After years of negotiating between the German and the Namibian governments a draft “reconciliation agreement” about the recognition of the Herero and Nama genocide was concluded in 2021. The majority of the Herero and Nama immediately rejected the agreements because they didn’t feel adequately represented, a position UN special rapporteurs confirmed in February 2023. In order to prevent the agreement from being signed against their will, Herero and Nama took to court in Windhoek and filed a motion at the High Court. The German government has so far refused to renegotiate the agreement. The reconciliation is in tatters.

To discuss both the legal avenues and the political ways forward to break the deadlock as well as what the future of the reconciliation process might look like, we invited Dr. John Nakuta, a human rights legal scholar from Windhoek, and Karina Theurer from Berlin, who advises the Hereo and Nama in their law suit. The debate was hosted by Prof. Dr. Jürgen Zimmerer as director of the Research Centre Hamburg’s (Post-)Colonial Legacy.

The event was the first part of the series “Colonial Legacy Dialogues”, a cooperation between Kampnagel and the Research Centre Hamburg’s (Post-)Colonial Legacy, in which scholars, activists and artists discuss the connections and effects of colonialism in Hamburg, Germany and the Global South.