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Monday, 19th January 2015

Research done by Dr Klaus Dierks - www.klausdierks.com all photos copyright Klaus Dierks

||Khauxa!nas is approximately 200 years of age, and the available historical evidence indicates it was most probably built between 1770 and 1798, although in archaeological terms it could well prove to be much older. The building material used in its construction is over 500 million years old according to geological classification. The fortress consists entirely of stacked red sandstone rock slabs forming a double wall one to two metres high. The space between the walls is filled with smaller stones and shale, giving a total width of one to one-and-a-half metres.

The early period of Namibia's history is characterised by the complete absence of recorded data. The lack of written material prior to the mid-18th century leaves it to archaeology and oral evidence to provide a reconstruction of historical events from the fragments of the past and an account of the interaction between man and the environment. Using archaeological evidence, and where available, historical records, in an objective manner transcending racial differentiation and ethnic bias enables the main features of the pre-colonial era to be outlined [1].

Archaeological research in the Brandberg area in Namibia has uncovered evidence of prehistoric technology and subsis tence economic activity (hunting and gathering) as far back as the Early and Middle Stone Ages between 400,000 and 30,000 years ago, but no connections whatsoever with the Mediterranean world of antiquity could be found. The Later Stone Age can be dated from 5,000 years ago to the more recent Iron Age [2], and from 1,000 BC the area of southern African rock painting includes the stretch of Namibia from the Oranje River to the Brandberg Mountain. The spread of iron-making techniques to sub-Saharan Africa is generally held to have occurred around 500 BC [3]. The Namibian inhabitants who built huts with reinforced stone bases, made pottery, worked metal, traded and reared cattle and small stock, lived in complex, pastoral societies in contrast to the hunting and gathering activities of the preceding epoch, thus characterising the difference between Iron Age and Stone Age patterns. These peoples were the various San (Bushmen) groups [4], Khoisan (Nama) and most probably also !Nu-khoen (Dama or black people), and later on, coming from the north in and around the 14th century, Herero and Owambo communities. There are indications that these communities lacked tribal cohesion, generally living in widely-scattered settlements but with close economic links with other groups [5]. The San of these early days were not the Bushmen of today's stereotype but had a different way of life and may also have been physically different. These early communities are likely to have been the direct progenitors not only of the contemporary San but other Namibian groups as well, including the Nama and Dama. Archaeological investigations at pastoral sites, mainly in the central Namib Desert, indicate the existence of a relatively complex social system based on the primarily nomadic way of life of these early groups [6].

This research by various African archaeologists in the 1970s in addition shows that the central region of the country was inhabited by groups of pastoralists and hunter-gatherers, while northern Namibia was populated by sedentary communities engaged in food-growing as well as cattle -rearing [7]. Mining is also known to have taken place in pre-colonial times, with extraction of copper reported in the Khomas Hochland mountain range west of Windhoek [8]. The precise nature of the relationships between the different Namibian communities, the question of their ancestry and linguistic connections, have still to be properly researched. It can be assumed, however, that these early inhabitants lived in open societies with regular intermarriage. For example, Hereros living among Witbooi-Nama always expressed their loyalties on a non-tribal basis, while for many generations it has been an old Owambo tradition that what counts is where the home is and what language is spoken, rather than the place of birth [9]. At this stage, pending the uncovering of archaeological evidence and further historical research, the relationship between ||Khauxa!nas and these early Namibian communities can only be speculated on but we do not know yet whether ||Khauxa!nas even existed at this stage.

The advent of European adventurers, explorers and traders, together with missionaries, from the mid-18th century onwards had a disruptive impact on the existing patterns of organised society in Namibia. It was during this transitional period that ||Khauxa!nas is, as suggested earlier, most likely to have been founded, although its existence at an earlier date cannot be ruled out. The ruins as seen today at one and the same time convey in their dramatic stone structures something very old and also, conceivably, the shape of a yet to be recognised pre-colonial Namibian society.

