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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Burying E.S.: Educated Elites, Subjectivity and Distinction in Rundu, Namibia
Author:Fumanti, MattiaISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:Namibia
biographies (form)
History and Exploration
Education and Oral Traditions
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057070701475252
Abstract:Members of the elite of Rundu (Namibia) take pride in their history of distinction. They weave a subjective narrative, representing themselves as an educated intelligentsia who were once the vanguard of the country's liberation struggle. From apartheid to postapartheid times, their history reflects their recognized, though not uncontested, accomplishment in education, church leadership, political activism and sport. Because such elite self-representation is an assertion of moral and political commitments shared with the people, it is also problematic, open to challenge and has to be cultivated deliberately in a time of radical change. This article illuminates the elite history of distinction and self-representation through the biography of E.S., the acting rector of the Rundy College of Education, and a popular hero and exemplary figure of distinction, from his early career in education and sport to his death. An eye-witness account of his funeral on 9 February 2001 shows the public and intergenerational dialogue around his life. E.S.'s life is seen to be understood as moved by the elite's moral passions, the 'sentimento' in Paretian terms, and to express the elite's political consciousness. The article locates the elite subjective narrative within the historical and structural context of Rundu. By bringing together V. Pareto's ideas and A. Gramsci's theory of intellectuals, the analysis raises broad issues of elite subjectivity and distinction in postapartheid Namibia. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]