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      

   

      

        

       

    

    


      

   

      

        

       

    

    


FOREWORD

Although it is by now an established cliché that Namibia is a land of contrast, it still holds

and this proved to have far-reaching consequences not only for its owners, but also for the

true as one tries to come to grips with this truly remarkable part of the world. Shielded by

indigenous population.

two impenetrable deserts to the east and west – the Kalahari Desert, covering most of Botswana

Leading right through the traditional grazing lands of the cattle-breeding Herero people,

and the eastern regions of Namibia, and the Namib Desert along the entire Namibian coast –

it caused a growing uneasiness about this new mode of transport. It not only transported cop-

it is no wonder that only fairly recently Namibia started to attract the interest from any out-

per but, eventually, also military units and attracted settlers who were granted farmland along

side parties. This vast piece of African soil had been inhabited by San-Hunters since time

the railway track. In conjunction with a number of other factors, such as the dreaded cattle

immemorial. The northern and central parts attracted Bantu cattle herders from central Af-

disease, human greed, an unfit credit system, it led to an outright rebellion, culminating in

rica only during the last  years. Descendants of the Khoi and Europeans, and migrants of

the brutal Herero-Nama Wars in ‒. As the war in the south of the country proved to

mixed origin, immigrated from the south, the Cape Colony, into the southern parts of Namibia

be more exhaustive and expensive, both pecuniary and in the loss of human lives, one of the

in the wake of first Dutch, then British colonialism in South Africa.

consequences of the Herero-Nama Wars was the building of the railway line between Lüderitz

Although the occasional white trader, some missionaries and a few farmers had settled

and Keetmanshoop. Intended to facilitate the movement of soldiers, especially during the

in Namibia in the course of the th century, the white section of the Namibian population

grueling area through the Namib Desert, between Lüderitz and Aus, it also provided the first

started to gain momentum during the period of German colonialism (‒). At the same

modern transport facility in the south.

time, the country was abruptly introduced into the modern world with all its economical, po-

A wholly unexpected by-product of the southern railway line was the discovery of dia-

litical, ideological and spiritual peculiarities. Contemporaries are still more or less familiar with

monds in , near a hillock to which the transport drivers had referred as Coleman’s Hill

these traits, although things have changed a lot in the present-day world. Globalization, post-

or, in its Germanized form, Kolmannskuppe. The discovery of this precious gem, for which

modernism, the demise of modern ideologies and overpopulation, to name but a few, have

the world has experienced an inexhaustible appetite ever since, changed the fate of the coun-

taken their place while the African continent has been liberated from white domination from

try today known as Namibia, forever. It not only turned a handful of simple people – for ex-

east to west and from north to south.

ample, railway workers, small traders, artisans and soldiers – into millionaires virtually over-

With its sparse population, and what one would not actually call a dynamic political, social and economical environment, and having only really opened up to the international world with

The German vessel “Eduard Bolen”, shipwrecked at Conception Bay in , more than a quarter of a mile inland

night, but also made the Protectorate of German South-West Africa financially self-sufficient for the first time.

Independence in , a lot of things in Namibia are still shaped by the ongoing processes

It proved those parties right, who had lobbied for the acquisition of this barren piece of

and dynamics of modernity. Remnants from the German colonial period, the Mandate pe-

land as a German colony. It also started to attract the interest of German capital, which ulti-

riod (‒) and the South African colonial period (‒) still abound, in stark

mately monopolized the diamond hoard by proclaiming a Sperrgebiet (“Forbidden Zone”) and

contrast even to its neighbors Angola, Botswana and South Africa, giving Namibia a charac-

consolidating the export and trade of the diamond under one governing hand, the “Regie.”

ter that is very much distinct from any other African country.

Exhausted from the Herero-Nama Wars between ‒, members of these emaciated na-

One of the major thrusts of European colonialism, the hunger for the riches of the earth,

tions were unfit for the grueling work on the diamond fields. Consequently, in order to alle-

was ultimately also felt in Namibia. A run for the unexploited, rich guano deposits on the

viate labor shortages, able-bodied men from the Ovambo nations, living in the northern re-

Namibian offshore islands along the Namibian coast had filled the pockets of entrepreneurs

gions of Namibia, were recruited and exposed to this part of Namibia for the first time in the

at the Cape and in Britain in the middle of the th century, while the copper diggers had

country’s history.

been active in the central parts of Namibia. The discovery of the rich copper deposits in and

But it was not that the discovery of diamonds changed the internal economic and social

around Tsumeb, their exploration and exploitation, led to the building of the first railway line,

development of the country’s inhabitants alone. The news of the newfound riches also quickly


