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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The evolution of the political representation of African communites in DSWA/SWA/Namibia
Author:Klíma, Jan
Periodical:Modern Africa: Politics, History and Society (ISSN 2336-3274)
Geographic term:Namibia
Subjects:parliamentary representation
ethnic groups
parliamentary systems
political history
External link:https://uni.uhk.cz/africa/index.php/ModAfr/article/view/140/115
Abstract:The Republic of Namibia has an extremely complex composition of its population. Bantu nations, Khoisan groups, mixed communities and people of European origin create a political problem of how all those society segments can be represented in the national decision making process in a just and satisfactory way. During the precolonial time period, the individual tribes and groups had their own chiefs or kapteins along with the respective aristocracy or elected representation (Volksraad in the case of the Rehoboth Basters). The German colonial rule between 1884 and 1915 united all national and racial groups for the first time, but the African communities remained outside of the gradually constituted white self-administration as a subordinated element. During the South African rule under the League of Nations Mandated Territory regime 1915/1921-1945 the first political representations of Africans were being organized on the ground level. After World War II the controversy between the Union of South Africa (Republic of South Africa since 1961) and the UNO Trusteeship Council led to an effort to seek a solution according to the apartheid politics: the whites from South West Africa were represented directly in both South African parliament chambers. Meanwhile several homelands for the native population were projected in conformity with the Odendaal Plan. Under pressure from the international community, only three homelands were really proclaimed out of 11 planned. The UNO initiative and the SWAPO armed resistance made it impossible to recognize results of the last elections organized in 1980 within the racial/tribal framework as well as the all-races Transitional Government of National Unity established in 1985. During the last years under the South African administration, traditional chiefs assumed their authority in all African communities. Based on the free and UNO supervised one-person-one-vote 1989 elections the independent Namibia came to existence in 1990. However, all democratic rights and the bicameral parliament the upper chamber of which respects the equality of each from 13 regions do not guarantee a fully fair representation of all ethnic groups. The merging of the Euro-American democratic system of power with the complicated national/tribal/clan reality is still to be calibrated in the future. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]