‘R’ is for Restorative Justice

‘Restituting Evidence: Genocide and Reparations in German colonial Namibia’, a collaborative project between the Ovaherero/Ovambanderu Genocide Foundation (OGF),  Forensic Architecture and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), was presented at a workshop at HKW in Berlin on 5 November 2022. Over the course of several months the team met with local experts in Namibia, who relayed oral histories of memorial sites, commencing with the Waterberg, or Otjozondjupa, ‘place of calabashes’, where one of the last battles took place between the Ovaherero and German troops in the early 20th century. The research opens up more possibilities to engage with oral history, and colonial archives. With the use of situated testimonies, and the return of colonial photographs to their precise geographies in 3D, the team brought together fragmented knowledges. The process presents spatial mapping of historical landscapes, and most importantly perspectives of densely sedimented knowledges between generations of Namibians, centred on the concern for restorative justice. We participated in the workshop with OGF, Forensic Architecture, activists, artists, researchers and legal advisors, from both Namibia and Germany, which was held as a preview to the conference, “The German Colonial Genocide in Namibia: A case for reparations”, with presentations by leaders in the movement, Kambanda Nokokure Veii, Sima Luipert, Mutjinde Katjiua, Vepuka Kauari, Esther Muinjangue, Mbakuma Hengari, and John Nakuti.