Academic journal article African Studies Review

Deutsche Herrschaft üBer Afrikaner. Staatlicher Machanspruch Und Wirklichkeit Im Kolonialen Namibia

Academic journal article African Studies Review

Deutsche Herrschaft üBer Afrikaner. Staatlicher Machanspruch Und Wirklichkeit Im Kolonialen Namibia

Article excerpt

Jürgen Zimmerer. Deutsche Herrschaft über Afrikaner. Staatlicher Machanspruch und Wirklichkeit im kolonialen Namibia. Münster: Lit Verlag, 2001. Europa-Übersee Historische Studien. Bd. 10. 344 pp. Diagrams. Maps. Tables. Bibliography. 35.90 Euro. Cloth.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the literature on German colonialism has grown tremendously. This study is part of the body of work investigating Germany's colonial experience and its place within the larger context of German history. Specifically, this monograph examines the intentions and realities of the colonial administration through the lens of "native" policy in German Southwest Africa (present-day Namibia). In doing so, it not only provides new insights into the dynamics of German colonial rule, but also presents a reevaluation of the relations between ruler and ruled. Athough exceptions do exist, most works on the German experience in Namibia treat the various European colonial actors as homogeneous entities. Thus they are normally categorized as either settlers, administrators, missionaries, and so on. This study breaks down this monolithic characterization of the administrative apparatus by moving officials from all levels to the forefront.

By investigating the complexities and heterogeneous nature of the colonial regime, Zimmerer reveals that a disparity existed between the perceptions of power and the realities of rule. he notes that although Germans could claim to have total domination over the indigenous population and the land after the 1904-7 wars against the Nama and Herero, they were never able to achieve complete control over the African populations for a variety of reasons including the size of the territory, logistical problems, insufficient personnel, an uncooperative civilian population, and, above all, the behavior of bureaucrats. …

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