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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Living with the Past: The Songs of the Herero in Botswana
Author:Alnaes, Kirsten
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Botswana
oral history
songs (form)
Architecture and the Arts
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:The Herero war against the German colonial powers in what is now Namibia started on 12 January 1904. After the bloody battle by the Hamakari river on 11 August, large groups of Herero fled across the Kalahari desert to Botswana. This article presents the Herero's own perceptions of their experiences during the flight from the Germans in 1904-1905, and their adjustment to life in their new country as expressed in songs, legends and oral testimonies. To the Herero in Botswana today the experiences of the past constitute a shared 'property' in which outsiders have no part, experiences that have found their form in songs, laments and legends. From the content analysis of a number of these songs and oral narrative a vivid picture emerges of a people who, although economically successful, still have not come to terms with the ambiguity of their 'permanent exile' from their home country. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French.