Understanding Damara / ǂNūkhoen and ǁUbun indigeneity and marginalisation in Namibia

Sullivan, S and Ganuses, W.S (2020) 'Understanding Damara / ǂNūkhoen and ǁUbun indigeneity and marginalisation in Namibia.' In: Odendaal, W and Werner, W, eds. ‘Neither here nor there’: indigeneity, marginalisation and land rights in post-independence Namibia. Land, Environment and Development Project, Legal Assistance Centre, Windhoek, pp. 283-324. ISBN 9789994561582

Official URL: http://www.lac.org.na/projects/lead/Pdf/neither-13...


This chapter chapter seeks to offer some context for understanding present circumstances and ongoing debate regarding Damara / ‡Nkhoen and ||Ubun indigeneity and marginalisation in Namibia. With their data on the basis of oral histories and personal testimonies collected since the 1990s, the authors highlight how colonialism affected the subgroup in relation to land distribution and connected policies. The chapter engages with the following intersecting themes: It depicts how and by whom the Damara were perceived before colonisation. To better understand issues of identity and displacement, the chapter then analyses the dynamic social relationships between Damara / ‡Nkhoen lineages and specific land areas. Since a high proportion of Damara / ‡Nkhoen and ||Ubun do not now occupy their former land areas, the chapter outlines some of the processes by which the majority of Damara / ‡Nkhoen and ||Ubun lost rights over and access to land areas with which they had understood themselves to be in relationships of belonging and custodianship, also specifically focusing on 20th century historical evictions. This section is followed by an outline of the issues associated with the post-Odendaal creation of the Damaraland “homeland”. It is depicted that whilst the creation of “Damaraland” offered an expanded settlement area for Damara / ‡N khoen living at the time in other parts of the country, it also led to some further displacements. In the section on the post-independence era, the chapter highlights changes in the administration of land in the former “homeland”. The section touches on the diverse opportunities and constraints engendered by the post-independence establishment of conservancies in and around the former homeland area as a core element of a national and donor-funded programme of CBNRM; and it touches on some implications of an unclear policy setting for asserting exclusionary rights to and control over communal area land. Lastly, the authors review the reasons for ongoing discrimination against Damara / ‡N khoen, arguing for their inclusion in discourses of indigeneity and marginalisation in Namibia. In conclusion, the chapter demonstrates that Damara / ‡N khoen and ||Ubun achievements, adaptations and resilience in contemporary circumstances are unevenly enjoyed, and have been accomplished against a background of significant marginalisation and deprivation. The authors argue that recognising Damara / ‡N khoen and ||Ubun presence and indigeneity, as well as their experiences of marginalisation through historical processes causing their loss of land and resources, is an important step towards fair redress.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section

The chapter is available to read from the Legal Assistance Centre's website at the URLs above and below.

Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
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Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2021 15:45
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2024 16:16
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/13824
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