Namibia Digital Repository

Nature, cattle thieves and various other midnight robbers: Images of people, place and landscape
in Damaraland, Namibia

Dublin Core

Title

Nature, cattle thieves and various other midnight robbers: Images of people, place and landscape
in Damaraland, Namibia

Description

This thesis is a study of the social-economy of pastoralism in Damaraland, a
former homeland of Namibia. It focuses on communal livestock farmers and
their families, their strategies for coping with drought, poverty and a legacy
of political oppression. By combining ethnographic, historical and ecological
research methods the author achieves a multi-faceted view of pastoral
practice in relation to land tenure, environmental change, political history
and rural development.
As part of a wider critique relating to past ethnographic
representations of Namibians, the author presents a collection of over 200
photographs made by sixteen individual 'informants' from his central
fieldwork area of Okombahe. These photographs form the basis for a
discussion of identity, social relations, mobility, reciprocity, poverty and
politics in rural Damaraland as well as theoretical considerations pertaining
to visual representation generally. This ethnographic material is
contextualized by exploring the historical experience of the inhabitants of
Okombahe in relation regional economic, social and political processes.
In order to survive in this unpredictable arid environment, communal
livestock farmers, practice an opportunistic strategy of coping with drought
based on flexible property relations. This thesis researches the impact which
pastoral practice and communal settlement has had on this environment.
The history of vegetation change in the vicinity of communal settlements in
Damaraland is explored using a combination of methodologies including
matched ground and aerial photography. The author concludes that this
research validates recently revised theories pertaining to dryland ecology
which posit that such environments are highly resilient: vegetation change
associated with communal land use in Damaraland has come about
primarily as a result of long term climatic fluctuations rather than because of
unsustainable exploitation by communal farmers. This is shown to have
important implications for contemporary development policy.

Creator

Rick Rohde

Publisher

University of Edinburgh

Date

1997

Format

PDF

Language

English

Type

PhD Dissertation

Files

Citation

Rick Rohde, “Nature, cattle thieves and various other midnight robbers: Images of people, place and landscape in Damaraland, Namibia,” Namibia Digital Repository, accessed December 19, 2018, http://namibia.leadr.msu.edu/items/show/349.

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