibia

The goal of the Genocide Survivors Project is to identify, recognize, honor, and celebrate our forbearers who experienced and survived the Ovaherero and Nama Genocides. They endured unspeakable horror and gave us life. Their sacrifice, hard work, bravery, and steadfastness paved the way for our communities’ survival, resurgence, and revitalization.

There are many ways to honor and memorialize our heroines and heroes. Knowing and saying their names, creating memorials in their honor, telling stories about their lives and experiences, and emulating their selfless sacrifices to give future generations a bright future.

Genocide Survivors Remembered 8-27-20 lines v

The attached memorial document has the names of genocide survivors buried at Otjozondjima/Okozondje in Epukiro, Namibia. Among the survivors buried at Otjozondjima are Johanna Tembo ua Murangi, sister to Rapote ua Murangi. Rapote and his wife Katjiukua ua Kavari died during the genocide in 1904 at Ohamakari. Their daughters survived the genocide and are buried at Otjozondjima. Also buried here are Komiiri Muamina Wilfried Mundjua and Friedrich Makono, to name a few individuals. Both were involved in helping write Hosea Kutako’s petition to the United Nations.

Information was collected in January 2020, and involved taking pictures of burial headstones of all individuals born before or during the 1904-1908 genocides and survived the genocide. The names and dates were entered into a database of genocide survivors.

These hallowed burial grounds are archives of culture and history. Current and future generations must access and celebrate these treasures. Project staff will work with survivors’ descendants to develop an anthology about these heroines and heroes.

Please contact Dr. Kavemuii Murangi at 1904genocidesurvivors@gmail.com if you want to contribute and help develop a database of genocide survivors or wish to share ideas about honoring survivors. Otjozondjima was first, next we will feature genocide survivors buried at Otjeue, Aminius, Namibia.

Ekuamo ra Kahimemua indi?

A German-Namibian Colonial History – The Belt of Kahimemua Nguvauva – by Christiane Habermalz. The following is an un-official Google Translation (English) of “Der Gürtel des Kahimemua Nguvauva” which was written in German. The original article in German is available at https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/eine-deutsch-namibische-kolonialgeschichte-der-guertel-des.976.de.html?dram:article_id=469578

Kahimemua’s Belt English

“There is no foreign independent or impartial forum” in which to file case (except US District Court)

According to an amended complaint filed by lawyers representing Ovaherero and Nama people, Germany “directed and benefited (and continues to benefit) from the genocide of the Ovaherero and Nama peoples and the expropriation of Ovaherero and Nama land, livestock, concession, taxation, and customs rights, human labor, body parts, and other property without compensation in violation of international law.”

Countering Germany’s motion to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction, the amended complaint asserts that property and wealth stolen from Ovaherero and Nama people have found its way to the USA (as part of Germany’s commercial activities), with negative consequences for the USA and New York, thereby giving the US District Court jurisdiction over the genocide issue.

https://theongi.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Amended-Class-Action-Complaint-with-docket-text.pdf

Amended Class Action Complaint with docket text

 

 

Joint Resolution of the October 14/15th Transnational Conference Prussian Colonial Heritage Sacred Objects and Human Remains in Berlin Museums

“We, the undersigned speakers, presenters and participants of the transnational conference “Prussian
Colonial Heritage: Sacred Objects and Human Remains in Berlin Museums” on October 14/15, 2017
in the Centre Français de Berlin recognize that communities all over the world have lost a
considerable part of their cultural heritage, including even “sensitive materials” – comprising “sacred
objects” and “human remains” – by force and fraud in the wake of colonial conquests.”

ConferenceResolutionDeutschEnglish.pdf

Reclaiming the Remains: ONGI Working to Repatriate 11 Namibian Remains

Early this year (2017), the ONGI signed a cooperation agreement with the Berliner Gesellschaft für Archäologie, Ethnologie und Urgeschichte (BGAEU) to conduct provenance research on Namibian human remains so that they can be repatriated.   BGAEU is a scientific society in Berlin, Germany that has in its possession human remains from different parts of the world including 11 from Namibia.  ONGI was invited to discuss our cooperation with BGAEU at the Prusssina Colonial Heritage: Sacred Objects and Human Remains in Berlin Museums, October 14 – 14, in Berlin Germany.  

