“The Peace of the Graveyard”: Remembrance and Memorialization of Crimes Against Humanity in Colonial Southwest Africa and East Africa
Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
History and American Studies
Department Chair or Program Director
Major or Concentration
How does one analyze the memorialization or remembrance of an event, or pair of events, when they have been nearly forgotten? To many individuals, the Herero and Nama Genocide in Namibia and the Maji Maji Rebellion in Tanzania are unknown; however, these two events decimated a region and left a lasting impact that is still felt to this day. In recent years, the Herero and Nama tragedy has become increasingly well-known to the international community. But why has this genocide in Namibia become the focus of attention, while the atrocities in Tanzania have remained largely unknown? Namibia’s connections to the Holocaust, in the form of concentration camps, medical experimentation, and personal connections, have led many to believe the event set a precedent for the Nazis; this, in turn, has led to more intense examination and analysis of the event by scholars. Additionally, Namibia’s victims’ human remains were sent to museums around the world, thus globalizing the genocide in Namibia. Further, the Herero tribe in Namibia, which was nearly destroyed in the genocide, experienced a revival of power in the 1920s, which culminated in the rise of a political party and kept the memory of the genocide alive. Conversely, the core of the rebellion in Tanzania was driven by shamanism and witchcraft. The witchcraft eradication movements which swept through Tanzania in the aftermath of the rebellion destroyed the core of the Maji Maji Rebellion. Furthermore, the tribes at the core of the rebellion in Namibia were eventually forcibly settled and decentralized, losing their power and thus, losing their voice. Numbers, in both terms of German casualties and tribes involved, have led to the Herero and Nama event receiving increased coverage as more Germans died in Namibia and fewer tribes were involved.
Mesa, Drew, "“The Peace of the Graveyard”: Remembrance and Memorialization of Crimes Against Humanity in Colonial Southwest Africa and East Africa" (2018). Student Research Submissions. 224.