"Little Research Value"
279 pages
English

"Little Research Value"

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279 pages
English
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Ellen Ndeshi Namhila is intrigued by the question: Why can the National Archives of Namibia respond to genealogical enquiries of Whites in a matter of minutes with finding estate records of deceased persons, while similar requests from Blacks cannot be served? Not satisfied with the sweeping statement that this is the result of colonialism and apartheid, she follows the track of so-called �Native estates� through legislation, record creation and disposal, records management and administrative neglect, authorised and unauthorised destruction, transfer and appraisal, selective processing, and (almost) final amnesia. Eventually she discovers over 11,000 forgotten surviving African estate records � but also evidence for the destruction of many others. And she demonstrates the potential of these records to interpret the lives of those who otherwise appear in history only as statistics � records which were condemned to destruction by colonial archivists stating they had �little research value and no functional value�. This study of memory against forgetting is a call to post-colonial archives to re-visit their holdings and the systemic colonial bias that continues to haunt them. This is the revised version of Ellen Namhila�s 2015 doctoral thesis published at the University of Tampere, Finland.

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Publié par
Date de parution 28 novembre 2017
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9783905758931
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 28 Mo

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“Little Research Value”
ellenndeshinamhila
“Little Research Value” African Estate Records and Colonial Gaps in a Post-Colonial National Archive
Basel Namibia Studies Series 17
Basler Afrika Bibliographien 2017
©2017 The author ©2017 The photographers ©2017 Basler Afrika Bibliographien
Basler Afrika Bibliographien Namibia Resource Centre & Southern Africa Library Klosterberg 23 PO Box 4001 Basel Switzerland www.baslerafrika.ch
All rights reserved.
Efforts were made to trace the copyright holders of illustrations and maps used in this publication. We apologise for any incomplete or incorrect acknowledgements.
Cover image: Estate file of Tshombiri (Jombili) Amutenya yaKanipembe. Cover with wristband for contract workers’ identification number found in the National Archives of Namibia. Reference number: NAW [47] Estates 1929, No. 15/1929 Photographer: Werner Hillebrecht
ISBN 978-3-905758-78-8
ISSN 2234-9561
Contents
Acknowledgments
Silencing the African Past in a Colonial State Archive: the History of the Administrative Death of “Dead Natives”.Introduction by Dag Henrichsen 1 Introduction Motivation and Goal  The Selection of the Research Object  The Concept of “Colonial Archives”  Geographical and Historical Background of Namibia  History of Records Management and Archives in Namibia
2
3
4
Literature ReviewIntroduction Archival Science Literature African Case Studies Person-related Records in the International Context The Transition to Postcolonial Archives Interpreting and Re-appropriating the Colonial Archives Conclusions
MethodologyGeneral Methodological Considerations Data Collection Research Questions Data Analysis
Legal Framework for Administration of Deceased Native EstatesIntroduction Legislative Context De⁞ning the Main Concepts of the Study The Administration of Estates in General Under German Rule (1884–1915) End of German Rule Laws Governing Estates Under the South Africa Colonial Period (1915–1990) Summing Up the Legal Framework
VIII
I
X
1 1 5 8 9 12
24 24 24 26 27 28 29 32
34 34 35 38 39
43 43 43 46 53 62 62 73
5
6
7
Administrative Structures and ProcessesIntroduction Administrative Structures for the Creation and Administration of Native  Estates Records Administrative Processes Management of Estate Records in the Creating OĹces Management of Estate Records by the Archives Depot, Windhoek The Practical Implications of the Legal and Administrative Framework
The Management of Native Estate Records in the NANThe Discovery Tools of the National Archives of Namibia Identi⁞cation of Native Estate Records Investigating Actual Estate Files as Discovered Through Previous Research The Level of Processing of Estate Records at the NAN Summary of Statistical Findings Preservation and Destruction at the Archives Repository
