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Notes on the Koakoveld (South West Africa) and its People

Notes on the Koakoveld (South West Africa) and its People

Historical Report from the Government Ethnologist of South Africa
van Warmelo, N. J.
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Author: N.J. van Warmelo
Series: Ethnological Publications No. 26
Publisher: Department of Bantu Administration
Re-Issue of first (1951) Edition, Pretoria, 1962
Softcover, 14x24 cm, 68 pages, 14 bw photos


From the Introduction:

In 1947 and again in 1948 I was by the kindness of the Administration of South West Africa permitted to make brief visits to the Kaokoveld in the north-western part of the territory. The object was to make some observation with regard to the ethnic position there. The results of these short visits to only a few portions of the vast area and of only few and brief interviews with some of the more important men follow hereunder.

My thanks are due to Dr. H.Vedder for kindly giving me his own views on the relation between the various Herero-speaking groupn as the result of a visit to the Kaokoveld-many years ago, but especially to Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Wessels of Ohopoho for information, assistance and the kindest hospitality.

1 Definition of area.

3. By the natives the term Kaoko is applied to the whole area now called the Kaokoveld and even to part of the country further south and falling outside the proclaimed boundaries. The Ovambo, and the Herero in the south, all know the country as Kaoko in the same way.

4. Within the Kaoko certain areas are distinguished, viz. (a) the Omabeko or red sandy area, as indicated on the map, (b) Hamuheke or !nani-/ous "Sesfonfcoin" itself, and immediate environs, (c) Omatondeka the hilly country south, south-east and south-west of Sesfontein, (d) the Namib or Omatjana ("flat country") along the coast, and (e) Kaoko proper, the more typical semi-highland area from Otjitoko to the Kunene, as shown on the map.

5. The country immediately north of the Kunene in Angola is called Ongambo, to the east lies Ehi rovambo (Ovamboland), to the far south-east lies Ehi rovaherero or the land of the Herero.

6. In German times, the Kaokoveld was not under control, though a military post was placed at Sesfontein in 1902. The intention was to settle it, as is shown by the fact that the whole country was surveyed and some concessions were given out.

7.Proclamation No. 40 of 1920 defined the boundaries Qf the Out 30 district so as to include the whole of the Kaokoveld, but the Native Com-missioner, Ovamboland, appears to have administered the northern area, that is, excluding Sesfontein, by making occasional visits to meet the headmen, whilst the police at Kamanjab patrolled, as far as Sesfontein, and the magistrate, Outjo, administered the southern Kaokoveld, probably up to the present Game Reserve boundary.

8. By Proclamation No. 26 of 1928 approximately two thirds of the present Kaokoveld district (the northern portion) was included in tho Game Reserve. The Game Warden is the Native Commiosioner, Ovambo-land. Government Notice No.375 of 1947 amended the proclamation by excising a fow farm in the Outjo district.

9. Proclamation No. 10 of 1939 decreased the Outjo district and created the new Kaokoveld district, and established a court, to be held at Ohopoho (at that time called Ohopuho).
2. Authority and control

10. In the early days the natives of the Kaoko-veld were, as we have seen, left almost completely to themselves.

11. A police post was established at Tshimhaka (Otjimuhaka) on the Kunone in 1925 and normally two men were stationed there until constable van Eck died of malaria on 1st April 1939 and the post was closed down. The first officers were Hillebrandt and Cogill, after them came Adam du Buisson, Erasmus, Faber, Swanepoel and van Eck, more or less in this order.

12. During 1938-42 river guards at each drift controlled stock movements in the cattle free zone along the Kuneno, to prevent lungaickness from entering from Angola after inoculation had been carried out in th.e Kaokoveld.

13. Following the proclamation of the new Kaoko-veld district, a Native Affairs office was opened at Ohopoho on the 12th April 1939 as station of an Officer-in-charge of Native Affairn, directly responsible to Windhoek. The first, officer was A.M. Barnard, till 15th June 1942, followed by J. B. Wessels.


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