“Germany has learned the lessons of the past,” a German politician told a gathering of Africans in Namibia, when he apologised for the genocide Germans had inflicted on Namibian tribesmen. This was nothing to do with the Second World War, but with a mass murder involving 65,000 of the native population 100 years ago.

The genocide happened in 1904 in German South-West Africa, which is the Namibia of today, when tribesmen rebelled against harsh German rule. The occupiers, led by General Lothar von Trotha, responded by killing 60 per cent of the population. The Germans also tried natives for the murder of their colonists, and one such was “Heinrich” – he had no other name. He was hanged on Tuesday, August 2nd, 1904, for killing a German farmer.

Next day The Times reported: “This case will produce a painful impression in German missionary circles.”

In August 2004, exactly 100 years after the massacre, Germany’s development aid minister apologised in a ceremony at Okokarara for the genocide his country had inflicted on the African state. “We Germans accept our historic and moral responsibility,” he said.