Germany asks forgiveness for colonial violence in Tanzania


“As German President, I ask for forgiveness for what Germans did to your ancestors here,” Steinmeier said on Tuesday in the Tanzanian city of Songea. The Germans ruled “with cruel harshness” in the then colony of German East Africa and he is ashamed of that, Steinmeier said.

One of the bloodiest chapters of German colonial history took place in German East Africa. In the so-called Maji-Maji uprising, people rebelled against the high taxes imposed by the German colonial rulers. The uprising was severely suppressed. An estimated 300,000 deaths occurred among the population in German East Africa – which more or less corresponds to present-day Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda. Most people died as a result of the systematic destruction of fields and villages by the German colonial forces.

Germany has not yet officially recognized the killings in German East Africa as a war crime. Steinmeier said in Songea that Germany is prepared to jointly process the past. “No one should forget what happened back then.” The Federal President also promised that skulls of former resistance fighters will be returned. According to the president, there are “hundreds, perhaps thousands”. They were taken to Germany as trophies by the colonial rulers and are still in museums and anthropological collections there. Read more at Tagesschau

In approximately the same period as the colonial violence in German East Africa, the genocide of the Herero and the Nama also took place in then German South West Africa, today’s Namibia. An estimated 70,000 people were killed. Germany apologized for this in 2021 and promised to pay 1.1 billion euros in development and reconciliation projects. The representatives of the Herero and the Nama found this completely inadequate. As far as we know, discussions about this are still ongoing. Read more at Der Spiegel

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Germany asks forgiveness colonial violence Tanzania


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