Understanding Namibia: The Trials of Independence

Paperback | April 1, 2015

byHenning Melber

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Since independence in 1990, Namibia has witnessed only one generation with no memory of colonialism - the "born frees", who voted in the 2009 elections. The anti-colonial liberation movement, SWAPO, dominates the political scene, effectively making Namibia a de facto one-party state dominatedby the first "struggle generation".While those in power declare their support for a free, fair, and just society, the limits to liberation are such that emancipation from foreign rule has only been partially achieved. Despite its natural resources Namibia is among the world's most unequal societies and indicators of wellbeing havenot markedly improved for many among the former colonized majority, despite a constitution enshrining human rights, social equality, and individual liberty.This book analyses the transformation of Namibian society since Independence. Melber explores the achievements and failures and contrasts the narrative of a post-colonial patriotic history with the socio-economic and political realities of the nation-building project. He also investigates whether,notwithstanding the relative stability prevailing to date, the negotiation of controlled change during Namibia's decolonization could have achieved more than simply a change of those in control.

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Since independence in 1990, Namibia has witnessed only one generation with no memory of colonialism - the "born frees", who voted in the 2009 elections. The anti-colonial liberation movement, SWAPO, dominates the political scene, effectively making Namibia a de facto one-party state dominatedby the first "struggle generation".While tho...

Henning Melber joined SWAPO as the son of German immigrants in 1974. He was Director of the Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit (NEPRU) in Windhoek, Research Director of The Nordic Africa Institute and Executive Director of The Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, both in Uppsala. He is Senior Advisor to the Foundation and Extraordinary Pr...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8.5 × 5.51 × 0.91 inPublished:April 1, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019024156X

ISBN - 13:9780190241568

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"Understanding Namibia is a very good overview of the politics of post-colonial Namibia, written in a clear and readable style, and with the passion of one who was involved in the struggle for an independent Namibia. Henning Melber has been one of the scholars leading the debate on the"limits of liberation" in Southern Africa and his book provides a broad prospectus of issues, ranging from a brief overview of the form of decolonisation in Namibia, to the selective patriotic history that has provided the legitimating ideology of the ruling party SWAPO and the forms of partypolitical dominance that have emerged since 1990." --Brian Raftopoulos, Director of Research, Solidarity Peace Trust