The exploration of Namibia by Europeans began along the Atlantic coast as early as 1485, although access to the interior was barred by the inhospitable Namib desert. The first European actually to set foot on Namibian soil was the Portuguese explorer Diogo Cao or Diogo Cam, followed by Bartholomeu Diaz in 1487. It was not until nearly two centuries later that the next contacts were made, when the Dutch East India Company - established at the Cape of the Good Hope in 1652 - decided to explore up the Atlantic coast. The Dutch vessel Grundel landed at Angra Pequeña and Sandwich Bay, south of Walvis Bay, around 1670 while the Bode sailed as far north as the Kuiseb river mouth in 1677. Here it is recorded that the crew became involved in a skirmish with the local Nama inhabitants. This is the first recorded instance of Namibian resistance to increasing European incursions.

The next phase of coastal exploration was marked by the growing tensions between British and Dutch interests. The British ship Nautilus under the command of Thomas Thompson surveyed parts of the Atlantic coast and proceeded as far north as the Oranje River mouth and Angra Pequeña in 1786. The purpose of the voyage was to locate a place suitable for holding British convicts. But due to the coast's inhospitable character, the British switched their project for a convict settlement to New South Wales in Australia [10]. This expedition was followed by that of the Dutch vessel Meermin in 1793, which proclaimed Dutch sovereignty over Angra Pequeña, Halifax Island and Walvis Bay [11]. During this expedition, the brothers Dirk Gijsberg and Sebastiaan Valentijn van Reenen, as well as Pieter Pienaar, were the first travellers recorded as having penetrated the Namibian interior through the Swakop river valley [12].

It was one and the same Pienaar who played such a significant role in the affairs of the Orlam Afrikaners by igniting the spark that resulted in the establishment of ||Khauxa!nas, according to all available evidence. After the British had taken over the Dutch Cape Colony in 1795, the vessel Star was sent northwards to hoist the British flag at many places along the Namibian coast. These activities were followed by exploitation of the guano deposits on the offshore islands from 1842 onwards and the subsequent annexation of all the islands, commonly known today as the Penguin Islands, by the Governor of the Cape Colony in 1861 [13]. The firm of De Pass, Spence and Company carried out fishing and sealing activities, together with ship repairs and some mining activities at Angra Pequeña from 1856 [14].

However, the harsh interior of Namibia aroused very little interest until the middle of the 18th century, almost 300 years after the first Portuguese explorers had erected their stone crosses (padrão) along the coast. The first explorers on record as entering Namibia across the Oranje River were Jacobus Coetzee and Hendrik Hop, accompanied by a surveyor, Carel Frederik Brink, who compiled the first known map of Namibia. It is probable, although not proven, that as early as 1738 several European settlers, including Pieter de Bruyn and Willem van Wyk, got as far as the Oranje from the south and may even have crossed it. Coetzee is known to have travelled to Dabegabis, north of Warmbad, in 1760 where he made contact with the !Gami-#nun Nama group. Hop's expedition reached the Chamob (Löwen) River north of the Great Karas Mountains on 22 November 1761. He followed a course east of the mountains which would have brought him close to ||Khauxa!nas although no mention of it was recorded in his diaries [15]. During the Hop expedition, Jacobus Coetzee and Pieter Marais reached the Fish River on 25 November 1761. Hendrik Jacob Wikar investigated areas adjacent to the Oranje River during 1778/79 and his explorations produced the most comprehensive contemporary descriptions of the Namibian south. At this time also William Paterson undertook two journeys to areas in the vicinity of the Oranje, named by Robert Jacob Gordon in honour of the Dutch royal dynasty in 1777. Previously the river had been known as the !Garib or Great River. During 1791-92 Willem van Reenen and Pieter Brand journeyed as far north as the Rehoboth area and possibly also to the Auas Mountains, just south of present-day Windhoek.

