Title: Contesting Caprivi
Subtitle: A History of Colonial Isolation and Regional Nationalism in Namibia
Author: Bennett Kangumu
Series: Basel Namibia Studies Series 10
Publisher: Basler Afrika Bibliographien
ISBN 9783905758221 / ISBN 978-3-905758-22-1
Softcover, 17x24 cm, 336 pages, images, maps
Caprivi, the remote and narrow Namibian strip of land encapsulated by neighbouring Angola, Zambia and Botswana, has a contested colonial and postcolonial history. Bennett Kangumu traces the politics of its people in this complex borderlands since the late 19th century. Neglected by German and South African colonial administrations, its inhabitants were often pushed towards neighbouring territories though not being an integral part of them. At the same time, South African apartheid and homeland politics emphasised the ethnization of local identities.
Becoming a strategic location in the ensuing liberation wars of the late 20th century, its history is often one of conquest and resistance, plunder, betrayal and rivalry. This study enhances our understanding of the Caprivi to an extent that no previous work has done. It succeeds in demolishing persistent myths about the supposed lack of tradition and identity of the various ethnic groups in the area. This is a book no one will be able to ignore in any future historiography, not only of the Caprivi and Namibia, but also in the wider context of south-central African history.