Die Familienbibel und Peitsche von Hendrik Witbooi

11. Dezember 2018 bis 17. Februar 2019

On February 28, the family Bible and whip of Nama leader Hendrik Witbooi (1834-1905), which came to our museum as a donation in 1902, will be returned to Namibia by the state of Baden-Württemberg.

The two objects will be on display at the museum until February 17.

“The question of how we deal with cultural objects and other objects in our collections that were acquired in a colonial context is increasingly being discussed – far beyond museums. The topic is also gaining relevance in society, because coming to terms with the past is always the starting point for understanding the present. Baden-Württemberg is therefore facing up to its historical responsibility.

The return of the ‘Witbooi Bible’ and the whip of Hendrik Witbooi to Namibia is a significant signal and important step in the process of reconciliation,” said Minister President Winfried Kretschmann in November 2018. The handing over of the Bible and the whip by the Minister of Arts Theresia Bauer to the Namibian President Hage Geingob will take place during a solemn ceremony, organized together with the Witbooi family, on February 28 in Gibeon. “For us, the restitution is at the same time the start of a joint reappraisal of the German-Namibian colonial history,” said Minister Bauer.

The return of the Bible and the whip is the first restitution of colonial cultural objects from a museum in Baden-Württemberg.

For Namibia, the Bible is of high symbolic and historical significance.

Hendrik Witbooi was “Kaptein” during the German colonial period and one of the most important leaders of the Nama groups. He is now a national hero of Namibia, commemorated by numerous monuments.

The family Bible with handwritten annotations by Hendrik Witbooi and other family members was very likely captured in 1893 during an attack on Hornkranz, the headquarters of Hendrik Witbooi, by German colonial troops, who proceeded with the greatest brutality and also murdered many women and children.

The return of the 'Witbooi Bible' and the whip of Hendrik Witbooi to Namibia is a significant signal and important step in the process of reconciliation.
Winfried Kretschmann, Minister President of the State of Baden-Württemberg

Ever since humans discovered and settled the island worlds in the Pacific thousands of years ago, there have been many connections between the widely scattered land areas in the largest sea on earth.


In cooperation with:
Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, China Center Tübingen, HFT Stuttgart

With kind support:

Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Karl Schlecht Stiftung, Tübinger Vereinigung für Volkskunde e.V., Universitätsbund Tübingen e. V., Stiftung Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, Netzwerk transformierender Lehre in Baden-Württemberg, Verein Freunde Hochschule für Technik Stuttgart