herero women

Besides, trying to find some primordially authentic culture can be like peeling an onion. The textiles most people think of as traditional West African cloths are known as Java prints; they arrived in the 19th century with the Javanese batiks sold, and often milled, by the Dutch. The traditional garb of Herero women in Namibia derives from the attire of 19th-century German missionaries, though it is still unmistakably Herero, not least because the fabrics used have a distinctly un-Lutheran range of colors. And so with our kente cloth: the silk was always imported, traded by Europeans, produced in Asia. This tradition was once an innovation. Should we reject it for that reason as untraditional? How far back must one go? Should we condemn the young men and women of the University of Science and Technology, a few miles outside Kumasi, who wear European-style gowns for graduation, lined with kente strips (as they do now at Howard and Morehouse, too)? Cultures are made of continuities and changes, and the identity of a society can survive through these changes. Societies without change aren’t authentic; they’re just dead.
—  Kwame Anthony Appiah, The Case for Contamination

Today marks the 100 year anniversary of the Armenian genocide Media coverage has focused on the refusal of Turkey to acknowledge the genocide It is indisputable Ottoman Turks carried out genocide against the Armenians in 1915 But the oft-repeated assertion that it was the first genocide of the 20th century is wrong: it was the attempted annihilation of the Herero by the Germans in South-West Africa (present-day Namibia) from 1904 to 1907. The language, methods and scale of the Herero genocide remain shocking even in the aftermath of the horrors of the Holocaust. In their quest to occupy and exploit the territory of the pastoralist Herero, the German colonizers recruited a mercenary army led by Lt. Gen. Lothar von Trotha. The Vernichtungsbefehl (“Destruction Order”) he issued was terrifyingly clear: “Within the German borders, every Herero, whether armed or unarmed, with or without cattle, shall be shot.” and The genocide culminated in the infamous “march into death” of Herero who were forced into the Omaheke Desert The Germans sealed the perimeter with guard towers, poisoned water sources and then bayoneted to death Herero who attempted to escape dehydration An official history of the German General Staff compiled after the genocide rightly concluded: “The arid Omaheke was to complete what the German army had begun: the annihilation of the Herero people” Those who survived the desert were sent to concentration camps where captured Herero soldiers, along with women and children, were forced to work. Women boiled and scraped the skin off the heads of Herero who had been killed. Those skulls were then shipped off to Germany for museum displays and eugenics research and Recent articles highlight that Hitler, while planning the Final Solution, dismissively remarked “Who remembers the Armenian genocide?” Indeed, even less known was (and remains) the Herero genocide which has many parallels with the Holocaust: the destruction order, the concentration camps, the forced labor. The so-called scientific research by German geneticist Eugen Fischer who argued that mixed-race children in South-West Africa were inferior to the offspring of German parents, was cited in Hitler’s Mein Kampf Up to 80% of the Herero died during the genocide. While a former official of the German government apologized for the genocide on its 100th anniversary in 2004, the Herero have never received reparations.Let us set the historical record straight: the first genocide of the 20th century was carried out by Europeans in Africa