The first European to actually settle in Namibia was most probably Guilliam Visagie who made his home in PNuPgoaes (Swartmodder), subsequently Keetmanshoop, about 1785 [16]. Visagie later on had his part to play also in the affairs of the Orlams and, indirectly, of ||Khauxa!nas. But, apart from these individual exploratory forays and hunting expeditions into the interior, Namibia still remained a "terra incognita" at the turn of the century, prior to the arrival of the first missionaries, harbingers of the country's colonial subjugation.

Before the northward migrations by the Orlams from the end of the 18th century, the indigenous Nama communities in southern Namibia lived in well-organised and self-sufficient societies, as attested to by the first missionaries sent by the London Missionary and Wesleyan Societies [17].

This stable socio-economic situation was radically disturbed not only by increasing European influence from the beginning of the 19th century but also by the arrival of various Orlam groups seeking to escape from the colonial domination of the European settlers in the Cape Colony. The migrations did not have the character of a Hun-style invasion of Namibia but took the form of a relatively well organised process of settlement, in which there was a strong missionary influence. However, inevitably this had a major impact on the existing Nama inhabitants of the south due to the restricted resources available in such an arid country, especially taking cognizance of the relative technical superiority enjoyed by the Orlams due to their possession of guns and horses and the fact that they spoke Cape Dutch [18].

Recent historical research has revealed that the missionaries were a major factor in preventing the founding of a unified state by the African inhabitants during the 19th century. The director of the Rhenish Missionary Society Friedrich Fabri in the latter part of the 19th century regarded mission activity as "useful for trade or colonial annexation" [19].

The history of missionary influence in Namibia dates from 1802 with the arrival of the London Missionary Society (LMS) south of the Oranje River. At this time, ||Khauxa!nas already existed as a place of refuge for the Orlams under their leader Klaas Afrikaner or his son Jager, although thus far it has not proved possible to locate a single reference to it in LMS records. The first mention of this Nama stronghold, and then as late as the 1840s, is contained in the records and diaries of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society.

During 1805 the LMS extended its activities across the Oranje to Warmbad and Blydeverwacht. The brothers Abraham and Christian Albrecht were the first missionaries to develop extensive knowledge of the !Gami-#nun, ||Hawoben, ||Khau-|gõan or Swartboois, Orlams and other, smaller Nama communities. In 1820 the Wesleyans started their missionary work among the Nama, and their first missionary was Reverend Barnabas Shaw. In 1814, Johann Heinrich Schmelen from the LMS, the first European to learn the Nama language, had founded the Bethany mission station in order to commence work among another Nama group, the Boois community, who were temporarily joined by Orlams under the leadership of Amraal Lambert. Other Orlam groups also subjected to missionary endeavours from the 1820s were the Witbooi, who settled at Gibeon in 1863, and the Berseba-Orlams under Paul Goliath. All missionary activities of the LMS were taken over by the Wesleyans in 1834 [20], although officially the London Missionary Society continued to work until 1840 in Namibia.

Both missionary societies were concerned with the Orlam Afrikaners, who until the 1820s were in conflict not only with the Cape colonial authorities but also other groups outside the borders of present-day Namibia, such as the Griquas, Koranas and Tswanas, although close trading relations existed with the latter at some periods. There are indications that because of these antagonistic relations with various European and African groups south and east of the Oranje River, the Orlam settlements in general, and not just ||Khauxa!nas, had a generally defensive function. These continuous tensions were the major factor in the further northward migration of the Orlams during the 1820s. This took place after Jager Afrikaner had relinquished the leadership to one of his sons, Jonker.

