Germany’s president on Wednesday apologized for killings committed by German forces in Tanzania during a visit to the East African country, Under colonial rule in Tanzania more than a century ago as he met descendants of an executed leader of a revolt against German rule

“As German President, I would like to ask for forgiveness for what Germans did to your ancestors here,” Steinmeier, who began a three-day visit to Tanzania on Monday, told descendants of local war hero Songea Mbano

Mbano was hanged and beheaded alongside dozens of his fighters for staging an uprising, known as the Maji-Maji rebellion, against the Germans in the early 1900s.

Steinmeier said that Mbano was “a brave leader” in the rebellion. He laid a rose at his grave and a wreath at a mass grave of 66 other fighters in the Maji Maji uprising, German news agency dpa reported.

“Along with you, I mourn Chief Songea and the others who were executed,” he said. “I bow to the victims of German colonial rule. And as German president, I would like to apologize for what Germans did to your ancestors here.”

Steinmeier also offered an assurance that “together with you, we will try to find the skull of Chief Songea in Germany,” according to remarks released by his office. “Unfortunately, I just can’t promise you that we will be successful,” because identifying human remains is difficult even with scientific expertise, he added.

German East Africa — today’s Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi  existed from 1885 until Germany’s defeat at the end of World War I, when it lost its colonies under the treaty of Versailles.

The Enslaved Black people of the 1960s who had no idea they were free

An estimated 300,000 people – around one-third of the indigenous population at the time – were killed in the uprising, which was fueled by brutal repression of locals by their German colonizers.

In 2017, Tanzania’s then-government said it was considering legal action to seek compensation from Germany for the people who allegedly were starved, tortured and killed by German forces.

Germany in 2021 announced an agreement with Namibia, another country where it was once the colonial ruler, to recognize colonial-era massacres of tens of thousands of people there as genocide and provide funding to help the communities affected. But the accord stopped short of formal reparations.

Write A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.