Interview with Prof. Eloundou on the German colonial remains in Cameroon

Credits: Isaac Iboi

Between 1904-1909, there were waves of migrations of Namibians

  • What if we come back to the motivations behind this German repression?
  • According to your works, we would find the Namibians, at least their descendants or offsprings in Douala, Dschang and even in Buea. An idea of ​​specific neighborhoods or localities?
  • According to the German system, after the 22 Namibians returned, they had to return to work in the camps, so as to complete their missions.
  • We were also talking about Cameroonians who were deported to Togo, Namibia, etc. Do we have any idea of ​​their strains?
  • We are experiencing the same difficulties at the human level with Namibia. Why aren’t we talking about the Cameroonian genocide as well?
  • Germany executed several chiefs including Duala Manga-Bell. Is it to say that the Cameroonian resistance was not?

Read Professor Eloundou’s detailed response to our research questions.

      We should remember that the space occupied by Germany was all that was left when the other colonies were taken. Germany was not yet a state when the other states were scrambling for colonies. It was established as a state in 1870. As such a plan for the enrichment of the new state was needed. This is how this plan was put in place by the committed slave industries. They took several fronts. Africa is one of the last strong holds to be taken. When they arrived in Africa, they find resistance on the coasts, they strive to win. When they arrive, the Cameroonian coasts are strike by the coastal chiefs.

       Everything starts from the Germano-Douala treaty. This treaty is interpreted in various ways. The natives believed it was a controlled entrance from the coast. The Germans were not allowed to get into the interior of the country. This was the time of great frustration. Despite all, a year later, they still organized hikes in the interior of the country. Once in the interior, they discovered other realities of the country. They therefore conjured other plans.

         Around 1904, in Namibia, they encounted a resistant at the Namibian coast. Two resistances that gave a hard time to the Germans, who then multiplied the harsh military techniques of war.

         It should be noted that in 1904, there were two migration fronts: – Internal migration, namely: the displacement of thousands of populations (Hottentots, Nambas and maras) towards the Nambii desert.

          In 1905 – Around 109 members of the family of a resistance member :  Hendrix Witbooi Jakob Morenga Swartbooi,  qui was the brother of Hendrix Witbooi who continues the resistance   was  deported to Rwanda. Once there, they were faced the conditions of nature, location, feeding habits and they had tropical diseases such as  malaria, diarrhea etc. This situation created a boom in the world. Lets note that this measure of deportation abroad is against the German laws. But to weaken the resistance, Germany undertook measures against everyone to ignore these laws.

       It should be noted that there were two waves of deportations of Namibians to Cameroon. The Namibians who left Rwanda in 1905 got to Cameroon in 1907. It turns out that after the health disaster in Rwanda and the political and diplomatic boom that this produced, the Germans decide to send the Namibians to Cameroon, for the governor Von Puttkamer who was at the origin of this policy and who seemed to best control the situation, was assigned to Cameroon. Thus, out of the 163 Namibians who left Namibia to Rwanda, 143 arrived in Cameroon in 1907. Once in Douala, they still encountered other adjustment difficulties.

      Once in Douala, the redeployment plans are put in place. There are deaths again. At first, they agreed to transfer them to Buea because of cold and they could find their way there. Unfortunately there, it was another disaster, they couldn’t adapt. Then, they are again deported to Dschang, and while there, they had lost of lives. Out of the 143, they barely had ONE HUNDRED survivals. After this wave and failure, the Germans decided to bring them back to Namibia. There were about 63 people who return to their country.

         I precise that the majority were from the family of a fierce resistant leader. The war intensified between the populations, the two leaders who end up being killed.

        In 1909, another wave had the same experience being  deported to Cameroon. This wave went through the same frustration. Because, the Germans were determined to get to the end of their experiment.

         Actually in Cameroon, we have Namibians on the Cameroonian coast (Douala and its surroundings) in Dschang  and Buea,because, some worked before returning to their country. There are graves but difficult to identify. According to Professor Eloundou, we have those who founded families. This is the question of human relationships.

         The Germans practically arrived in Africa at the end of the 19th century. They are the last to arrive, because the German state had just been created. It was after 1871, that Germany was borned around Prussia.

         It is for economic reasons that the German governor OTTO VON BISMARCK who was previously against colonization will agree to embark on the adventure after being convinced by the  businessmen of Hamburg and Bremen who have interests and wanted those interests to be secured by the German political authority

        Once in Africa, Germany will practically occupy the marginal positions. These are the territories that are still empty, not occupied by others ; Togo in West Africa, Cameroon in the center, South West Africa, the territory we now call Namibia. In East Africa, they occupy Tanganyika,the region of the great lakes like Burundi and Rwanda. These are the areas occupied by the Germans in Africa. The primary objective of the German presence in Africa is to solve the economic problems. Inside Cameroon, they only met resistances which  fought them fiercely. Faced with these resistances, the Germans set up military stations called FORTS to secure the conquered areas. They  built these FORTS throughout the territory. The famous ones are the Fort of Doumé in the East, the Fort of Bamenda, the Fort of Maroua, the fort of Mora, the Fort of Abong-Mbang, the Fort of Yoko …

        The professor did not speak of other countries, so for some he said he has not done more research. The only thing he said was that Cameroon as a state is a German manufacture. The Cameroon German map was drawn by  Max Moisel, in 1913