Following the migration, the Wesleyans continued to work among the Nama in the south. Further exploration of Namibia's still unknown interior took place with James Edward Alexander's expedition of 1836-37. In his diaries, Alexander mentioned the ||Hawoben capital village which he called "Robber Henrick's Place" (See Chapter 3). In the 1840s, the missionaries Tindall, Ridsdale and Bailie worked among the ||Hawoben, during which time the only written references to ||Khauxa!nas were made. In 1840 the LMS transferred its activities lastly to the Rhenish Missionary Society (RMS) which had its headquarters at Barmen. Schmelen had already urged it to send missionaries to the Nama and Herero, and in 1842 the German missionaries Carl Hugo Hahn and Heinrich Kleinschmidt arrived in Namibia. Jonker Afrikaner, however, had little time for the German missionaries, and as a result the Germans abandoned missionary activities in Windhoek, founded by Jonker around 1840, and Rev. Richard Haddy of the Wesleyans took over in 1844. Hahn and Kleinschmidt made an unsuccessful attempt at working among the Herero at Okahandja, making their base instead at Otji kango, later to become Groß Barmen, which became the centre for missionary activities among the Herero generally. With this expansion in the presence of the RMS, both the London and the Wesleyan Missionary Societies decided to relinquish their activities in Namibia leaving the missionary field entirely to the Germans [21].

While Hahn was based at Otjikango in 1842, Kleinschmidt founded a missionary station at Rehoboth for the Swartbooi community and this evolved into the most important missionary centre for the south. Similarly, the Rooibank mission station near Walvis Bay was founded by Heinrich Scheppmann in 1845 for the Topnaar group of the Nama, and the missionary Johannes Rath established a second missionary station for the Herero at Otjimbingwe in 1849, while Friedrich Wilhelm Kolbe was active at Okahandja. In the south, Samuel Hahn began missionary work among the Orlams at Berseba. By about 1850, therefore, the RMS had at its disposal an extensive network of missionary stations in the southern and central regions of Namibia [22].

By this time the German missionaries had become so influential among the main African communities as to act as the direct forerunners of colonialism. Their principal opponent, Jonker Afrikaner, one of the leading personalities in the history of ||Khauxa!nas and greater Namibia, died in 1861. As early as 1864, Hahn had hoisted the Prussian flag on the buildings at Otjimbingwe and in 1868 the RMS officially requested Prussian protection, which was however refused [23]. Subsequent requests in the following decade to the newly formed German Empire were similarly unavailing [24].

The result of this penetration of Namibian society by the missionaries was a drastic change to the lives of Namibians, for from the 1860s onwards the missionaries were followed by white traders. An economic alliance was forged between the two expatriate groups which started to build up local demand for imported goods. In return for granting credit for the purchase of goods, Namibians were required to make payments in cattle and other goods on very advantageous terms to the Europeans [25]. This alliance was also the cause of the political downfall of the Orlams by giving selective support to the Herero, thus undermining the formation of a unitary Nama/Herero state as advocated both by Jonker Afrikaner and the Herero leader Tjamuaha ua Tjirue (PAi!gorob). Jonker's political ambitions, initiated most probably by the events connected to ||Khauxa!nas at the beginning of the century, thus ended in failure. The missionaries increasingly intervened in the political and economic activities, thereby paving the way for the ensuing imposition of colonial rule and dislocating the evolution of indigenous Namibian institutions [26].

Where inter-group conflict between Namibian communities arose, missionaries and traders tried to act as mediators between and advisors to the protagonists, often in the process exacerbating the original causes of strife through double-dealing or by supplying weapons to one side or the other. Both the British authorities in South Africa during the 1870s and the German colonial interests in Namibia during the 1880s were alike able to take advantage of these developments [27].

In spite of the dubious part played by the missionaries in exacerbating strained Namibian inter-communal relations, they made a request to the British Cape Government for protection after their efforts to obtain German protection had failed [28]. European entrepreneurs, and later on large commercial concerns, began to negotiate vaguely worded contracts of doubtful legality with Namibian leaders for land and mining rights. Different understandings of the concepts of collective rights and private ownership resulted in growing conflicts between European and Namibian interests. In order to resolve these disputes the British authorities in the Cape colony dispatched a special commissioner, William Coates Palgrave, in 1870 and 1876, ostensibly to restore peace between the Nama and Herero [29].

