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Namibia: Pain to Pay For

Genocide survivors still waiting for justice after a century

Swakopmund is a very popular Namibian seaside resort but very few people talk about the history of this city. It was founded as the main harbour for Germany in South West Africa. It was here that the first concentration camps emerged. According to statistics, approximately 40 percent of the prisoners in Swakopmund died during their first four months of captivity, and any prisoner who was brought to the camp was likely to be dead within ten months.

The genocide in Namibia that took place between 1904 and 1908, was one of the darkest chapters in German history. The colonial forces systematically exterminated thousands of Herero and Nama people through mass killings, forced labour, and captivity in concentration camps.

The wounds of the past are still deep. ‘Genocide is not history, but the reality of our lives. The land we have lost then has not been returned,’ says Nandiuasora Mazeingo, President of the Herero Genocide Fund. The scars of the German genocide continue to shape the lives of Namibia's people. Will they be able to get justice?