ISBN 9783905758900
Pages 46
Dimensions 234 x 156mm
Illustrations Colour Illustrations and Colour Photographs
Published 2017
Publisher Basler Afrika Bibliographien, Namibia
Format Paperback

Native Estates

Records of Mobility across Colonial Boundaries

by Ellen Ndeshi Namhila

In many instances, the colonial state has left a strong imprint on the postcolonial archive. In the National Archives of Namibia (NAN), for instance, it is difficult to locate pre-independence person-related records of the black majority, while the same type of records of their light-skinned compatriots are easily accessible. This lecture discusses a substantial corpus of about 11 000 so-called “Native Estates” files which previously were not accessible through the existing finding aids. What is the research potential of these formerly neglected and untouched records in particular regarding the social history of contract labour in Namibia and of African migrants on a wider scale? Furthermore, a substantial amount of estate files of migrants from other African countries were discovered – a feature of Namibian history that has rarely been researched. The sometimes very detailed files reveal information on the migrants’ origin, their integration in Namibian society and expatriate networks in the country. They also reveal that not only Angolans and West Africans but also a substantial number of migrants from other Southern African colonies found employment opportunities in Namibia during the colonial era. The “Native Estate” records thus have an important research potential with regard to the entire Southern African region, which was heavily reliant on migrant labour both on the demand and on the supply side.

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About the Author

Ellen Ndeshi Namhila

Ellen Ndeshi Namhila was born at Ondobe village in northern Namibia in 1963, and went into exile when she was twelve years old. She got her education in Namibia, Angola, Zambia, The Gambia, and Finland, obtaining an M.SSc. in Library and Information Science at the University of Tampere, Finland. She has worked as a researcher and librarian at the Multidisciplinary Research Centre; as a Deputy Director: Research, Information and Library Services at the Namibian Parliament; and as a Director of Namibia Library and Archives Service in the Ministry of Education. She is currently the University Librarian at the University of Namibia. Ellen is author of: The Price of Freedom, her autobiography (1997); Kahumba Kandola - Man and Myth: the Biography of a Barefoot Soldier (2005); Tears of Courage: Five Mothers Five Stories One Victory (2009). She is currently a PhD student at the University of Tampere, Finland.

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