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The Herero is an ethnic group inhabiting parts of Southern Africa. The majority reside in Namibia, with the remainder found in Botswana and Angola. There were an estimated 250,000 Herero people in Namibia in 2013. They speak the Herero language, which belongs to the Bantu languages. Unlike most Bantu, who are primarily subsistence farmers, the Herero are traditionally pastoralists. They make a living tending livestock.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Herero migrated to what is today Namibia from Eastern Africa and established themselves as herdsmen. As such they would likely have displaced (or killed) the original inhabitants of area. During the 19th century there were conflicts with the Nama ("Hottentots").

See also Bantu expansion.

Herero Wars and "genocide"

Germany officially claimed a South African colony in 1884 and called it German South-West Africa. The first German colonists arrived in 1892. Conflicts with the Hereo and Nama followed.

The Hereo and Nama revolted during the 1904-1908 "Herero Wars". Tens of thousands are stated to have died.

The politically correct view on these events is now that the Germans committed a deliberate genocide with similarities to the Holocaust. Less politically correct views include that the Hereo and Nama fought a guerrilla/partisan war that included indiscriminate attacks on civilians and that German measures such as concentration camps were responses to this. The term "concentration camps" originally referred to camps used to control the Boer civilian population and prevent them from helping the Boer forces during the Second Boer War which occurred during the 1899-1902 period. The genocide claim is "heavily debated" among scholars.[1]


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