It was on this fateful day, 2 October 1904 when German imperial genocide normal Lothar von Trotha declared genocide in opposition to the Ovaherero individuals, and prolonged this termination order to the Nama individuals on the 23 April 1905.
This piece focusses primarily on the historic context of Shark Island at Lüderitz having served as a infamous focus camp throughout German colonial occupation and attracts the eye of Namibia’s international coverage with respect to the continued bilateral negotiations with the Federal Republic of Germany. The interval from 1904 to 1908 represents a darkish chapter within the Namibian historical past and the fallout echoes loudly in our society as we speak.
It’s critical that the longer term improvement of Shark Island varieties a part of the bilateral negotiations in an try to put issues proper when it comes to Namibia’s post-colonial improvement narratives aided by the German authorities’s reparations and reconstruction packages.
Shark Island with its ugly colonial historical past noticed primarily a whole lot of captured the Nama and Ovaherero members being raped, humiliated, tortured beneath harsh climate circumstances -and mass killings. Different atrocities dedicated by German fascist imperial troopers and their henchmen throughout 1904-08 included amongst different issues; robbing indigenous communities of their land, small livestock, cattle and hard-earned wealth and so on.
In February this yr, the Namibian authorities declared Shark Island as nationwide heritage web site. Nonetheless, the lingering query is what would occur subsequent given Shark Island’s dehumanizing function beneath imperial colonial German occupation of Namibia. These tragic episodes cannot be ignored within the ongoing bilateral negotiations between Namibia and Germany, significantly in relation to Shark Island heritage web site.
Presently, Shark Island is being managed by Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) as a tenting facility. The Island has remained largely the identical – with little or no seen enhancements over the past thirty odd years. When getting into the Island, you’re greeted by dotted rock outcrops, embellished plagues within the picture of Adolf Lüderitz and German imperial troopers who perished within the “silly struggle” of slaughter. From the look of issues, Shark Island is paying homage to an deserted cemetery. To place it bluntly, it appears like a forgotten space. Sadly, and paradoxically, the names of indigenous fallen heroes and heroines who fought with bravery and resisted colonialism are absent to this present day.
Clearly, the absence of pictures and symbols depicting the anti-colonial resistance and liberation struggles waged by our ancestors is deeply worrying and represent a misrepresentation of historical past.
This unacceptable state of affairs raises eyebrows, which means that there’s a case to be made urgently to place issues in correct historic context. It’s subsequently logical that the Namibian negotiators be daring sufficient to influence their German counterparts to revive the dignity of the affected communities. It’s completely essential at this age and time that Namibia secures nationwide improvement initiatives which might be extremely impactful on then long run when it comes to socio-economic advantages to the affected communities, additionally sustainable in nature and people who could stimulate Namibian economy-and create new alternatives for subsequent generations to return.
It’s for this compelling motive that this piece examines the influence of the mixture of tradition historical past and tourism on Shark Island. It’s subsequently proposed to assemble Namibia’s first ever Genocide Memorial Museum on Shark Island. Given its historical past, the island is best positioned to deal with the proposed Namibia’s Genocide Memorial Museum. Put in another way, Shark Island might develop into a sacred web site of remembrance.
Genocide Memorial Museum initiatives which might be professionally managed have confirmed profitable in locations akin to Bosnia, Cambodia and Rwanda in post-conflict period. These memorial museums have develop into widespread international locations on the “genocide tourism” map. That’s the reason it’s envisioned to determine a dwelling genocide memorial museum – a museum that will memorialise the victims, educate the historical past and classes of the genocide, and work to forestall future genocides wherever else on the earth. Memorials and museums from an intrinsic a part of state and society in post-conflict societies, and a comparative strategy can seize the dynamics of reminiscence politics and assist nation/state constructing challenge.
Furthermore, this text seeks for the institution of the museum that enables guests to discover quite a lot of informative reveals on genocide historical past with the Namibian traits. The proposed Shark Island Genocide Memorial Museum will likely be excellent to deal with all human skulls, different important artifacts and antiques that have been repatriated from Germany to Namibia in recent times in addition to human stays that could be found in future.
