Curt von François Statue in Windhoek
By Contested Histories Initiative •
Curt von François (1852-1931) was a German military officer and colonialist, most well known in Namibia for his role in the genocide of the Namaqua and Herero peoples. A statue of him was erected in 1965 in Windhoek, Namibia, to mark the 75th anniversary of his supposed ‘founding’ of the capital city. The monument has been the centre of contestation over Namibia’s ‘whitewashed’ history for some time, though calls for its removal re-ignited in intensity following the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests that garnered the attention of international bodies and traditional Namibian leaders. Eventually, the statue was removed in November 2022. This case study illustrates how different stakeholders in Namibia conceptualise the decolonisation of public spaces.