The president of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier has expressed remorse for the atrocities which occurred between 1904 to 1908 under German colonial rule that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Herero and Nama people In Namibia.

Steinmeier said this during the memorial service of Namibia’s president Hage Geingob on Saturday in Windhoek, Namibia.

Geingob passed away on 4 February after months of battling pancreatic cancer.

“I hope I will be able to return to this country very soon and under different circumstances, because I am convinced that it is time, time to tender an apology to the Namibian people,” Steinmeier told the mourners.

He said that his government remains committed to the path of reconciliation that they embarked on ten years ago referencing a conversation with Geingob late last year.

Steinmeier emphasised that reconciliation requires more than just acknowledging the past but that it demands taking responsibility and working towards a better future.

“My only regret is that our friend, the great President Geingob, will not be there to bring the process he started to an end.

“And again, I bow my head to Hage Geingob; a brilliant leader of the land of the brave,” he said.

In mid-May 2021special envoys representing Namibia and Germany initiated a joint declaration by the two governments.

In that declaration, Germany offered in the region of one billion dollars in development aid spread over 30 years which would be paid on a “voluntary basis” and affirms that the agreement was not comparable to “reparations”.

The declaration was rejected by the descendants of the Nama and Ovaherero communities who argued that they had not been sufficiently involved in the talks.