One of the principal consequences of his intervention was the decision of the Cape governor, Sir Bartle Frere, to occupy Walvis Bay in March 1878. Palgrave returned to Walvis Bay as magistrate and commissioner for Hereroland in 1880 [30]. This followed the treaty of protection between the Herero leader, Samuel Maharero, and the British who interpreted it as constituting a treaty of cession, a view rejected by the Namibian Government which does not accept Maharero had jurisdiction over the port and who could not have therefore have transferred good title to Great Britain. Similarly, the purported annexation of Walvis Bay to the Cape Colony in 1884, with the consent of Germany, is regarded by Namibia as an act of administrative convenience rather than formal incorporation [31]. The British Empire, preoccupied by events in South Africa and unconvinced of any advantages to a more extensive occupation was not prepared to go any further than securing the only natural harbour along the Namibian coastline. This left the way clear for the German missionaries and traders to pursue their interests, resulting in the formal colonisation of Namibia in April 1884. That month the German chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, sent a telegram to Lippert, the German Consul-General in Cape Town, instructing him to inform the Cape Government that " Lüderitz Land" was now officially under the protection of the German Empire. With the sailing four months later of two German gunboats for Namibia the foundation was laid for the country's reduction to colonial status [32]. During this era, the ancient Nama stronghold of ||Khauxa!nas had one last significant contribution to make to the growing resistance by the Namibian people to colonial subjugation.

The German occupation began with a fraudulent transaction, however. Adolph Lüderitz and his agent, Heinrich Vogelsang, took advantage of the unfamiliarity of the Nama chief Joseph Frederiks II with the term "geographical mile" (7,4 km) in contrast to the standard "English Mile" (1,6 km). Repeated attempts by the Bethany people to rectify the deception were ignored by the German authorities. This first European-Namibian treaty was also noteworthy in another respect. It was mediated by the Rhenish missionary Jan Bam and payment was made inter alia with arms and ammunition. Lüderitz continued the arms dealing commenced earlier by the "Missions Handelsgesellschaft AG" (Missionary Trading Company). One of the ironies of Namibia's history is that the Germans supplied weapons to the inhabitants as a means of furthering their control of the country and then, 20 years later, fought a series of bloody wars to disarm the Namibian people again [33].

The process of colonisation in Namibia was in its main features not dissimilar to the imposition of colonial rule elsewhere on the African continent. There were two distinct, but interlinked, phases. During the first phase relatively small numbers of explorers, fortune-seekers, missionaries, traders and mining prospectors arrived in the country. These were not regarded as much of a threat to their way of life by the African inhabitants. These Europeans seldom became assimilated into the existing pattern of society, while the missionaries actively began to change the inhabitants' way of life by introducing alien values and divided loyalties. The second phase was characterised by a reinforcement of the administrative and military powers of the colonial authority so as to defend the interests of the Europeans. The real threat to the Namibians then materialised as European settlers occupied their land, seizing their cattle and forcing them to become a source of cheap manual labour without any rights or bargaining power. In order to realise these objectives, political, economic and military means were used by the colonial authorities and the settlers [34]. The Namibians were caught in a situation where they had little choice but to alternately collaborate with and actively resist the colonial system of dispossession and exploitation.

The German colonial strengthened its hold on Namibia in various stages related to the two main phases referred to above. Between 1884 and 1894 the Germans signed a series of protection treaties (Schutzverträge) with different Namibian leaders. Various pressures - political, diplomatic and military - were employed, along with outright deception and exploitation of the religious influence of the missionaries. This initial period during which Germany secured its claim to Namibian territory was followed between 1894 and 1904 by a process of militarisation and establishment of an administrative system of control. It was during this period that the Namibians - with the exception of the inhabitants north of the " Red Line" demarcating the " Police Zone" under direct colonial rule - almost completely lost their land and cattle to the German settlers. In reaction they moved from acquiescence to active resistance, resulting in the final period of German colonialism, involving the crushing of Namibian armed opposition and the imposition of centralised colonial rule from 1904 to 1915. The great resistance war of 1904-1909 was preceded by clashes between the Germans and Hendrik Witbooi in 1893-94 and the Khauas in 1894, due to attempts to force them to sign protection treaties which they had hitherto opposed. Other conflicts involved the uprising of the Eastern Hereros (Mbanderu), Khauas and Bondelswarts in 1896, the Orlam Afrikaners and Swartboois in 1897-98, the revolt of Grootfontein (south) in 1901 and another Bondelswart uprising in 1903-04. The combined effect of these uprisings was that Namibians were nearly totally deprived of their land and cattle as a punitive measure [35].

