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Streben nach Heimat und Freiheit. Zur Territorialisierung von Ethnizität in Süd- und Zentralnamibia

Reinhart Kößler

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In search of home and freedom: territorialisation of ethnicity in southern and central Namibia.

The historical trajectory of the region of white farm settlement in Namibia underscores the dynamic nature of both territorial definitions and ethnic identifications. This article explores some of these dynamics, by sketching the situation from pre-colonial times up to the mid and late 19th century, in order to delineate the consequences of colonial encroachment, genocide and white settlement under German and later South African rule. One outcome of these historical events has been the pegging of identity to territory, a process which is closely connected to the continued resilience of traditional communities. Unfortunately this dynamic form of ethnic identification has ill-fit the past and present guises of the Namibian modern state, ranging from colonial, Apartheid and independent formations, and its propensity to rationalize social relations. Thus territorial politics have come to present a persistent dilemma in post-Apartheid, postcolonial Namibia, and beyond.