On the Complexity of the Urbanization Process of the Bushmen: Case Study on the !Xun in the Grootfontein Area in Namibia

Nedvěd Radek

Abstract

Although overlooked by both administrators as well as anthropologists, and numerically rather marginal, the Bushmen have been always part of the Namibian urban spaces on their erstwhile territories. Based on several field research trips to the area of Grootfontein between 2007 and 2013 and archival research, this article outlines the complex historical processes and factors influencing the mobility of the !Xun Bushmen into, and out of, the urban space of Grootfontein in the commercial farming area of Namibia. Even though the mobility to its urban space was largely legally controlled during both the German and South African rule, the Bushmen continuously managed to penetrate it. With the development of the Blikkiesdorp settlement in the township of Grootfontein in the early 2000s, when many Bushmen were allocated a plot by the municipality, the number of !Xun in the town conside­rably increased and they became an integral part of the afore-mentioned settlement. This article argues that the reasons for Bushman urbanization are far more complex than being solely economically motivated.

Keywords

Bushmen; !Xun; urbanization; Namibia

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Vydání: 16, 2014, 2