The statue of Curt von Francois, seen as a symbol of colonial oppression, was removed under pressure from local activists.

A colonial-era statue of a German official was removed from the Namibian capital of Windhoek on Wednesday, under pressure from local activists, as onlookers clapped and honked.

Unveiled in 1965, the 8-foot-tall bronze statue of Curt von Francois was seen as a symbol of colonial oppression in the South African nation.

“This moment is a reminder of dignity, our city has been whitewashed,” Hildegard Titus, an activist from the A Curt Farewell movement who pushed for the statue’s removal, told AFP news agency.

“There’s an emotional connection to taking the statue down, but it also has to do with historical accuracy.”

It is the latest statue to be taken down as activists around the world campaign to remove representations of colonial-era officials accused of practicing slavery and committing other atrocities.

The removal of the Von Francois statue comes two years after the statue of Cecil Rhodes, a British colonialist, was beheaded by activists at the University of Cape Town in neighboring South Africa during protests over the death of George Floyd in the United States. States.

Germany colonized Namibia from 1884 to 1915. It apologized in 2021 for its role in the massacre of the tribesmen Herero and Nama over a century ago in Namibia and first officially described it as a genocide.

Between 1904 and 1908, German settlers killed tens of thousands of indigenous Herero and Nama people in massacres that historians have called the first genocide of the 20th century.

The statue, which stood on a high pedestal outside municipal buildings, depicted a mustachioed Von Francois in military uniform, holding a large hat and sword.

The city council said the statue, which A Curt Farewell described as “a reminder of genocide”, will now be kept at the Windhoek City Museum.

There it will be displayed with an explanation of its historical context, said Aaron Nambadi, a curator at the museum.

“We as historians and curators were involved in this project to correct the false narrative that Von Francois was the founder of the city,” Nambadi told AFP.

Germany has pledged more than 1 billion euros in financial support to descendants of the victims, many of whom Namibians claim were not sufficiently involved in the reparation negotiations.

Last month, Namibia asked to renegotiate the terms of the agreement.

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