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Contesting Caprivi

A History of Colonial Isolation and Regional Nationalism in Namibia

by Bennett Kangumu

Caprivi, the remote and narrow Namibian strip of land encapsulated by neighbouring Angola, Zambia and Botswana, has a contested colonial and postcolonial history. Bennett Kangumu traces the politics of its people in this complex borderlands since the late 19th century. Neglected by German and South African colonial administrations, its inhabitants were often pushed towards neighbouring territories though not being an integral part of them. At the same time, South African apartheid and homeland politics emphasised the ethnization of local identities. Becoming a strategic location in the ensuing liberation wars of the late 20th century, its history is often one of conquest and resistance, plunder, betrayal and rivalry.

Kangumu shows how the inhabitants of Caprivi responded in various ways, notably in the form of regional nationalism when the Caprivi African National Union (CANU) was formed in the early 1960s. The Union's merger with the dominant Namibian liberation movement, SWAPO, was a claim to end seperation and isolation, which, however, flarred up again in post-colonial Namibia.

This is the first comprehensive regional study which offers a well-researched history of a southern African region closely connected to the histories of southeastern Angola, western Zambia and northern Botswana.

ISBN 9783905758221 | 338 pages | 244 x 170 mm | 2011 | Basler Afrika Bibliographien, Namibia | Paperback

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“This book enhances our understanding of the Caprivi to an extent that no previous work has done. It succeeds in demolishing persistent myths about the supposed lack of tradition and identity of the various ethnic groups in the area […] This is a book no one will be able to ignore in any future historiography, not only of the Caprivi and Namibia, but also in the wider context of south-central African history.”

Prof Dr Lazarus Hangula, University of Namibia

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