WINDHOEK, 01 SEP – “I bow my head in profound sorrow. I cannot undo the terrible injustice committed by our ancestors. But here in the land of your ancestors, I again ask for your forgiveness from the bottom of my heart.”
This was the personal apology German Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, Michelle Müntefering gave at the official handover of the third repatriated human remains at the Parliament Gardens on Friday.
Müntefering said the horrific acts that were committed in the past by the German colonial regime should not be forgotten.
“Germany is also working at international level to ensure that the progress that humanity has achieved in terms of universal human rights and international cooperation will not be lost,” she said.
Müntefering said the German government would make efforts to determine the origin of as many human remains as possible that have been kept in Germany.
“This third repatriation of human remains from Germany to Namibia takes place under different circumstances than before, as it is the first time that Germany and Namibia have taken up formal negotiations with the view to addressing the open wounds of history,” she added.
She said the Nama and Ovaherero people, whose remains were taken to Germany during the colonial era, surrendered their lives first and then their dignity, which was taken when their remains were sent to various institutions in Germany under horrific circumstances for scientific research, which really had nothing to do with science.
The German Foreign Minister further added that she stood ashamed before Namibians because of the atrocities that were committed during her country’s colonial past.
“The arrogance and the horrible thought that our culture was superior to use and in a word ‘racism’: Today we know how appalling and wrong that all was,” she said.