Title: Namibia Old and New
Subtitle: Traditional and Modern Leaders in Ovamboland
Author: Gerhard Tötemeyer
Publisher: C. Hurst & Co.
Original hardcover and dustjacket, 14x22 cm, 258 pages
Good. Few traces of use, clean inside.
The status of Namibia in international law has made it an object of contention between the former mandatory, South Africa, and the rest of the world. Late in the day, it is now on its way to political independence. In a country marked by strong ethnic heterogeneity, the Ovambos, with 46.5 per cent of the population, represent the most numerous and dominant of Namibia's population groups.
Except for a small percentage of the male population circulating as migratory labourers, most of the Ovambos live in Ovamboland, the far northern part of Namibia bordering Angola. Because it was selected by the South African Government to become a model 'homeland' within the framework of separate development (apartheid), Ovamboland in itself is a controversial issue.
This book is focused on the development of Ovamboland from a traditional society to a modern one. Social, economic and political development, and especially the role of the various elites and their attitudes to the modernization of their community, are all explored in depth. The writer shows the ramifications of the deep-seated conflict between elites who stand respectively for tradition and for modernization.
He also demonstrates clearly that the disparagement of the modernizes by the South African authorities has led not only to estrangement of the most dynamic forces in Ovamboland's development process,but to the radicalisation of political movements (e.g. SWAPO), the politicizing of the churches and delays in necessary socio-economic and socio-political reforms. As the political and economic development of Namibia unfold, this unique study of the country's most important population group at the moment of its emergence will stand as a continuing reference-point.