FOREWORD

Although it is by now an established cliché that Namibia is a land of contrast, it still holds

and this proved to have far-reaching consequences not only for its owners, but also for the

true as one tries to come to grips with this truly remarkable part of the world. Shielded by

indigenous population.

two impenetrable deserts to the east and west – the Kalahari Desert, covering most of Botswana

Leading right through the traditional grazing lands of the cattle-breeding Herero people,

and the eastern regions of Namibia, and the Namib Desert along the entire Namibian coast –

it caused a growing uneasiness about this new mode of transport. It not only transported cop-

it is no wonder that only fairly recently Namibia started to attract the interest from any out-

per but, eventually, also military units and attracted settlers who were granted farmland along

side parties. This vast piece of African soil had been inhabited by San-Hunters since time

the railway track. In conjunction with a number of other factors, such as the dreaded cattle

immemorial. The northern and central parts attracted Bantu cattle herders from central Af-

disease, human greed, an unfit credit system, it led to an outright rebellion, culminating in

rica only during the last  years. Descendants of the Khoi and Europeans, and migrants of

the brutal Herero-Nama Wars in ‒. As the war in the south of the country proved to

mixed origin, immigrated from the south, the Cape Colony, into the southern parts of Namibia

be more exhaustive and expensive, both pecuniary and in the loss of human lives, one of the

in the wake of first Dutch, then British colonialism in South Africa.

consequences of the Herero-Nama Wars was the building of the railway line between Lüderitz

Although the occasional white trader, some missionaries and a few farmers had settled

and Keetmanshoop. Intended to facilitate the movement of soldiers, especially during the

in Namibia in the course of the th century, the white section of the Namibian population

grueling area through the Namib Desert, between Lüderitz and Aus, it also provided the first

started to gain momentum during the period of German colonialism (‒). At the same

modern transport facility in the south.

time, the country was abruptly introduced into the modern world with all its economical, po-

A wholly unexpected by-product of the southern railway line was the discovery of dia-

litical, ideological and spiritual peculiarities. Contemporaries are still more or less familiar with

monds in , near a hillock to which the transport drivers had referred as Coleman’s Hill

these traits, although things have changed a lot in the present-day world. Globalization, post-

or, in its Germanized form, Kolmannskuppe. The discovery of this precious gem, for which

modernism, the demise of modern ideologies and overpopulation, to name but a few, have

the world has experienced an inexhaustible appetite ever since, changed the fate of the coun-

taken their place while the African continent has been liberated from white domination from

try today known as Namibia, forever. It not only turned a handful of simple people – for ex-

east to west and from north to south.

ample, railway workers, small traders, artisans and soldiers – into millionaires virtually over-

With its sparse population, and what one would not actually call a dynamic political, social and economical environment, and having only really opened up to the international world with

The German vessel “Eduard Bolen”, shipwrecked at Conception Bay in , more than a quarter of a mile inland

night, but also made the Protectorate of German South-West Africa financially self-sufficient for the first time.

Independence in , a lot of things in Namibia are still shaped by the ongoing processes

It proved those parties right, who had lobbied for the acquisition of this barren piece of

and dynamics of modernity. Remnants from the German colonial period, the Mandate pe-

land as a German colony. It also started to attract the interest of German capital, which ulti-

riod (‒) and the South African colonial period (‒) still abound, in stark

mately monopolized the diamond hoard by proclaiming a Sperrgebiet (“Forbidden Zone”) and

contrast even to its neighbors Angola, Botswana and South Africa, giving Namibia a charac-

consolidating the export and trade of the diamond under one governing hand, the “Regie.”

ter that is very much distinct from any other African country.

Exhausted from the Herero-Nama Wars between ‒, members of these emaciated na-

One of the major thrusts of European colonialism, the hunger for the riches of the earth,

tions were unfit for the grueling work on the diamond fields. Consequently, in order to alle-

was ultimately also felt in Namibia. A run for the unexploited, rich guano deposits on the

viate labor shortages, able-bodied men from the Ovambo nations, living in the northern re-

Namibian offshore islands along the Namibian coast had filled the pockets of entrepreneurs

gions of Namibia, were recruited and exposed to this part of Namibia for the first time in the

at the Cape and in Britain in the middle of the th century, while the copper diggers had

country’s history.

been active in the central parts of Namibia. The discovery of the rich copper deposits in and

But it was not that the discovery of diamonds changed the internal economic and social

around Tsumeb, their exploration and exploitation, led to the building of the first railway line,

development of the country’s inhabitants alone. The news of the newfound riches also quickly


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Namibia: The Forbidden Zone