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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Facing a Fragmented Past: Memory, Culture and Politics in Namibia
Author:Kossler, Reinhart
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:Namibia
Herero revolt
national liberation struggles
Politics and Government
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Abstract:The creation of public memory, including official readings of history, involves various actors, including civil society. In a postcolonial situation, one that still prevails in Namibia, these actors draw on diverse memory contents and rely on unequal means to promote them. This takes place against the background of a fragmented past, the consequence of a uniquely divided colonial experience, with settler colonialism in the south and centre, and indirect rule in the northern regions. On the one hand, this regional problem is highlighted by the official discourse on the liberation movement, which greatly privileges the military aspect. On the other hand, communal memory practices in the south and centre refer to the pivotal experience of the colonial war and genocide in 1904-1908. Associated claims have gained momentum through the centennial of 2004, but in its aftermath, cleavages, particularly between various Herero groups, have also persisted. At the same time, the official vision of the past is validated by government insistence on unity, also in relation to Herero claims for German reparations for the genocide. This has created an impasse that once again underscores the processual, controversial and manifold nature of the process through which public memory is defined and negotiated. Ref., sum. [Journal abstract]