German colonizers in Namibia, due to their interest in evolutionary theory & missing links executed inmates and decapitated them. Herero women were required to remove all flesh from the heads to create clean skulls suitable for shipment for study in German Institutes.The German missionaries began working in Southern Africa in the late 1820s and experienced significant success in evangelizing and educating their converts. But toward the end of the 19th century, a new ‘gospel’ was increasingly introduced to Africa.
Germans, many indoctrinated in Social Darwinian ideas, colonized South West Africa (Namibia) in the 1880s. They generally regarded the Herero people as primitive and frequently referred to them as 'subhuman' and 'baboons!'.Social Darwinism is a theory that applies natural selection to the evolution of individuals and society. The theory says that:
- individuals and groups of people compete for survival and
-superior individuals, social groups, and races are most fit for survival.
The very first genocide of the 20th century occurred in Namibia perpetrated by Germans on the Herero and Nama people in concentration camps. The body parts of these dead prisoners were used in racial studies trying to prove the inferiority of blacks.Before the skulls were sent off and sold to German universities, the female prisoners (Herero Women) did all the horrendous preparatory work like scrapping off skin.
Eugen Fischer, a geneticist and avid eugenicist, was sent to Namibia for one main purpose to evaluate the physical characteristics and intelligence of several hundred interracial children and prove that interracial relations would be detrimental to European culture.It was Fischer's work that led to the victimization and sterilization of africans. They also perpetrated inhumane acts toward the Herero: they progressively seized their land and cattle, shot people for no reason at all, sexually abused and raped the women.
Also because of their interest in evolutionary theory and missing links they dug up the graves of the Herero's ancestors and stole their skulls. Not surprisingly, localized reactions to this from the Herero led to efforts to drive the Germans out of their land.110 years later after the Herero genocide, 25 of the possible hundreds of victims' skulls, were returned to Namibia.