Curt von Francois, according to colonial history, was the founder of Windhoek in 1890Image: Lisa Ossenbrink/dpa/picture alliance
Namibia: Statue of German colonial ruler removed
November 23, 2022
A statue of German colonial official, Curt von Francois, was moved from its pedestal in Namibia's capital Windhoek to a museum after activists criticized it as a symbol of oppression.
Authorities in the Namibian capital Windhoek on Wednesday removed a statue of a German colonial governor following a campaign to have it taken down.
Windhoek city spokesman Harold Akwenya told German news agency DPA that the statue of Curt von Francois — considered by many to be the city's founder — would be moved to the Independence Museum for safekeeping.
Former mayor of Windhoek Job Amupanda told DPA that the statue's removal was "the beginning of a process to decolonize Windhoek."
However, not all Namibians are happy to see the removal of von Francois' statue. Local publication, The Namibian, spoke to von Francois' great-grandson Ruprecht von Francois, who told the publication that the move was a slight on von Francois' legacy and amounted to discrimination against Damara history.
Von Francois' great-grandson said that his ancestor was married to his great-Grandmother — Amalia ǃGawaxas, who was a Damara princess — and that as the founder of Windhoek he "has done a lot for this country."
Examining Germany’s brutal history in Namibia
Who was von Francois?
Von Francois was a senior officer in the German colonial forces and according to colonial history, founded Windhoek in 1890.
In 1893, there were skirmishes between German soldiers sent to protect German settlers and local clans including the Herero and Nama. Von Francois ordered an attack on Nama Chief Hendrik Witbooi and the village of Hornkranz during which women, children and the elderly were massacred.
In May 2021, the German government recognized the atrocities committed against the Herero and Nama as genocide and pledged to spend €1.1 billion ($1.3 billion) over 30 years for infrastructure and development aid.
The aid did not include official reparations. Herero and Nama leaders derided the payments as "unacceptable."
Berlin has rejected demands for new negotiations and insists on implementing the controversial deal.