Fictioning Namibia as a Space of Desire. An excursion into the literary space of Namibia during colonialism, apartheid and the Liberation Struggle

  • Language: English
  • 2019
  • 286 pages
  • Index
  • Vol. 12
  • ISBN 978-3-906927-08-4
  • ISSN 2296-6986
  • eISBN 978-3-906927-09-1
  • eISSN 2297-444X
Renzo Baas

Fictioning Namibia as a Space of Desire. An excursion into the literary space of Namibia during colonialism, apartheid and the Liberation Struggle

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Modern-day Namibian history has largely been shaped by three major eras: German colonial rule, South African apartheid occupation, and the Liberation Struggle. It was, however, not only military conquest that laid the cornerstone for the colony, but also how the colony was imagined, the ‘dream’ of this colony. As a tool of discursive worldmaking, literature has played a major role in providing a framework in which to ‘dream’ Namibia, first from outside its borders, and then from within. In Fictioning Namibia as a Space of Desire, Renzo Baas employs Henri Lefebvre’s city–countryside dialectic and reworks it in order to uncover how fictional texts played an integral part in the violent acquisition of a foreign territory. Through the production of myths around whiteness, German and South African authors designed a literary space in which control, destruction, and the dehumanisation of African peoples are understood as a natural order, one that is dictated by history and its linear continuation. These European texts are offset by Namibia’s first novel by an African, offering a counter-narrative to the colonial invention that was (German) South West Africa.

Renzo Baas is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, where he is working on African-American and African speculative fictions as a response to exclusionary and alienating politics. He has conducted research on (post)colonial literatures, Afrofuturist and African speculative fictions, graphic novels, as well as historic colonial novels.

1 Introduction
2 Social and Literary Space
3 The Colonial Era: War, Toil, and Diamonds
4 The Apartheid Era: The Trust in Maps and Guns
5 The Namibian Moment: Learning to Sing
6 Conclusion

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