Video Presentation:

 

 

Omuara Aletta Nguvauva Travels to NYC Seeking Restorative Justice

Aletta Nguvauva, Paramount Chief of the OvaMbanderu Traditional Council visited New York city to attend a court case hearing on Thursday October 12, to view Namibian human remains recently discovered at the American Museum of Natural History, and consult with Ovaherero/Ovambanderu descendants in the USA. What follows are her thoughts on the case and the struggle for restorative justice for the genocides.

What is the purpose of your visit to the USA? What do you hope to accomplish?

I came to New York to attend to a legal proceeding concerning the Genocide case that was filed here.  We hoped that all aspects of the proceeding would be sorted out this time so that Germany can finally have her day in court to answer to the demands for reparations for the genocide committed in Namibia against the Nama, Ovaherero and Ovambanderu.  Unfortunately, Germany has thus far refused to respond and once again did not show up in court.  While that is unfortunate, it is not surprising.  But I am happy that the judge agreed to our request to postpone the case until January 25, 2018.

What does this case mean to you and the people you represent?

This case means quite a lot to the Namas, Ovaherero and Ovambanderu people as it entails another attempt by the victim communities to get Germany to own up to its historical responsibilities.  The case also demonstrates the determination of the victim communities to take any possible step necessary to get Germany to the point of respectfully dealing with them.

What other means are you using to try and secure restorative justice for your people?

The communities of victims have an elaborate awareness campaign going to bring the message of this genocide, most notably to Germany itself.  There are also concerted attempts to inform fellow Namibians about the genocide so as to build a national understanding on the matter.

What does restorative justice mean for you?  What is it that you are asking or expecting from the German government?

Our ancestors lost their livestock and land through manipulations, systematic plunder and finally confiscation.  They were ultimately ordered to leave the country through the notorious Extermination Order of 2 October 1904.  Their livestock and land was thus left behind as they fled for their lives.

Those who somehow survived the genocide found that it was a capital offence to own any livestock and these was thus forfeited to the new German ‘State’.  Gracing rights were introduced and the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu were denied these to finally rob them of all the livestock.

Restorative justice to us means the compensation of the Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Namas for their land and livestock that was taken from them without any compensation.  We are for example, expecting Germany to make funds available for the development of the communal areas inhabited by the victim communities as well as for the acquisition of commercial farming land for the resettlement of members of the victim communities.

ONGI recently helped to uncover Namibian remains here in New York City at the American Museum of Natural History.  How do you feel about that? What was it like seeing those remains?

We learnt about this development a few weeks ago with mixed emotions. My mind snapped back to the year 2011 when I first saw human remains in Germany as part of a huge delegation of Namas, Ovaherero and Ovambanderu traditional leaders who went to accompany the repatriation of the human remains from Germany under the then Minister Sports and culture, Kazenambo Kazenambo.  It is never easy seeing the human remains of your ancestors, including skulls and entire skeletons, who were stolen from their motherland, sold and transported across the globe. I am deeply saddened by this discovery, and equally determined to work hard to make sure justice is served, and that the horrors perpetuated in the service of twisted notions of white supremacy are exposed so they are not repeated.

 

What are your thoughts on what should happen to the remains? Should they stay here as some have suggested or should they be returned home?

What is important to me is the process that we (Namibians) as a collective, should follow to come to a decision on final resting place of these remains.  Look, it is my understanding that there are remains from our Sam and Damara compatriots.  Culturally, these remains might have a completely different meaning or significance to them, compared to the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu.  That is why I think a broad national dialogue is needed to determine the appropriate manner and timing of their return to Namibia.

It is our stated position that everything looted by colonialists from Namibia including cultural artifacts should be returned home.  Human remains are even more sacred and must, after a thorough consultation among all stakeholders, and appropriate research about identity and origins, be returned home.