Namibian politician named after Adolf Hitler tells German newspaper there′s nothing to fear | News | DW | 03.12.2020
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Namibian politician named after Adolf Hitler tells German newspaper there's nothing to fear

A politician whose father named him after the infamous German leader overwhelmingly won his race in Ompundja. He told Bild that his father "probably didn't understand what Adolf Hitler stood for" when naming him.

Street sign reading Bahnhofstraße and Independece Avenue in Windhoek, Namibia

Namibia, a former German colony, still shows several signs of its imperial-era roots

Adolf Hitler Uunona of the ruling, center-left SWAPO party was sworn in as a councillor for the northern district of Ompundja in the Oshana region of Namibia on Wednesday. Uunona captured nearly 85% of the vote in his victory. Known for his work as a civil rights activist and anti-apartheid fighter, Uunona says he never thought much of the name while growing up. 

In a recent interview with the German tabloid Bild, he said his father, "probably didn't understand what Adolf Hitler stood for." Uunona, who indeed goes by his full name in public, says, "It wasn't until I was growing up that I realized this man wanted to subjugate the whole world." He assured the paper, "I have nothing to do with any of these things."   

Colonization, occupation and independence

Namibia, located in southwest Africa, was a German colony between 1884 and 1915, hence the prevalence of Germanic names and even a small German-speaking community.  

Known then as German South West Africa, the colony was invaded by neighboring South Africa in 1915. The former colony was then mandated to South Africa, which maintained control of it until Namibia gained independence in 1990. 

Aging majority party and the shadow of history

The South West African People's Organization or SWAPO party, of which Adolf Hitler Uunona is a career member, has ruled the country ever since. Though it maintains a strong majority, widely winning the popular vote in the 2019 general election, its performance has weakened considerably and it has hemorrhaged seats in the wake of corruption scandals of late, for instance losing some 30 towns and villages in local elections on November 30.

One of the darkest chapters in Namibia's colonial history was the so-called "forgotten genocide" of as many as 80,000 Nama, Herero and San rebels by the German Empire between 1904 and 1908.  

Relations between Germany and Namibia remain complicated to this day, with the African country recently calling a German reparations offer of €10 million ($12.5 million) "an insult to Namibia" and noting that it would continue negotiate a "revised offer."

Watch video 02:25

Germany to apologize to Namibia for colonial genocide

js/msh (dpa, KNA)