The proposed museum challenge additional goals to create consciousness about Africa’s huge, dynamic and various cultural artefacts and the affect Africa has had and continues to have on the assorted cultures of the world within the space of tradition. This Nationwide Memorial Genocide Museum will likely be a focal middle for preserving and selling the African cultural heritage.
Cultural tourism has been one of many largest and quickest rising international tourism markets earlier than the Covid-19 pandemic hit international economies. Doubtless, the sort of museums will likely be widespread locations once more in publish -Corona virus period.
Tradition and artistic industries are more and more getting used to advertise locations and improve their competitiveness and attractiveness. Namibia has a lot to offer- that is essentially the most opportune time to behave decisively. Within the context of ongoing bilateral negotiations; and as part of reparations bundle, the Federal Republic of Germany might be persuaded to contribute considerably in direction of the belief of this noble nationwide challenge. Not solely will German and different European vacationers be interested in this museum however this can present elevated understanding to native successive generations concerning the genocidal acts.
It’s additional proposed that the museum characteristic amongst different issues, a gallery, library, exhibition halls, café & reward store, amphitheater designed to host giant memorial occasions of historic significance, academic workshops, dramatic performances, cultural and historic occasions and movie screenings and so on.
In different phrases, the theatre might host quite a lot of occasions from remembrance ceremonies to festivals for humanity. It might additionally embrace kids gallery with on-going actions for studying, discovering and having enjoyable. The brand new technology of museums are designed to develop into thrilling to go to for all age groups- and key catalyst for brand spanking new service-based economies as within the case of the West as we speak.
If one appears on the harbor city of Lüderitz, that is an space of robust heritage historical past and powerful enchantment provided that its potential is totally realised. Given the present financial difficulties- there’s have to get additional inventive and aggressive in advertising new modern concepts. To finish the vacationer expertise, a Nationwide Memorial Genocide Museum challenge ties in nicely with the continued state funded Lüderitz Waterfront improvement and different native websites of historic significance which might be frequented by primarily international guests.
Cultural tourism is essential for varied causes: it has a constructive financial and social impact- it establishes and reinforces identification & helps to construct picture. Travellers can study and recognize the cultures of Namibia. Africa’s range is seen in its different cultures, long-standing customs, hanging surroundings and wildlife. This fascinating combine could entice a gentle stream of holiday makers from world wide.
Given the urgency, the actual work ought to begin instantly to place issues proper at Shark Island. However how will we proceed in ensuring this noble challenge comes into fruition? As some extent of departure, there’s pressing want for a nicely structured, and all- inclusive dialog involving related events round this envisaged Nationwide Genocide Memorial Museum challenge. A challenge of this magnitude wants a champion who enjoys broad assist from the state and non-state actors. On this regard, the Namibian state ought to assume an activist function in facilitating capital funding from German authorities as a part of the reparations and reconstruction packages for the complete realisation of this noble concept.
Nonetheless, the Nationwide Genocide Memorial Museum ought to be managed by these within the know for apparent reason- a devoted non-public enterprise will likely be finest positioned to run it strictly on enterprise ideas, and generate a lot wanted revenues for its sustainability. The incomes generated from this enterprise ought to be invested again into the memorial to assist the preservation of archives and to run quite a lot of schooling programmes.
We owe it to all our fallen Namibian heroes and heroines who fought with bravery, resisted colonialism in any respect prices and find yourself paying the final word worth. Furthermore, if this improvement plan is nicely executed and marketed correctly, the museum might probably develop into a significant gateway to Namibia’s developmental ambition. Cities and areas that thrive on this age and time are those that will likely be differentiated by their energetic cultural sense of place, protected pure areas, and deep delight in native character.
The proposal of creating the Nationwide Memorial Genocide Museum on Shark Island ties in nicely with the African Union a lot touted Agenda 2063. It acknowledges the essential function that tradition performs in mobilising and unifying individuals round frequent beliefs and selling African tradition to construct the beliefs of Pan-Africanism.
*Fluksman Samuehl is a scholar of Worldwide Relations and Strategic Research with particular curiosity in worldwide political economic system, diplomacy, international coverage and political historical past. He served as a member of parliament (1999-2004). The opinions expressed herein are his personal.