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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Violence, Exile and Ethnicity: Nyemba Refugees in Kaisosi and Kehemu (Rundu, Namibia)
Author:Brinkman, IngeISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:Namibia
Ethnic and Race Relations
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Urbanization and Migration
History and Exploration
Miscellaneous (i.e. Demography, Refugees, Sports)
Abstract:During fieldwork undertaken by the author in 1996 and 1997, it became clear that immigrants from the Kuando-Kubango region in southeastern Angola living in Kaisosi and Kehemu, two locations east of Rundu in northern Namibia well-known for their high number of Nyemba inhabitants, did not regard ethnic affiliation as an important factor in the process of self-designation. They knew that they had been called Ngangela in Angola and that they were called Nyemba in their new residence. But in their accounts of the colonial and postcolonial past these labels were seen as offensive. The present author attempts to explain Nyemba lack of ethnic consciousness. The emphasis lies on the experience of exile and its impact on the politics of identity among Ngangela people who fled Angola during the civil war. The history of identity in their area of birth proves important for an understanding of current approaches to ethnicity and national belonging. In this area, where violence and marginality formed a vicious circle, ethnicity remained a shifting kaleidoscope of (sub-)group allegiance and did not acquire a dominating place in the realm of identity, which was characterized by high mobility, intense localism and decentralization. Both the thesis of marginality and the thesis of strategy are valid as explanatory models for the Nyemba immigrants' flexible approach to ethnic identity. Notes, ref., sum.