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Voices from the Kavango

A Study of the Contract Labour System in Namibia, 1925-1972

by Kletus Likuwa

Voices from the Kavango explores the contribution that the life histories and the voices of the contract labourers make to our understanding of the contract labour system in Namibia. In particular it asks: is it possible to view the migration of the Kavango labourers as a progressive step, or does the paradigm of exploitation and suppression remain the dominant one? The study highlights contract labourers engaging in a defeating activity and their disappointment with the little rewards which were non-lasting solutions to their problems. The realization of their entrapment under the contract system and the eventual frustrations led to the political mobilization for independence by SWAPO.

ISBN 9783906927190 | 232 pages | 244 x 170mm | 2020 | Basler Afrika Bibliographien, Namibia | Paperback



“There is a sensitivity as to how to conduct oral interviews, a talent for the languages of the area such as Rukwangali, Rumanyo and Thimbukushu, and a maturity in analysing the narratives themselves well beyond mining these for information. […] This is not a local history but a transnational history taking one across the borders into Angola, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The scholarship of Namibia is enriched with this new work on the Kavango and the people of this most northern region have secured their rightful place in the country’s history.”

Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie



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