||Khauxa!nas and its surrounding region had an important, although largely undocumented, role during these successive phases of German rule, culminating in its use by Jakob Marengo as his secret fortified refuge during the Nama war of resistance against the German Schutztruppe from 1904-06. From this time onwards, no further reference to ||Khauxa!nas has been discovered. But its significance as a symbol for Namibian resistance, their striving for independence and self-determination as a sovereign nation, endured. During the Nama resistance war various battles were fought at or around ||Khauxa!nas in which Herero and Nama fought alongside each other against the Germans on several occasions, as described in Chapter 3 [36].

German colonial policy towards the indigenous population became increasingly concentrated on the imposition of state control through military power, with no safeguards for the social and economic well-being of the Namibians. "Deutsch-Südwest- Afrika" was the only German colony in which the suppression of "natives" was officially sanctioned, culminating in the notorious extermination order issued by General Lothar von Trotha in October 1904 during the final phase of Herero armed resistance following the defeat of their main army at the battle of the Waterberg in August 1904. Von Trotha established a brief period of military supremacy (1904-05) during which he ignored the economic interests of the German settlers. This and the severity of his repression of the Namibian population was opposed by Leutwein and some of the German administration [37].

A further consequence of German policy was the systematic state-promoted settlement of European farmers, thereby depriving Namibians of their means of livelihood, as their land, cattle and grazing rights were seized without compensation. The overall impact on the cultural and political fabric of Namibian society was shattering, particularly so in the case of the Nama and Herero communities whose well-established social and political system was almost totally destroyed. Especially, the Nama communities of the Bondelswarts and Veldschoendragers faced a double invasion of their land by the firm of South African Territories Ltd. and by government-promoted settlers in the areas around ||Khauxa!nas, which led to them being ousted from their core lands by a large number of tenanted and untenanted European farms [38]. "It was a catastrophe, caused not only by the effects of war but by German measures during the war and the native policies of the post-war-years" [39].

The Witbooi (|Khowesin) from Gibeon were, however, able to retain some remnants of their social system. But in general, the few "native reserves" which remained after the great resistance war were not sufficient compensation for what the Namibians had lost. The economic development of Namibia, including the establishment of an extensive physical and socio-economic infrastructure - such as the construction of most of present-day Namibia's railway system [40] - during the last two stages of German rule (1898-1914), were primarily designed to serve the interests of the colonial power and German settlers, with only incidental benefits to Namibians [41]. The function of these developments was to facilitate the exploitation of Namibia's abundant natural resources, a process intensified by South Africa when it took over control of Namibia in 1915 after inflicting a military defeat on the Germans on behalf of the Allied forces in the World War One.

The outcome of the German colonial era was a divided, pluralistic society with a strong emphasis on separate cultural identities, and a relative integration of the inhabitants into a common economic system, whose foundation remained, however, profoundly dualistic between a property-owning settler minority and largely property-less majority. This was coupled with political fragmentation of Namibia's indigenous communities and the political and economic domination of the colonising minority. This policy of group cultural separateness and fragmentation was to be expanded by the South Africans after 1915 [42]. For the indigenous inhabitants the change proved to be only from one colonial master to another, and it did not result in any improvement to their quality of life. They had to find out that the different colonial powers, although engaged in bloody conflict with each other, would in the end pursue a common policy as far as the oppression and exploitation of Namibia were concerned [43].

According to Article 22, Part 1 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, and the Peace Treaty of Versailles which formally ended World War One, the Union of South Africa was entrusted with several duties and responsibilities in Namibia, including for instance, to "promote to the utmost the material and moral well-being and the social progress of the inhabitants of the territory". This "sacred trust of civilisation" was not honoured by South Africa, which pursued a deliberate policy of racial domination, exploitation of the country's population and economic resources during its period of colonial control up to 1990 [44].

