Precolonial Communities of Southwestern Africa : A History of Owambo Kingdoms, 1600-1920

Dublin Core


Precolonial Communities of Southwestern Africa : A History of Owambo Kingdoms, 1600-1920


This Study is the first attempt to reconstruct the precolonial history of the Owambo people between 1600-1920. Based on thesis (Ph.D)--University of Joensuu, Finland. "The linking of the concept of literacy to conscious action shattered the question of how Africans perceived the concept of history. Thus, literacy and documentation became the recognized ways of preserving history, while orally transmitted history was regarded as a mere myth. Here most historians have been mistaken in not recognizing the fact that oral traditions are not simple tales, but are in most societies linked closely to religion. Through this process, traditions became sacred and their distortion regarded as a violation of the traditional religion. I became bothered during the course of my study by the way in which the "history of the Owambo people" has been written. In many works, the perspective is heavily influenced not only by the ideas and institutions of which we are all products, but more so by the perception of the reality we are faced with. The independence of Namibia marks the beginning of a new era in African historiography. This was one of my sources of inspiration in the new thinking and approach during the course of writing. Therefore, this study serves as a stepping-stone in the history of the African people, which I hope will open up scientific debates aimed at placing the history of the long-deprived Namibian people in the context of world history. The completion of this work could not have been possible without the independence of Namibia, which made it possible for me to carry out the fieldwork in Owamboland. It is against this background that I want to thank all my informants, all research assistants and many Namibians who have been actively involved in the struggle for national liberation under the leadership of SWAPO. I am greatly indebted to the Finnish International Development Agercy (FINNIDA) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, and the Finnchurchaid of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, for the scholarship grant and the constant financial assistance throughout the preparation of this work and my years of study. The manuscript of this study benefited very much from the initial comments made by Ella Kamanya, M.A. Muhammed Salih, Seppo Sivonen, my supervisor Associate Professor Seppo Rytkonen and Professor Thomas Tlou. Their constructive criticism has helped me to improve the quality of this work; I am grateful to all of them. I particularly thank many individuals, especially those who have helped me with the completion of technical matters: Christina Mann for proof-reading the manuscript; Petteri Makela for constructive criticism at various stages of this work, and for helping with much of the drawings in this work; John Hakapandi for the drawing of the Owambo homestead; and Brigitte Lau, who gave the final touch to the manuscript. Finally, my gratitude goes to my daughters Kalinde and Shekupe and my parents, who endured my absence during the long years of study. I dedicate this book to the Owambo ancestors who lived through the experience, and who transmitted the traditions through the generations."


Frieda-Nela Williams


National Archives of Namibia


1991, 1994 (2nd Edition)


© National Archives of Namibia







Frieda-Nela Williams, “Precolonial Communities of Southwestern Africa : A History of Owambo Kingdoms, 1600-1920,” Namibia Digital Repository, accessed July 19, 2024,

Output Formats