Building Bridges

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English
162 Pages
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Windhoek in the early 1960s: the 34-year-old politician Clemens Kapuuo knocks at the door of the senior advocate Israel Goldblatt to solicit advice regarding the myriad of difficulties encountered by Africans daily under the apartheid regime. An unusual relationship and friendship develops, one that transcends the racial divide in this South African-governed Territory and will last for nearly 10 years. Meeting in Goldblatt's chambers, at his home and in the Old Location, other participants in the consultations included the veteran politician Chief Hosea Kutako and a group of younger nationalists, among them Rev. Bartholomews Karuaera and Levy Nganjone. Through Kapuuo, Goldblatt also met Kaptein Samuel Witbooi and counselled the long-term prisoner from Caprivi, Brendan Simbwaye. Israel Goldblatt's notes on these meetings were discovered after his death and form the core of this book. They are complemented by additional biographical information about his interlocutors, and annotations that place his notes in their historical and political context. Illustrated with many photographs, this publication pays tribute to Israel Goldblatt and the Namibian nationalists who attempted to build bridges where apartheid entrenched racism and suspicion.

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Published 29 December 2010
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EAN13 9783905758450
Language English
Document size 27 MB

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Israel Goldblatt Building Bridges
Israel Goldblatt as sketched with charcoal by Fritz Krampe (1913–1966), an acclaimed artist who lived in Windhoek since 1951
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I G SRAEL OLDBLATT Building Bridges Namibian Nationalists Clemens Kapuuo, Hosea Kutako, Brendan Simbwaye, Samuel Witbooi
Edited by Dag Henrichsen, Naomi Jacobson & Karen Marshall
Basel Basler Afrika Bibliographien 2010
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© The authors © The photographers © Basler Afrika Bibliographien PO Box 2037 CH-4001 Basel Switzerland www.baslerafrika.ch
All rights reserved.
Efforts were made to trace the copyright holders of illustrations used in this publication. We apologise for any incomplete or incorrect acknowledgements.
Cover photograph: Israel Goldblatt at the funeral of Chief Hosea Kutako on Sunday 28 July 1970 in Okahandja. He and his daughter Karen Blum–Marshall and her husband Werner Blum were among the hundreds of African mourners. Israel Goldblatt is standing behind Clemens Kapuuo (front, third from the left) and Rev. Bartholomews Karuaera (front, second from the left). Other members of the Herero Chief’s Council include Asser Kapere (far left, next to Rev Karuaera) and Rehabeam Uazukuani (to the right of Clemens Kapuuo). From the photo collection of Karen Marshall.
Layout by Petra Kerckhoff
Printed by John Meinert Printing (PTY) Ltd., Windhoek, Namibia
ISBN 978-3-905758-16-0
ISSN 1660-9638
Contents
Who was Israel Goldblatt? An Introduction Family History Family Life Legal Practice Early Challenges Studying the Mandate Israel Goldblatt's Notes and this Book
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"A lonely voice from Namibia": Israel Goldblatt and the South West Africa dispute The "Study Group" Goldblatt's views on the role of the United Nations
Israel Goldblatt's first encounters with Namibian nationalists
"They should understand the system under which they are living": Israel Goldblatt's classes and lectures
IV "Completely distrustful of the Government":  providing legal advice and assistance The case of Brendan Simbwaye
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"Growth of a Rumour": settler society and the Security Police
VI Visiting the Old Location,  collecting information about African history
VII "I act on my own responsibility":  Israel Goldblatt's critics
VIII Editing Israel Goldblatt's Notes Acknowledgements
Annexes
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Letters Letters between Brendan Simbwaye and Israel Goldblatt, 1966 - 1969 Simbwaye to Goldblatt, 18 July 1966 Goldblatt to Simbwaye, 23 July 1966 Goldblatt to Simbwaye, 27 March 1968
VII VII X XI XII XIII XVII
1 4 7
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46 61
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94 97
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100 100 101 102
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Simbwaye to Goldblatt, 10 June 1969 Letter from Clemens Kapuuo to Israel Goldblatt, 1971 Letter from Israel Goldblatt to a Namibian newspaper, 1978 Letter from Israel Goldblatt to Randolph Vigne, 1961
Political Parties
Biography of Chief Hosea Kutako
Interview Notes On the history and demolition of the Old Location Conversation with a Board Member from the Ovitoto Reserve Levy Nganjone Chief Kefas Muzuma from the Kaokoveld Reserve
The Kasaona Case: Petition and Letter from Chiefs Hosea Kutako and Samuel Witbooi
Abbreviations
Map and Illustrations
Bibliography
Index
104 106 107 108
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115 115 119 119 120
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Who was Israel Goldblatt? An Introduction
All his life Israel Goldblatt wrote notes on subjects he was interested in at the time, or in relation to something he had just read or that he was thinking about. The notes might be made on the back of tissue boxes, or on scraps of paper. One file exists, entitled "Random Thoughts", which covers an amazing array of comments on or extracts about various subjects, including poems read, or verses he made up, written on "random" pieces of paper! At other times he would make notes in the margin of books he was reading or studying.
This book publishes his notes and other related documents that he wrote in relation to his encounters and conversations during the 1960s with some prominent and some more humble black Namibians. When these documents were found some years ago, we realised that students of 20th-century Namibian history, and other interested readers, might value the content of these various texts written by a man who had the foresight to record his dealings with and observations of those Namibians he was fortunate to have met, and to have been able to help. Israel Goldblatt was one of the very few white men at the time to whom they regularly turned for advice, legal and otherwise, and with whom they enjoyed a unique relationship of mutual respect and trust.
Who was our father? Here we introduce Israel Goldblatt in the context of his family and professional life, in order to provide the personal context and the motivation behind the notes and documents published here.
Family History
Israel Goldblatt was the fourth child of David and his wife Fanny Esther Goodsmith. He was born on 5 June 1897, in London, as were his siblings, the eldest of whom was Sarah, followed by another sister Rebecca and a brother, Reuben.
His father, David Goldblatt, was born in Radom (Poland) in 1866. In 1889, he and his wife Fanny Esther arrived in London, where they lived for 7 years and opened a bookshop for "International books". Fanny, a woman of strong character and ability, was largely responsible for managing the bookshop, while David spent a good deal of time in the British Museum library, acquiring knowledge in many fields. It was in London that he conceived the idea of 1 a Yiddish encyclopaedia.
In 1896, David Goldblatt took a steamship to Cape Town, having in mind as his ultimate destination, the United States, where there was a large influx of Jews at the end of the 19th century fleeing the pogroms of Eastern Europe. However, when he disembarked in Cape Town, the boat, through some mistake on his part, continued on its voyage without him, so he remained there. He was followed by his family, on 21 September 1897, and they opened a bookshop in Long Street. When this burned down, through an accident, they moved to District Six, the Jewish Quarter.
Goldblatt had a deep interest in the welfare of the Yiddish-speaking immigrants, was an ardent supporter of Yiddish and a champion for its use, and founded a second Yiddish newspaper in
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