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The Elephant Shooting: Inconsistencies of Colonial Law and Indirect Rule in Kaoko (North-Western Namibia) in the 1920s and 1930s.

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Title

The Elephant Shooting: Inconsistencies of Colonial Law and Indirect Rule in Kaoko (North-Western Namibia) in the 1920s and 1930s.

Description

This paper is concerned with the emergence and making of a criminal case in Kaoko between 1929 and 19357 and its bearing on the development of colonial native administration in the territory. I first heard of the ‘elephant case’ in interviews I did with residents of Kaoko Otavi and nearby villages in 2001/2002. The elephant shooting and the alleged murder of Petrus Kakuyu had not been an issue in my research in the beginning, but had been actively raised by some of the men I interviewed, as an instance of significant political conflict. Only after recording their accounts, I went to the National Archives in Windhoek to look for archival information on the case and was immediately captured by the amount of documentation the South African administration had produced in the course of their inquiry. What was particular, both with contemporary oral information and with the archival sources, was a strong ambivalence and contradiction, the fragmented and inconsistent nature of knowledge about what had happened and who had been involved in the case. As a matter of fact, the administration’s search for evidence remained unsuccessful and neither the remains of the elephant nor Petrus Kakuyu were ever found. Nevertheless, there was a case, a huge number of witnesses were interrogated and people were prosecuted, charged and sent to prison. Beyond this, the ‘elephant case’ and its aftermath remained an issue of vivid debate among residents of Kaoko Otavi and one of the central tropes in male oral accounts of the region’s past.

BAB Working Paper 2006:03
Presented at the History Department Zurich 7 February 2006, and at the National Archives of Namibia, Windhoek 27 Febraury 2006.
ISSN 1422-8769

Creator

Lorena Rizzo

Publisher

Basler Afrika Bibliographien

Date

2006

Contributor

Bernard C. Moore

Rights

© The author © Basler Afrika Bibliographien 2006

Format

PDF File

Language

English

Type

Working Paper

Files

Citation

Lorena Rizzo, “The Elephant Shooting: Inconsistencies of Colonial Law and Indirect Rule in Kaoko (North-Western Namibia) in the 1920s and 1930s.,” Namibia Digital Repository, accessed November 15, 2018, http://namibia.leadr.msu.edu/items/show/152.

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