As Long as They Don't Bury Me Here

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English
216 Pages
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An increasing number of poor Southern Africans live in poverty-stricken urban slums or shantytowns. Focusing on four shantytowns in the northern Namibian town of Oshakati, this book analyses the coping strategies of the poorest sections of such populations. The study is based on fieldwork conducted intermittently during a period of ten years. It combines theories of political, economic and cultural structuration, and of the material and cultural basis for social relations of inclusion and exclusion as practise. The poorest shanty dwellers are marginalised or excluded from vital urban and rural relationships and forced into social relations of poverty amongst themselves. Having experienced long-term processes of impoverishment, the very poorest and most destitute in the shantytowns tend to give up improving their lives and act in ways that further undermine their position.

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Published 29 December 2011
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EAN13 9783905758443
Language English
Document size 8 MB

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“As Long as They Don’t Bury Me Here”
Basel Namibia Studies Series
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Zedekia NgaviruePOLITICALPARTIESANDINTERESTGROUPSINSOUTHWESTAFRICA(NAMIBIA) A STUDYOFAPLURALSOCIETY(1972) (1997)
Wolfgang Werner‘NOONEWILLBECOMERICH’. ECONOMYANDSOCIETYINTHEHERERORE-SERVESINNAMIBIA, 1915–1946 (1998)
Lauren Dobell6:$32÷æ66758**/()251$0,%,$ ô :$5%<27+(50($16  ND (2(',7,21
Tony EmmettPOPULARRESISTANCEANDTHEROOTSOFNATIONALISMINNAMIBIA, 1915–1966 (1999)
James Suzman‘THINGSFROMTHEBUSH’. A CONTEMPORARYHISTORYOFTHEOMAHEKEBUSH-0(1 
William Heuva0(',$$1'5(6,67$1&(32/,7,&6 7+($/7(51$7,9(35(66,11$0,%,$ ô  
Marion Wallace+($/7+ 32:(5$1'32/,7,&6,1:,1'+2(. 1$0,%,$ ô 
8/9 Lovisa T. Nampala; Vilho ShigwedhaAAWAMBOKINGDOMS, HISTORYANDCULTURAL&+$1*( 3(563(&7,9(6)5201257+(511$0,%,$ 
10 Bennett KangumuCONTESTINGCAPRIVI. A HISTORYOFCOLONIALISOLATIONANDREGIONAL1$7,21$/,60,11$0,%,$ 
11 Inge Tvedten“ASLONGASTHEYDONTBURYMEHERE”. SOCIALRELATIONSOFPOVERTYINA1$0,%,$16+$17<72:1 
INGET VEDTEN Introduction by Michael Bollig
“As Long as They Don’t Bury Me Here” Social Relations of Poverty in a Namibian Shantytown
Basel Namibia Studies Series 11
Basler Afrika Bibliographien 2011
©2011 The authors ©2011 The photographers ©2011 Basler Afrika Bibliographien
Basler Afrika Bibliographien Namibia Resource Centre & Southern Africa Library Klosterberg 23 PO Box 2037 CH-4051 Basel Switzerland www.baslerafrika.ch
All rights reserved.
Efforts were made to trace the copyright holders of illustrations and maps used in this publication. We apologise for any incomplete or incorrect acknowledgements.
Cover photograph: “Woman cooking in front of her home”. Shanty town dwelling in Oshakati, Namibia, September 2001. Photographer: Jacob Holdt
Basic Cover Design: VischerVettiger Basel $GDSWHG &RYHU 'HVLJQ DQG /D\RXW 3HWUD .HUFNKRĶ
Printed by John Meinert Printing (PTY) Ltd., Windhoek, Namibia 3ULQWHG RQ öWULSOH JUHHQ÷ SDSHU VL[W\ SHUFHQW VXJDU FDQH ķEUH FKORULQHIUHH VXVWDLQDEOH DĶRUHVWDWLRQ
ISBN 978-3-905758-24-5 ISSN 2234-9561
Contents
Basel Namibia Studies Series
Telling their story over many yearsAn Introduction byMichael Bollig
Acknowledgements
Glossary
1 IntroductionThe Setting Poverty in Anthropology Analytical Framework Chapter Outline
2 The Making of Oshakati and its ShantytownsColonial Encounters War and Atrocities Oshakati – ‘A Place Where People Meet’ Moving to Town Urban Complexity Shanty Relationships Shanty Poverty at Independence
3 Global Space and Urban PlaceFlows of the State Flows of the Market Flows of the Media Democracy Comes to Town
4 The Shanty Population and InequalitiesPopulation and Household Characteristics Material Conditions Conclusion
5 Social Relations of Poverty
VII
IX IX
XIII
XIV
1 5 11 14 17
20 21 27 31 33 35 38 40
43 45 51 57 61
65 66 72 78
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6 Rural LinksUrban-Rural Links 7KH %HWWHU2Ķ The Poor Age and Gender Rural-Urban Links Dealing with Uncertainty
7 Urban ConnectionsThe Cosmopolitans The Straddlers Men Straddlers Women Straddlers The Shanty Localists Localised Men Localised Women Social Isolation
8 Intra-Household RelationshipsForms of Domesticity Cohabitation Single-Headed Households Conjugal Unions Manhood and Womanhood Intergenerational Relations Violence and Abuse
