In October 2011, twenty skulls of the Herero and Nama people were repatriated
from Germany to Namibia. So far, fifty-five skulls and two human skeletons have
been repatriated to Namibia and preparations for the return of more skulls from
Germany were at an advanced stage at the time of writing this article.
Nonetheless, the skulls and skeletons that were returned from Germany in the
past have been disappointingly laden with complexities and politics, to such an
extent that they have not yet been handed over to their respective communities
for mourning and burials. In this context, this article seeks to investigate the
practice of ‘anonymising’ the presence of human remains in society
by exploring the art and politics of the Namibian state’s memory
production and sanctioning in enforcing restrictions on the affected communities
not to perform, as they wish, their cultural and ritual practices for the
remains of their ancestors.