Discussion and ConclusionsMajor Findings and Conclusions Scholarly and Professional Contribution Limitations of the Study Recommendations Decolonising the Archives
Sources
Appendix A. Glossary
Appendix B. Acronyms
Appendix C. Tables
Appendix D. Illustrations
78 78
79 87 99 112 115
117 117 120 130 141 145 147
151 151 168 173 174 182
184
215
219
220
238
Basel Namibia Studies Series
In 1997,P. Schlettwein Publishing(PSP) launched theBasel Namibia Studies Series. Its pri-mary aim was to lend support to a new generation of research, scholars and readers emerg-ing with the independence of Namibia in 1990. Initially, the book series published crucially important doctoral theses on Namibian his-tory. It soon expanded to include more recent political, anthropological, media and cultural history studies by Namibian scholars. P. Schlettwein Publishing,as an independent publishing house, maintained the series in collaboration with theBasler Afrika BibliographienNamibia Resource Centre and (BAB), Southern Africa Library in Switzerland. All share a commitment to encourage research on Africa in general and southern Africa in particular. Through the incorporation of PSP into theCarl Schlettwein Stiftung,the series, by then a consolidated platform for Namibian Stud-ies and beyond, was integrated into the publishing activities of the BAB. Academic publishing, whether from or about Namibia, remains limited. TheBasel Na-mibia Studies Seriescontinues to provide a forum for exciting scholarly work in the human and social sciences. The editors welcome contributions. For further information, or submission of manu-scripts, please contact theBasler Afrika Bibliographienat www.baslerafrika.ch.
Acknowledgments
I thank the heirs of the late Simon Zhu Mbako for the kind permission to reproduce his poem “We come and die as numbers”. I am grateful to the National Archives of Namibia for the permission to research their records, and especially to the sta⁝ for not only fetching endless piles of records but also get-ting actively involved in the elusive search for more Native estate records than those that were indicated in their ⁞nding aids. My gratitude goes to my employer, the University of Namibia, who covered indispensa-ble costs and provided one year of study leave that made it possible to concentrate on this enduring research. I thank the Vice-Chancellor Professor Lazarus Hangula for his dedication to sta⁝ development which allowed me to take study leave. Without his support, this work would not have been possible. My supervisors Prof. Pertti Vakkari and Prof. Pekka Hentonen gave me their valuable guidance and support throughout the writing process of this dissertation. I am grateful to the School of Information Science which generously provided me with a fully equipped oĹce space and full privileges of access and use of all their facilities. I thank my always helpful colleague Ritva Niskala who had to carry my workload during my study leave. I am indebted to my husband, Werner Hillebrecht for his valuable translation of the Ger-man texts and for reading and commenting on various versions of this study. Kalervo and Ritva Jarvelin have generously opened their home to me and have often provided me with family support. My friends Anu and Kari Hakari, Tuula Haavisto, Kaisa and Matti Sinikara have created a de-stressing environment during my stay in Finland. My daughters Monde, Mwalengwa and Ndadilepo had to miss much motherly care dur-ing my long absences and the late hours of writing. I thank them for their understanding and support. This said, I am solely responsible for the interpretation of the data and any shortcomings that may be contained in this study.
We Come and Die as Numbers
By Simon Zhu Mbako (1950–1994)
When we enter the mines, We receive our numbers; Marked on a plastic “bracelet”; Welded onto our wrists. For one or two years, We are baptised as numbers.
We serve as numbers; We clock in as numbers; Our white bosses call us by numbers; We clock out by numbers – Our only identity on the mines.
We get our wages as numbers; As numbers we have accidents; We go to hospital as numbers; As numbers we die; And we enter our coĹns as numbers. We enter the compounds as numbers; As numbers we leave the compounds; We get our meals as numbers; As numbers we sleep and wake up; And we move around as numbers.
When we are sucked dry By the murderous speed of work; We are sent to the reservations as numbers, When we are sick of poisonous gasses; We are denied compensation – For it is not worth numbers. When the ⁞ne dust eats away our lungs; We are sent to our graves – as numbers.
So we come and die as numbers.
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