Gewald, Jan-Bart (1999): Herero Heroes

Book cover Jan-Bart Gewald Herero Heroes Socio-Political History Herero Namibia 1890-1923 Ohio 1999

Gewald, Jan-Bart: Herero Heroes. A Socio-Political History of the Herero of Namibia 1890-1923, Ohio 1999

Description (text by the publisher, taken from the back cover):

“This book describes the manner in which the Herero of Namibia struggled to maintain control over their own freedom in the face of advancing German colonial control. The Herero-German war led to the destruction of Herero society in all of its pre-war facets. Yet Herero society re-emerged, re-organizing itself around the structures of the German colonial army and beliefs of the Rhenish mission.

Taking advantage of the South African invasion of Namibia in World War One the Herero established themselves in areas of their own choosing. The effective re-occupation of land by the Herero forced the new colonial state, anxious to maintain peace and cut costs, to come to terms with the existence of Herero society.

The study ends in 1923 when the death and funeral of Samuel Maharero – first paramount of the Herero and then resistance leader – was the catalyst that brought the disparate groups of Herero together to establish a single unitary Herero identity.

Jan-Bart Gewald teaches at the institute for African Studies at the University of Cologne.

Contents: Introduction – For the want of a nation: Herero politics on the eve of colonisation – The Herero succession dispute, 1890-94 – Samuel Maharero as Paramount Chief, 1894-6 – The curse of Kahimemua, 1897-1903 – Ovita Ovia Zürn, Zürn’s war, 1904-8 – The histories of the Old Testament teach us, 1905-14 – This land is not yours, it is the property of America and the Herero, 1915-23 – Conclusion – Sources & bibliography

Cover: Herero honour guard meeting Samuel Maharero’s coffin in Okahandja, 1923.

With kind permission of the Basler Afrika Bibliographien”


‘Herero Heroes’ is also available as download on the website of South African History online

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