9 Overwhelmed by Poverty
10 Conclusions
Abbreviations
List of Figures
List of Maps
List of Tables
Bibliography
Index
92 94  98 101 103 107
114 116 121 122 124 127 128 131 133
136 137 138 141 145 150 152 154
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Basel Namibia Studies Series
In 1997,P. Schlettwein Publishing(PSP) launched theBasel Namibia Studies Series. Its pri-mary aim was to lend support to a new generation of research, scholars and readers emerg-ing with the independence of Namibia in 1990. Initially, the book series published crucially important doctoral theses on Namibian his-tory. It soon expanded to include more recent political, anthropological, media and cultural history studies by Namibian scholars. P. Schlettwein Publishing,as an independent publishing house, maintained the series in collaboration with theBasler Afrika Bibliographien (BAB), Namibia Resource Centre and Southern Africa Library in Switzerland. All share a commitment to encourage research on Africa in general and southern Africa in particular. Through the incorporation of PSP into theCarl Schlettwein Stiftung,the series, by then a consolidated platform for Namibian Stud-ies and beyond, was integrated into the publishing activities of the BAB. Academic publishing, whether from or about Namibia, remains limited. TheBasel Na-mibia Studies Seriescontinues to provide a forum for exciting scholarly work in the human and social sciences. The editors welcome contributions. For further information, or submission of manu-scripts, please contact theBasler Afrika Bibliographienat www.baslerafrika.ch.
Telling their story over many years
An introduction
Social science studies on urban settings in southern Africa remain rare. This holds espe-cially true for social anthropology as a discipline and for Namibia as a region. Much of the ethnography published over the past two decades – there has been a lot of ethnographic production on Namibia in the recent past – has focusedinter aliaon rural communities, identity politics, the politics of remembrance and on state-local community interactions. De-spite an often publicised concern about growing poverty, both in rural and urban areas and rapidly growing cities (33 per cent of all Namibians live in an urban setting, the growth rate of urban centres is 5.6 per cent and urban poverty increasingly shapes urban landscapes), there is only a very limited number of anthropological and sociological studies on impover-ished urban communities. There are various reasons for this omission. On the one hand, social science research RQ XUEDQ VTXDWWHU FRPPXQLWLHV LV H[FHHGLQJO\ GLĹFXOW ERWK IURP D PHWKRGRORJLFDO DQG D humanitarian point of view and, on the other, many anthropological theories favoured over WKH ODVW GHFDGH GR QRW VHHP WR RĶHU D FRQYLQFLQJ SHUVSHFWLYH IRU DQ XQGHUVWDQGLQJ RI WKH situation of urban shanty town dwellers: neither do they play the harp of identity politics, nor are they (usually) portrayed as strategy-conscious actors optimising certain resources. Inge Tvedten’s book deals with urban poverty in a northern Namibian shanty town: its FDXVHV LWV QDWLRQDO DV ZHOO DV LWV JOREDO UDPLķFDWLRQV DQG WKH VWUDWHJLHV HPSOR\HG E\ WKH poor to cope with their situation. Unlike other southern African cities that evolved along trade routes, Oshakati was founded mainly for military purposes by the colonial South Af-rican government. The town’s importance grew during South Africa’s war with SWAPO in Angola becoming a major basis for army operations. Soldiers – many of them of Angolan descent – moved their families and relatives to the town. After 1990, Oshakati became an important hub in the trading network between Namibia and Angola. Since the early 1990s, Tvedten has worked in the shanties of Oshakati, which continue to grow rapidly. Repeated visits over the years brought him into regular contact with a number of his informants, thus enabling him to tell their story over many years. Initially submitted in 2008 as a PhD to the University of Cape Town, one of the book’s great strengths is that it links the structural aspects of oppression and marginalisation to local agency. Tvedten’s long exposure to the social dynamics of households and the fate of individuals helps him WR RYHUFRPH D SUREOHP WKDW VRFLDO DQWKURSRORJLFDO ķHOGZRUN IUHTXHQWO\ FRQIURQWV EDVHG DV LW LV RQ ķHOG VWXGLHV RI D \HDU RU VR LW EHFRPHV GLĹFXOW WR SUHGLFW WKH GLUHFWLRQ LQ ZKLFK
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