The continued violation of the sacred trust resulted in the Namibian people's determination to continue their resistance against the new colonial authority, although they did had an alternative, collaboration, as per dichotomy cited in respect of the German period above. It was once again the Nama community of the Bondelswarts who were at the forefront as they had been thrice before against the Germans - in 1896, 1903 and 1904. In all these struggles the !Gami-#nun were among the last to surrender. We may also assume that in these events, and especially the National Great Resistance war of 1903-09, ||Khauxa!nas was involved. In May 1922 the !Gami-#nun once again resorted to arms. This time they fought for their right not to be forced into providing cheap labour for white farmers. In order to compel the !Gami-#nun to take service with farmers in the south, the SWA Administration had imposed a heavy tax on their dogs, which were indispensable for hunting. This arbitrary action was strongly opposed and a tax-collecting police officer was detained by the !Gami-#nun. The South African administrator reacted in the tradition of his German predecessors by ordering the resistance to be suppressed by force [45].

This was probably the last time that ||Khauxa!nas featured in Namibia's history of resistance. The !Gami-#nun resistance of 1922 was of particular significance as it was the first occasion on which South Africa's oppressive policies in Namibia were placed under the international spotlight. The international opposition to South Africa continued from that time onwards, together with the striving by the Namibian people for their rightful destiny as a sovereign, independent nation.

But the continuous process of resistance, especially by the Nama, resulted in Namibians being almost dispossessed of their land and suffering political fragmentation. Consequently, it is not to be wondered at that they were unable to preserve the tradition of a site which had played a formidable part on many occasions in Namibia's history of resistance struggle.


[1] All research and classification of sites prior to independence were based on differentiation between archaeological - classified as of non-European origin, and historical sites - classified as of colonial European origin.
[2] Jacobson, Leon: The Brandberg, Rössing Uranium Ltd., Windhoek, 1981, p.10
[3] Times Atlas of World History, London, 1989, p.44
[4] Katjavivi, Peter H.: A History of Resistance in Namibia, James Currey, London; OAU, Addis Ababa and Unesco Press, Paris, 1988, p.1
[5] Jacobson, op cit, p.11
[6] Kinahan, J.: The Archaeological Structure of Pastoral Production in the Central Namib Desert, SA Archaeological Society, Goodwinn Series, Volume 5, 1986, p.69
[7] Jacobson, L.; Boulle, G. J. and Peisach, M.: Archaeological Significance of Trace Elements Analysis of South West African Potherds, Cape Town, 1979, p.215
[8] Kinahan, J. and Vogel, J.C.: Recent Copper-Working Sites in the Khuiseb Drainage, Namibia, Cape Town, 1982, p.45
[9] Oral information from H. Melber
[10] Vigne, Randolph: The Botany Bay that failed: Commodore Thompson and the Namibian Coast Scheme, Australian Historical Association Conference, Sydney, 1988, p.9
[11] Du Pisani, op cit, p.13
[12] Dierks: Namibian Roads, op cit, p.16
[13] Dierks, Klaus: Namibia's Walvis Bay Issue - Origin and Rise of a Colonial Dispute, EPA, Windhoek, 1991, p.13
[14] Du Pisani, op cit, p.13-14
[15] Mossop, E., E.: The Journals of Brink and Rhenius: The Van Riebeeck Society, Vol.28, Cape Town, 1947, p.41-53
[16] Dierks: Namibian Roads, op cit, p.16-17
[17] Lau, B.: Namibia in Jonker Afrikaners's Time, Archeia 8, Windhoek, 1987, p.8-19. See also: Cape Archives: LMS Journals: Schmelen 1816, Kitchingman 1820, Albrecht 1808 as well as many other references in the "Transactions of the London Missionary Society" and the "Wesleyan Missionary Notices".
[18] Oral information from T. Dedering
[19] Drechsler, op cit, p.29
[20] Du Pisani, op cit, p.14
[21] Ibid, p.15
[22] Ibid
[23] Information from Horst Drechsler
[24] Drechsler, op cit, p.29-31
[25] United Nations Institute for Namibia: Namibia - Perspectives for National Reconstruction and Development, Lusaka, 1986, p.28
[26] United Nations Institute for Namibia, op cit, p.28
[27] Ibid, p.29
[28] Drechsler, op cit, p.29-31
[29] United Nations Institute for Namibia, op cit, p.29
[30] Du Pisani, op cit, p.16
[31] Gurirab, Theo Ben: Presentation to the RSA Government during the Cape Town Talks on Walvis Bay, 14 March 1991
[32] Du Pisani, op cit, p.17
[33] Drechsler, op cit, p.34
[34] Du Pisani, op cit, p.21
[35] Drechsler, op cit, p.71-130
[36] Dierks: ||Khauxa!nas, op cit, p.24-29, Drechsler, op cit, p.183-184 and Schmiedel, op cit, p.194
[37] Bley, Helmut: South-West Africa under German Rule, Heinemann, London, 1971, p.163
[38] Ibid, p.133
[39] Katjavivi, op cit, p.10 and Bley: op cit, p.151
[40] Dierks, Klaus: Schmalspureisenbahnen erschliessen Afrika's letzte Wildnis - Namibias Schienenverkehr zwischen Aufbau und Rückgang, Windhoek, 1985, p.347-361 and Dierks, Klaus: Namibia's Railway System - Future Link to Africa, Harare, 1989, p.8
[41] Du Pisani, op cit, p.36-37
[42] Ibid, p.37-42
[43] Drechsler, op cit, p.236
[44] United Nations Institute for Namibia, op cit, p.34-35
[45] Drechsler, op cit, p.237




