A Colonial-Era Wound Opens in Namibia

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tags: genocide, Namibia



The statue, depicting a German marine holding a rifle in his hands and standing guard over a dying comrade, has stood undisturbed for decades in the most prominent spot in Swakopmund, a city on Namibia’s coast.

It has survived the end of colonial rule in this corner of southern Africa, the subsequent occupation by apartheid South Africa, independence in 1990 and the present government by the black majority.

But a few months ago protesters spilled red paint over the monument, which stands in front of a colonial building that is now known as the State House and serves as the summer residence of Namibia’s president.

The statue, known as the Marine Denkmal, was erected in 1908 to commemorate soldiers who helped crush a rebellion against German colonial rule by the Herero and Nama ethnic groups, a war that led to what Germany’s current government is close to recognizing as a genocide.




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