Home ADVANCED LEVEL THE NAMA AND HERERO RESISTANCE (1904 – 1907)

THE NAMA AND HERERO RESISTANCE (1904 – 1907)

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THE NAMA AND HERERO RESISTANCE

THE NAMA AND HERERO RESISTANCE (1904 – 1907)

This  was  an  African  resistance  which  was  waged  by  the  Nama  and  Herero people  in  present  day  Namibia  from  January  1904 – 1907.

Originally, three  main  ethnic  groups  occupied  Namibia, these  were :

  • The  Ambo
  • The  Herero  
  • The  Nama.

The  Ambo  and  the  Herero  consisted  of  Bantu  group  and  engaged  in  animal  husbandry  and  crop  cultivation. The  Nama  were the  Hottentots  who  were  traditionally  the  pastoralists.

Both  of  them  valued  land  for  crop  cultivation  and animal  husbandry.

The  settlement  of  the  Bantu  (The  Ambo  and  Herero) in  Namibia  triggered  traditional  conflicts  between  them  and  the  Hottentots’(Nama).

This  was  due  to  the  fact  that  both  of  them  valued  land  for  economic  activities, The  Bantu  for  Cultivation  while  the  Hottentots’ for  livestock keeping.

The  hostility  went  on  until  the  arrival  of  the  Europeans, who  also  manipulated  this  rivalry  for  their  benefit.

The  Herero  received  warmly  the  Germans  as  the  Herero  hoped  that  the  whites  would  assist  them  against  their  rivals, Nama.

THE NAMA AND HERERO RESISTANCE

Soon  after  their  arrival  in  Herero land, the  Germans  declared  a  protectorate  over  Namibia  and  established  their  administration.

Worse enough, the  Germans  set  up  a  military  base  at  Windhoek  and  launched  various  attacks  on  the  Nama  between  1884 and  1904.

The  Germans  created  various  economic  and  political  policies  that  provoked  the  outbreak  of  the  resistance.  For  example  in  1903, they  inaugurated  the  Settler  Policy  that  demanded  Africans(Both  Nama  and  the  Herero) to  move  out  their  land  and  give  to  white  settlers.

In  January 1904, there w as  a massive  Herero  revolt  against  the  Germans. The Nama joined the  war  in  October  in  the  same  year.

The Nama were under Hendrick Witbooi while the Herero were under Chief Samuel Maherero.

THE NAMA AND HERERO RESISTANCE

REASONS FOR THE OUTBREAK OF NAMA AND HERERO RESISTANCE

Both  the  Nama  and  Herero  had  political, social  and  economic  discontent  as  follows:-

Land alienation

The  German  settlers  alienated  and  occupied  fertile  land  of  the  Africans  and  pushed them  into  unproductive  land. This  created  hostility  between  Africans  and  German  government  something  that  led  to  the  resistance .

Cattle confiscation

The  Nama  and  Herero depended  much  on  cattle   for  their survival. The  Germans  seized  their cattle  in order to  compel  them  to  work  in  German  farms  and  mines. This  angered  them  very  much hence  Nama  and  Herero  resistance.

Introduction to forced labor

 In 1896, the Germans  introduced  forced  labor  as  they  demanded  laborers  in  their  economic sectors. The  Nama  and  Herero  were  forced  to  work  in  railway  construction, public  buildings, plantation  and  mines. Worse  enough  they  were  paid  lowly. This  resulted  into  Nama  and  Herero  resistance.

The outbreak of rinderpest disease

In  1903, there  was  outbreak  of  rinderpest, the  epidemic  that  swept  away  many  Nama  and  Herero  cattle. The  Native  leaders  and  other  spiritual  leaders  expounded  this  epidemics  as  a  curse  from  the  ancestors  who  were  unhappy  with  the  presence  of  the  white men  ion  the  country. Therefore, this  made  the  Nama and  Herero  to  wage a  resistance  against  the  Germans.

Creation of reserves

In  1903, the  colonial  administration  created  area  of  reserves  for  the  Herero  and  Nama. That  means, the  Nama  and  Herero  were forced  to  go  and live  in  the  reserves  near  the  Kalahari  desert. These  reserves  were  barren  and  infected  with  tsetse  flies. This  as  a  result  led  to  the  resistance.

Payment of debts

Soon after  the  arrival  of  the  Germans  in Herero  land, they  established  commercial  relationship  with  Africans  where  Africans (Herero) borrowed  money  from  the  Germans. But  later on, the  Africans  failed  to pay  their  debts  then  the  Germans  started  to  force  them  to  repay.

Worse  enough, the  Germans  demanded  from  the  Africans  high  interest, that  they  were  unable  to pay  and  found  themselves  in  debt  trap.

In  1903, the  Colonial  government  introduced  a  Credit  Ordinance  which  stated  that  all  German money  lenders  were mandated to  accumulated/ collect  their  debts  from Africans  for  the  duration of  one year.

After  that period, the  debt  would  be  invalid. With  this  permission, the  Germans  seized  African  cattle  and  land  and  sold  them  in order  to  regain  their  money.  This angered  Chief  Maherero  and  his  Africans  something  which  led  to  the  resistance.

German administration

Both the Nama and Herero were disgusted by the German  administration  that  never  paid  attention  to  the  traditional  authority.

The  tradition  of  chiefs  were  not  consulted  in  policy  making  something  which affected  their  leadership  position. This led  to  Nama  and Herero  so as  to  regain  their  political  independence.

Cultural interference

The Nama and Herero were not happy with the new culture introduced by the Germans especially the new religion, Christianity. Therefore, Africans resisted because they wanted to maintain their culture.

THE NAMA AND HERERO RESISTANCE

EFFECTS OF NAMA AND HERERO RESISTANCE

Depopulation

Many people lost their lives while others got severe sufferings. This as a result led to depopulation in Namibia.

Land alienation

The natives in Namibia lost their land after the war. The Nama and Herero were thrown out of their fertile land and taken to reserve areas near the Kalahari Desert where many of them died.

Cattle confiscation

The Nama and Herero lost all their cattle after the war. The German government deprived all their cattle.

THE NAMA AND HERERO RESISTANCE

Creation of concentration camps

The Germany government introduced the concentration camps where thousands of women and children were grouped there and many of them died of hunger.

Total colonialism

The defeat of the Nama and Herero paved way for total colonialism in Namibia where the Germans established their colonial government.

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