The foregoing study dealt with a hitherto unknown chapter of Namibian history. These research efforts lead to the discovery of the oldest Namibian urban settlement, ||Khauxa!nas - Schans Vlakte, east of the Great Karas Mountains, which was built by one of the Nama communities at the turn of the 18th century. This historical find resulted in the identification of the first systematic building structures in an engineering sense in the history of the country. The investigations also revealed the fact that Alexander's "Robber Henrick's Place" or Ridsdale's "Klip Fontein" can be found in the ancient stone ruins on the farm Narudas at the eastern edge of the great Karas Mountains which represent the forgotten main settlement of the ||Hawoben during the 1830s and 1840s.

At of the end of the 1970s some 18,000 ruins and other traces of ancient settlements throughout southern Africa had been identified, but to date not much has been found in Namibia which is known to be older than ||Khauxa!nas. The available evidence indicates that this early Namibian settlement was built by different indigenous communities over a considerable period of time before the arrival of the Europeans. Although these ruins appear never to have been destroyed by human agency, their original function is not immediately apparent to the visitor. The aim of this study is to try and reveal its original function and place ||Khauxa!nas within the mainstream of Namibia's real history.

At the present time many questions still remain to be answered before the true implications of this extraordinary site of Namibian history and culture can be fully appreciated. A certain mystery, as distinct from historical obscurity, surrounds the site in the sense of the respect and awe experienced by a visitor to a location giving evidence of a substantial accomplishment. The mystery of ||Khauxa!nas may always remain, but further research will surely help to provide one of the keys to Namibia's so far neglected real history.

After independence has finally been achieved we are able to make the step from Namibia's stolen history to the real past. Future socio-economic developments will not satisfy the condition to serve mainly the economic and strategic interests of a foreign power anymore but will improve the life circumstances of those people who have been here before the first Europeans arrived. Arguing for this position, Nicholas David has contested that "archaeology's primary role is not ... that of a purveyor of satisfying pasts and identities to ethnic, national and social groups; rather it is a comparative discipline, operating on a world scale to better our understanding of hominid evolution and cultural development".


[1] David, Nicholas: Editorial: African Archaeological Review 2, 1984, p.1

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