Namibia 1904-2004: Herero Land is Ours

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A collection of materials on the anti-colonial resistance struggle in Namibia. For confirmation lessons, junior and senior high school level and adult education. Edited by Ökumenische Werkstatt Wuppertal [Ecumenical Workshop], 2003

In 2004, the commemoration of the genocide of the Herero and Nama people committed by the German Schutztruppe 100 years ago led to a heightened awareness of Germans of their colonial past. TV documentations, the exhibition “Namibia – Germany. A Shared History?”, local initiatives to come to terms with colonial history and a number of conferences offered opportunities at least to the interested public to find initiatives and forums to discuss the German colonial past.

Although colonialism has increasingly been included in school text books and materials for political education in recent years, the topic is often delegated to the “true colonial powers” like Great Britain, Spain or France or reduced to the suppression of the so-called “Herero rebellion”. At the same time school text books still reproduce colonial, partly racist, but at least strongly stereotyped images of Africa, as Anke Poenicke found out in her analysis of the images of Africa in German school books.

The publication under review edited by the “Ökumenische Werkstatt Wuppertal” is an exception. It provides materials and lessons plans to facilitate a more conscious perception and interpretation of colonial history and the genocide, also with a view to one’s own actions and attitudes. The collection, consisting of a booklet and a CD-ROM, does not only provide, as its subtitle announces, materials like videos, audio recordings, maps or a Power Point presentation as an introduction t the topic “anti-colonial resistance struggle in Namibia”, but it also offers a multitude of methodological ideas including activities and teaching/learning units to work on the materials provided. Three modules called “Colonialism in Namibia”, “Colonial War and Genocide” and “Coming to Terms with Colonialism Today” are presented with concrete time plans, materials needed and lesson plans.

The authors tackle the topics from a historical, political, ethical, theological and also from a mission theory perspective. A special focus lies on the effects of colonialism on the present time, e.g. colonial and racist opinions of white Germans or implications for theological work in today’s Namibia.

The wide selection of materials includes primary sources, e.g. photographs, documents, diaries or publications of the Rhenian Mission Society as well as secondary literature of varying degrees of difficulty, e.g. scientific and journalistic articles and belletrist texts. The material on the debate on paying compensation is especially interesting as it has not been included in other methodological-didactical publications.

An article of about 20 pages length about the debate on defining the suppression of the resistance struggle as genocide and the problem of compensation finalises the publication. The text provides an easily understandable introduction to the topic and an indispensable background knowledge for multipliers to work with the proposed methodology.

This collection of materials is highly recommended for teaching in schools and for non-school historical and political education.

It is available at the following address for a cover fee of 10,- Euros:

Vereinte Evangelische Mission
Rudolfstr. 137
D-42285 Wuppertal
Mail: info [at] vemission [dot] org

More information:

  • Susan Arndt und Antje Hornscheidt (Hg.): Afrika und die deutsche Sprache. Ein kritisches Nachschlagewerk. Münster: UNRAST-Verlag 2004
  • Susan Arndt (Hg.): AfrikaBilder. Studien zu Rassismus in Deutschland. Münster: UNRAST-Verlag 2001
  • Janntje Böhlke-Itzen: Kolonialschuld und Entschädigung. Der deutsche Völkermord an den Herero 1904-1907. Brandes und Apsel Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2004
  • Anke Poenicke: Afrika in deutschen Medien und Schulbüchern. KAS 2001. unter:
  • Joachim Zeller/ Jürgen Zimmerer (Hg.): Völkermord in Deutsch - Südwestafrika. Der Kolonialkrieg (1904 - 1908) in Namibia und seine Folgen. Ch. Links 2003.


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