Sunday Mail Reporter

VALIANT and gallant freedom fighters across the continent, particularly in the mid-20th century, managed to upend a system of gratuitous violence and exploitation that was introduced by colonial settlers, especially after the Berlin Conference in 1884.

For more than a century, African communities endured summary executions, lynchings, sexual exploitation, and other egregious abuses.

For example, in Namibia, Germany committed genocide 40 years before the Holocaust of the European Jews after the Ovaherero and Nama rose up against colonial rule in 1903 and 1904.

The revolt was brutally crushed.

By 1908, 80 percent of the Ovaherero and 50 percent of the Nama had died of starvation and thirst, overwork and exposure to harsh climates.

Estimates suggest that German soldiers slaughtered some 65 000 Herero and 10 000 Nama members in that fateful 1904-1908 campaign. The Namibian people are still searching for justice.

Last year, US court dismissed a compensation lawsuit lodged against Germany by the two Namibian tribes for genocide and property seizures in colonial times.

In her 23-page judgment, New York federal judge Laura Taylor Swain ruled that the principle of sovereign immunity made the case against Germany inadmissible.

Nowhere has the abuse of the black man been practiced on an industrial scale as in the Belgian Congo – now the Democratic Republic of Congo — between 1885 and 1908.

Although there are no exact figures as to how many people were killed, estimates suggest that it could have been anything between five million and 15 million — more than the current population of Zimbabwe.

It is the same everywhere across the continent, Zimbabwe included.

It had to take violent armed confrontation to overhaul and deeply entrenched white supremacist system.

And this was done by freedom fighters that Zimbabwe will be remembering this week. Abuses during colonialism were, however, a sequel in a tragic story of pain and suffering that began in the 16th century through the slave trade.

Ironically, the same powers that enslaved blacks, and are still exploiting and abusing blacks in the own countries, now purport to be paragons of human rights, justice and equality, even as they continue to avoid the issue of compensating long-abused Africans through reparations.

The struggle continues!

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