Most current scholarship on segregation in Southern Africa accepts that the racial categories the apartheid government used to separate “African” populations from “Coloured” non-native people were relatively self-evident. However, an examination of colonialism and segregation as experienced by Nama-speakers in the Namibian-South African borderlands of the Orange River region troubles the conventional understanding of supposed racial divisions between Africans and Coloureds, who are commonly understood as a separate “mixed race” group. In this dissertation, I set out to I trace the organizing strategies that Nama leaders and intellectuals used over several generations to rearrange the boundaries of their communities. From an early 19th-century period of missionary engagement and Nama language standardization, to the German colonial period (1884-1915) ending in a genocide, to the South African period (1915-1990) where Nama-speaking survivors of the genocide and their descendants had to contend with the South African segregation project, Nama-speakers continually reinterpreted boundaries of race and ethnicity to organize against colonial violence and land dispossession. Their creative understandings of race and selfidentification defied the logics of the South African system, and they challenge today’s scholarship on racial difference and African leadership under apartheid.
|Effective start/end date||9/1/19 → 3/31/20|
- Department of Education (P022A180043)
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