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Title:Wielding the 'epokolo': corporal punishment and traditional authority in colonial Ovamboland
Author:Jones, David Crawford
Periodical:The Journal of African History (ISSN 0021-8537)
Geographic term:Namibia
Subjects:corporal punishment
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021853715000018
Abstract:Based on both archival research and oral interviews conducted in northern Namibia, this article traces the history of public flogging in Ovamboland throughout the twentieth century. In contrast to recent scholarship that views corporal punishment in modern Africa mainly through the lens of colonial governance, the article argues that because the South African colonial state never withdrew the power to punish from the region's traditional authorities, these indigenous leaders were able to maintain a degree of legitimacy among their subjects, who looked to the kings and headmen to punish wrongdoers and maintain communal norms. Finally, the article explores why nostalgia for corporal punishment remains a salient feature in Namibian society today, 25 years after the end of colonial rule. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]