"They say: divided we fall, united we stand" - A Study on National Identity and Nation-building in Postcolonial Namibia

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"They say: divided we fall, united we stand" - A Study on National Identity and Nation-building in Postcolonial Namibia

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Publication 1-year master student thesis
Title "They say: divided we fall, united we stand" - A Study on National Identity and Nation-building in Postcolonial Namibia
Author(s) Sixtensson, Johanna ; Hamma, Carolina
Date 2005
English abstract
In most nationstates the construction and making of a national identity is a historic phenomenon as the process started hundreds of years ago. In Namibia however, the construction of a nation and a national identity has just been instigated. Namibia, as one of the last colonies in Africa, did not gain independence until 1990. For a long time, Namibia was subjected to German as well as South African colonial and apartheid rule. Our aim with this essay was to examine the Namibian construction of a national identity, with reference to Namibia's historical postcolonial and postapartheid background. The focus is on how people from two ethnic backgrounds, the Owambo and the San, experience their situation as Namibians in one of the youngest countries in Africa. Hence, we have made 22 interviews in northern Namibia during the fall of 2004. The purpose with this essay has been to comprehend and present a process of nation-building and national identity in the making. We have found that 'ethnicity' still is an important mean of identification in Namibia. Moreover, the fact that Namibia is a postcolonial and postapartheid state, strongly affects the Namibian nation-building and the construction of a Namibian identity. Ethnic categories are still ingrained in people; the distinctions signify difference, and are used as means of identification. Alhough simultaneously, the segregation forced by the colonisers has now made ethnic categories less distinct since such divisions relate to apartheid and repression. The Owambo group tend to be more aware of their position as Namibians in the Namibian nation than the San groups, and their culture is to a large extent 'dominant' and influences the nation-building. The Owambos identify themselves as Namibians. The San groups on the other hand, identify themselves with their ethnic or tribal group. They are also in an inferior minority position, which they are highly aware of.
Publisher Malmö högskola/IMER
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Namibia
Postcolonialism
Nation-building
Identity
Ethnicity
Nationalism
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/1743 (link to this page)

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