Breweries, Politics and Identity


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Namibian beer is celebrated as an inextricable part of Namibian nationalism, both within domestic borders and across global markets. But for decades on end, the same brew was not available to the black population as a consequence of colonial politics. This book aims to explain how a European style beer has been transformed from an icon of white settlers into a symbol of the independent Namibian nation. The unusual focus on beer offers valuable insight into the role of companies in identity formation and thus highlights an understudied aspect of Namibian history, namely business-state relations.



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Published 09 September 2019
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EAN13 9783906927138
Language English
Document size 23 MB

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Breweries, Politics and Identity
Tyco van der Hoog
Breweries, Politics and Identity he History Beind Namibian Beer
Basler Afrika Bibliograpien 2019
©2019 he autors ©2019 he potograpers ©2019 Basler Afrika Bibliograpien
Basler Afrika Bibliograpien Namibia Resource Centre & Soutern Africa Library Klosterberg 23 4051 Basel Switzerland www.baslerafrika.c
All rigts reserved.
Cover potos: A group of influential settlers sitting outside a ouse and drinking beer, National Arcives of Namibia, no. 01407 (above); he crew from te brewery at Omaruru, from te collection of Gunter von Scumann (below).
ISBN 978-3-906927-12-1
Forewordby Anne Mager
Introduction heImportanceofBeerheResearcProject
Prelude: A Centuries-long Tradition of Home Brewing
1 he Advent of Formal Breweries, 1900–1920 he Arrival of European Settlers How to Establis a Brewery he Beer Triangle he Great War he Beer War he Formation of Sout West Breweries
2 A Canging Beer Market, 1920–1970 Legal Consequences for Beer hree New Breweries Economic Depression World War II Problematic Liquor Law he Cange of te 1960s
3 Namibia Breweries’ Transformation, 1970–2019 A Sout West Company Callenge from Sout African Breweries he Nort Opens Up A New Direction he Beer War is Back he Long Road to a SAB Brewery
1 3 7
14 14 18 22 37 39 41
44 44 47 53 55 59 67
69 69 73 76 79 91 93
An Ongoing Rivalry New Developments
List of figures
Appendix 1: Overview of Breweries
Appendix 2: Traditional Brewing Recipes
95 98
Not a beer drinker? No problem.Breweries, Politics and Identitylooks troug a warm amber-coloured lens to bring us a view not only of te beer industry but of a broad isto-ry of Namibia from te late 19t century to te present. To be sure, te establisment of breweries and te production of beer are in te centre of tis view but tere is muc to be seen and enjoyed beyond te imperatives of a fermentation industry. he book as great strengts. Tyco van der Hoog as collected a wonderful set of istorical potograps tat serve to illustrate te istory of particular breweries, teir staff and te canging nature of beer production. But tese images also provide compelling vignettes of German settler society and te development of racial capitalism. We see ow transport — central to te brewing industry — develops over time from a construction cart renovating Soutwest Breweries during te Depression led by a team of donkeys in-spanned wit a zebra to eavy articulated mine-proof Mercedes Benz trucks in te 1980s. Context is clearly drawn. hese delivery cum military veicles moved bottles of lager produced in Windoek to te country’s nortern border wit Angola during te liberation war. Tyco also as a good ear and as gleaned fascinating tales of intrigue as breweries competed in te market place almost from te inception of te Namibian liquor industry. From te 1950s to te late 1990s, fierce battles between Sout West Breweries (later Na-mibian Breweries Ltd or NBL) and te Sout African Breweries (SAB) over brands and markets reaced fever pitc in a series of beer wars. In some ways, te Namibian story mirrors tat of te brewing industry in Sout Africa, but Tyco as told a uniquely Namibian tale. Dozens of people ave sared teir memories and opened teir family albums enabling im to bring out te local, te quir-ky and te nationalist elements of tis istory. he book is fun at te same time as it is serious and scolarly – a good read for everyone interested in soutern Africa.
Anne Mager Emeritus Professor at te Department of Historical Studies, University of Cape Town, and autor of te bookBeer, Sociability, and Masculinity in Sout Africa(Indiana University Press, 2010).
Beer migt be considered as an odd subject for scolarsip, but opefully tis book proves te opposite. Beind your favourite bottle of lager, ale or watever your preferred drink migt be, lies a complex world of powerful companies, intricate government legis-lation, and most importantly, istory. It as been a privilege to spend a long time working on te brewing istory of Namibia, a place tat as left a profound influence on me. But sometimes it as also been a struggle. In any case, I owe my deepest tanks to Jan-Bart Gewald for is continuous guidance and advice. I am also indebted to Laura Mann for earlier comments on drafts of tis book. During my fieldwork in Namibia, I was lucky enoug to meet te extraordinary lib-rarians Armin Jagduber and Gunter von Scumann, bot from te Namibia Scientific Society. I torougly enjoyed our conversations and I am grateful for te elp you gave me during my researc. I would also like to tank Nadine Kolstädt and Trudi Stols for granting me access to te arcives of te Scientific Society Swakopmund. A igly rewarding aspect of my fieldwork was my interaction wit Namibia Bre-weries Limited. Togeter wit te good people from Snowballstudio, we developed a pop-up museum tat dealt wit Namibia’s brewing istory in 2016. I am grateful for te cance to talk to so many of NBL’s employees, past and present, wose passion for brew-ing is unparalleled. In particular, I would like to tank Cristin Obst, Cristian Müller, Hans Herrmann and Stepan Koepp for teir ospitality. Most importantly, I would like to express my gratitude to all te people wo ave sared teir stories wit me, and in many cases also allowed me access to teir collection of files, potos, beer bottles, beer labels, posters and oter valuable artefacts tat ave greatly enriced te narrative of tis book. In particular I would like to tank Lotar Geier and Harald Geier, Bernd Masce, Jeremy Silvester, Werner Hillebrect, Mann-fred Goldbeck, Brenda Bravenboer, Brigitte Scünemann, Don Stevenson, Bogart Butler, Linda Buckingam and Jörg Finkeldey. Anty Scubert assisted me wit German arci-val sources, tank you for your elp. Finally, I want to say a eartfelt tank you to te Basler Afrika Bibliograpien, and in particular to Petra Kerckoff and Sara Scwarz, for te opportunity to publis tis book.
Tyco van der Hoog Leiden, December 2018
Fig. 1: Map of Namibia, 1990