Demands for restitution – a recent phenomenon? Early histories of human remains violations in Namibia

  • Dag Henrichsen University of Basel, Switzerland
Keywords: Namibia, Germany, colonialism, human remains, restitution


Current demands by Namibian families and communities for restitution of human
remains and so-called ethnographic objects in European collections are rooted in
much longer traditions of restitution demands than is generally anticipated. In this
paper I discuss pre- and early colonial human remains violations and African protest
and resistance, which triggered principal restitution, demands and fostered a critique
of colonial scientific practices, all of which resonate in current restitution politics.

Author Biography

Dag Henrichsen, University of Basel, Switzerland

Dr Dag Henrichsen ( is a Namibian historian based at the Basler Afrika Bibliographien and the Centre of African Studies, University of Basel, in Switzerland. He has published extensively on Namibian history and southern African (audiovisual) archive and collection histories


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2343-6530