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Descendants of victims of the 1904-1908 genocide unveiled a tombstone at Shark Island in remembrance of the tens of thousands of Nama and Herero-speaking Namibians killed by the then-German colonial settlers.

Hundreds of descendants of the Nama and Ovaherero people paid homage to the men and women who died at one of the most notorious concentration camps of the 20th century.

Prisoners at Shark Island were subjected to forced labor, including constructing the railway line between Lüderitz and Keetmanshoop under extreme conditions.

Some prisoners were used in medical experiments, while their body parts were transported to Germany for further experimentation and analysis.

The tombstone was erected at Shark Island, which was declared a heritage site by the Namibian government in 2019.

The Nama and Ovaherero-speaking Namibians held a symbolic burial for the victims of the genocide so their spirits could rest in peace.

"It is for us a somber moment that after so many years we have come here for the first time since our independence to commemorate the event and to reimagine the suffering of our people here. Therefore, for most of us, it's a learning experience; it's an exposure to know our history better, so here we are. I hope everyone has learned and started to appreciate why the Hereroes and Namas have been pushing for reparation. Because of this event, a lot of people died along the railway from here to Aus as they were building it, so a lot of bones are still lying in the desert unburied. I think what we have just done here is a reflection of us burying the souls in the bones as we symbolize the burial activity," said Professor Mutjinde Katjiua, Leader of an Ovaherero Traditional Authority faction.

Today, the area hosts a state-run holiday resort, boasting 20 campsites and a lighthouse that has been renovated for accommodation.

The Manager for Corporate Communication at the Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR), Nelson Ashipala, says despite Shark Island currently being used as a camping site, visitors will continue to treat the Heritage Site with respect.

"I would like to take this opportunity to reassure you that Shark Island is in good hands. NWR understands the significance of this place, and we promise that it will receive the necessary dignity and respect that it deserves."

Some of the descendants of the Nama and Ovaherero people from South Africa and Botswana also attended the unveiling.

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