Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Battle Of Waterberg Genocide Anniversary - Mari Serebrov, Author Of 'Mama Namibia' Issues Statement On First Genocide Of The 20th Century

August 11 marked the 112th anniversary of the Battle of Waterberg, the turning point in a series of events which led to the near extermination of the Herero people. 'Mama Namibia' is a riveting historical novel that relates that series of events as experienced by a 12-year-old Herero girl

August 11 marked the 112th anniversary of the Battle of Waterberg, the pivotal event in the Herero genocide – the first genocide of the 20th century. While the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, the Bosnian genocide and others stand out in our collective memory, the genocide of the Herero people is not as well known in the Western world. Award-winning journalist Mari Serbrov's historical novel 'Mama Namibia' gives us a fascinating, first-person account of those horrific events as told through the eyes of a 12-year-old girl, Jahohora.

Systematically forced off their land in what was then German South-West Africa, thousands of Herero families had fled to the Waterberg with their livestock and earthly possessions. All they wanted was peace.

Then Aug. 11, 1904, dawned. It was the day German Gen. Lothar von Trotha planned to annihilate the Herero, regardless of age or gender or guilt or innocence. “We must exterminate them to ensure they never rise up against us again,” he told his troops as they prepared for the slaughter.

Although many Herero were killed that day, von Trotha’s plan to immediately wipe them from the earth failed. Herero warriors – fighting only with rifles, knives and clubs – proved they were a match to Germany’s well-trained troops with their superior weapons.

At nightfall, the exhausted Herero took stock of the situation. Knowing they didn’t have enough ammunition to hold off the German artillery a second day, they looked for an escape. Using the darkness to cloak their movement, tens of thousands of Herero fled quietly into the night toward the only direction open to them – the Kalahari Desert.

Angered by their flight, von Trotha pursued the Herero, poisoning the waterholes behind them to ensure they didn’t escape the death of the desert. Later, those who did survive were condemned to German death camps and subjected to medical experiments. When the genocide finally ended, 85 percent of the Herero were dead.

Based on the true story of the daughter of a traditional healer, 'Mama Namibia' details Jahohora’s journey as she searches for her family while hiding from the German soldiers. Wasting away in the desert, Jahohora is about to give up her desperate struggle for life when she finds hope in a simple act of kindness from a Jewish doctor serving in the German army.

"Today," Serebrov said, "the world still ignores the reality of the Herero genocide, just as it continues to turn its head from modern-day genocides, focusing instead on the latest celebrity gossip, a favorite sports team, political name-calling or the newest fashions in clothing and cars. Albert Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. By now, we should realize that we can’t stop genocides by looking away or pretending they didn’t happen."

'Mama Namibia' has received rave reviews. One reader said, "Thank you for writing this book - touching, amazing, wonderful, sad, inspiring . . . a must read and one of the best books I've ever read." Another stated, "This book is a must read for anyone who is interested in history, troubled by its propensity to repeat itself and stunned that this story has never been told to a large audience before. It leaves the reader wondering how many more genocides have been quietly buried in the past."

Serebrov is a meticulous researcher and passionate author. She was named the literary laureate of the Herero Tribal Authority in 2013. She has authored a number of other books, including 'The Life and Times of W.H. Arnold of Arkansas' and a children’s book, 'Jahohora and First Day.' ‘Mama Namibia’ is the first and only work of fiction to be included on Genocide Watch’s list of resources.

In regards to 'Mama Namibia' and the Herero genocide, she has been interviewed by Al Jazeera, The Namibian, New Era, the Windhoek Observer and other African publications. She appeared on "Good Morning, Namibia" and was interviewed on several national radio programs in Namibia.

She also was recently interviewed for an article on the genocide for 'Down To Earth', a biweekly science and environment journal published by the Centre for Science and Environment, an environmental think tank and advocacy group based out of New Delhi, India.

Serebrov is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below or by email at mari.serebrov@yahoo.com. All of her works, including 'Mama Namibia,' are available at Amazon and other book retailers. More information is available at her website at http://www.mariserebrov.com.

About Mari Serebrov:

An award-winning journalist with a passion for history, Mari Serebrov has authored a variety of books, including 'The Life and Times of W.H. Arnold of Arkansas,' the historical novel 'Mama Namibia' and a children’s book, 'Jahohora and First Day.' She also contributed to ‘The Grandmother’s Bible’ and has co-authored a number of church resource and inspirational books with her mother, Adell Harvey.

Because of her work in calling attention to the first genocide of the 20th century in what was then German South-West Africa, Mari was named the literary laureate of the Herero Tribal Authority in 2013. She and her husband, Job, an attorney and judge for a Native American tribe, have two children and five grandchildren.


Mari Serebrov