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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Human Rights and Democratization in Namibia: Some Grassroots Political Perspectives
Author:Biesele, Megan
Periodical:African Rural and Urban Studies
Geographic term:Namibia
popular participation
agricultural cooperatives
land law
local government reform
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Politics and Government
Abstract:When SWAPO came to power in Namibia's first postindependence election in 1990, newly formed grassroots political organizations, who were hoping for political participation on a national scale, first practised their skills at home by organizing their own communities. One of these grassroots groups was the Nyae Nyae Farmers Cooperative (NNFC), an organization of over 1000 Ju/'hoansi in northeastern Namibia, established in 1986. New local leadership and decisionmaking structures are implied in every new response being demanded from Ju/'hoan and other minority communities by national reorganization after independence and the end of apartheid. Many of the most pressured responses have occurred around the basic demand to hold on to the land base. This paper first briefly examines Namibian land deliberations in 1991, which had profound effects on the NNFC and its leadership. Particularly disappointing to communal-lands dwellers were the new national processes of geographical delimitation and of the establishment of regional representation, and their repercussions in terms of practical land rights. Attention is also paid to Ju/'hoan women's issues, the distorting effects of capitalism on local social structures, and the government's attitude towards environmental conservation. Bibliogr., notes, ref.