Herero Skull Return Raises Issues of Recognition and Reparation
By SONJA DECHIAN | Published: NOVEMBER 11, 2011
In October the skulls of some of the victims of the Herero and Nama genocide of 1904 – 1907 were returned to Namibia. The skulls were used by German researchers ‘to formulate a theory that African muscles were apparently less developed than those of Europeans.’
A Namibian delegation to Germany said the purpose of their visit ‘was to extend a hand of friendship … [and] to engage both the Namibian and German governments in a Structured Dialogue for Restorative Justice.’
A German minister asked for the country’s forgiveness during a visit in 2004, but no formal admission of genocide has been made.
In the two weeks since repatriation of the skulls, a number of articles have addressed the issue, commenting on the German reception of the delegation and calling for reparation and other resources to ‘build the united Namibian nation’ as well as for recognition that genocide occurred.