Berlin to change street names over brutal African colonial past
BERLIN – Agence France-Presse
Berlin is poised to strip the names of streets linked to atrocities committed during its occupation of Namibia and dedicate them to liberation fighters, part of a late reckoning with Germany’s brutal colonial history in Africa.
After more than a decade of debate, the three biggest parties in the Berlin Mitte district assembly voted Wednesday night to recommend new names for streets in the so-called African Quarter in the northwest of the German capital, spokeswoman Melita Ersek said.
“The final decision by the district councilor could take another month or so - the date is likely to be announced at another hearing next Thursday [April 19],” Ersek told AFP.
“But it is quite common that the parties’ recommendation is adopted.”
The motion to drop the names associated with Germany’s bloody 1884-1919 occupation of what was then called German South West Africa marks a long-delayed victory for local activists.
The African Quarter in the multiethnic, working-class neighborhood of Wedding has streets and squares named for the founder of German South West Africa, Adolf Luederitz, as well as Gustav Nachtigal, its imperial commissioner, and the founder of German East Africa in today’s Tanzania, Carl Peters.
Wedding, for its part, was named for 12th century nobleman Rudolf de Weddinge.
“The African Quarter still glorifies colonialism and its crimes,” council members from the Greens, Social Democrats and Linke parties said in their joint motion.