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The Ovambo Reserve Otjeru (1911-1938): The Story of an African Community in Central Namibia

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The Ovambo Reserve Otjeru (1911-1938): The Story of an African Community in Central Namibia


"In the following pages I try to reconstruct the history of the settlement at Otjeru and of its inhabitants. My writing draws from oral information received by people whose family histories are deeply connected with the place, but is mainly based on archival sources produced by various colonial officials and missionaries. Without fully engaging with the discussion about the narratives of colonial archives and the ways these shape history I will make some clarification with regard to my own understanding. The colonial archives are based on the need and logic of the colonial project. The information produced by colonial officials is very biased and selective and the way it is stored and classified reflects colonial rule and order. The structure of the archive influences historical research and writing. Depending on the logic and interest of the colonial power, the people living at Otjeru are constructed and documented as a community at certain moment in times, whereas no evidence can be found of the very same people for other periods. The production of information by the colonial apparatus is very often connected to situations perceived as exceptional or pivotal by the colonial state and were therefore cause for special intervention. The main producers of information were the representatives of the colonial power, i.e. army or police officers, magistrates, etc. The realities of the colonial archive are not without consequences for the historian's research and writing. My reconstruction of the history of Otjeru, too, follows the logic of the archive, in so far as the density of my writing heavily depends on the availability of sources. Yet, instead of providing a streamlined narrative, the reader is continuously informed in what follows about the conditions of writing, the producers of information and the nature of the sources forming the backbone of this text."


Giorgio Miescher


Basler Afrika Bibliographien




Bernard C. Moore


© Basler Afrika Bibliographien 2006


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Giorgio Miescher, “The Ovambo Reserve Otjeru (1911-1938): The Story of an African Community in Central Namibia ,” Namibia Digital Repository, accessed April 23, 2019,

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