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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Showing Off': Nostalgia and Heritage in North-Central Namibia
Author:Fairweather, Ian
Year:2003
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Volume:29
Issue:1
Period:March
Pages:279-296
Language:English
Geographic term:Namibia
Subjects:Protestant churches
modernization
Ovambo
marriage
traditions
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
History and Exploration
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3557420
Abstract:The author elucidates the meaning of a series of dichotomies which are familiar in social science research, as they were elaborated by his informants during fieldwork. Local distinctions between pagan and Christian, traditional and modern, and urban and rural are analysed in the light of James Ferguson's (1999) work on the adoption of 'local' and 'cosmopolitan' styles by mineworkers on the Zambian Copperbelt. This analysis is accomplished by considering the staging of a 'traditional Christian wedding' that took place in 1999 in the 'Old Church' among the Oshiwambo-speakers in the village of Olukonda, in the kingdom of Ondonga in northcentral Namibia. This church has been designated a national monument and forms part of the 'Nakambale' museum. It is therefore an important heritage site. The author concludes that the importance of this event was the nostalgic construction of 'tradition' implicit in the proceedings that allowed for a multilayered performance. This performance expressed both urbanites' desire for a sense of 'rooted-ness' in a rural, local tradition and the villagers' interest in presenting themselves as cosmopolitan citizens of a modern world. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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