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Etosha-Kunene Histories – A Timeline of Historical References: 4. 1958 – 1970 = Etosha Game Reserve to Atlantic Ocean in west,
prior to ‘Damaraland’ & ‘Kaokoland’ homelands created

Building on literature review by Sian Sullivan and Ute Dieckmann for
Etosha-Kunene Histories

Last edited 03/07/2022 [SS]

© This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Etosha-Kunene Histories – A Timeline of Historical References

4. 1958 – 1970 = Etosha Game Reserve to Atlantic Ocean in west,
prior to ‘Damaraland’ & ‘Kaokoland’ homelands created

Sian Sullivan and Ute Dieckmann

Originalkarte des Herero & Kaoko-Landes, by A. Petermann, drawing journeys and observations by Rhenish missionaries,
especially J. Böhm and F. Bernsmann, published in Perthes 1878, p. Tafel 18.
Source:, 10 November 2020.

The shifting boundaries of Game Reserve No. 2 / Etosha National Park, 1907–1970.
Source: Dieckmann 2007, p. 76, reproduced with permission.

To improve the future we must first understand the present,

and to really understand the present we must know the past.

(Owen-Smith 2010, p. iv)

This is the fourth part of a timeline recording literature and other references relevant for understanding the evolution of conservation, land and environmental policies, its impact on indigenous communities in ‘Etosha-Kunene’, Namibia and ethnicity in the research area. It builds on literature review compiled by Sian Sullivan, initially for the Future Pasts research project that focused primarily on Kunene Region, and especially the histories of the area around Sesfontein / !Nani|aus, and by Ute Dieckmann, initially for the Collaborative Research Centre 389 (Arid Climate, Adaptation and Cultural Innovation in Africa) at the University of Cologne and subsequently for the Xoms |Omis Project (Etosha Heritage Project) in Namibia.[1]

The timeline collates references to historical colonial interactions with the broader region, indigenous/local concerns and changing issues and policies regarding land allocation and biodiversity conservation. The Kunene Region of independent Namibia amalgamates a number of prior administrative areas and boundaries that reflected complex interactions between colonial powers and local peoples, often with devastating impacts on the latter
[2]. The current Etosha National Park belongs to three different regions, Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto. Understanding contemporary conservation and cultural concerns can be aided by information regarding the pasts that underscore the present. It is with this consideration in mind that the timeline here is shared.

Timeline periodisation:

1. pre-colonial to 1884

2. 1884 – 1907 = colonial reorganisation prior to gazetting of ‘Game Reserve no. 2’ 

3. 1907 – 1958 = Game Reserve no. 2 / Etosha Game Reserve & ‘Kaokoveld’ Native Reserves, prior to move of western boundaries to Ugab and Hoanib Rivers

4. 1958 – 1970 = Etosha Game Reserve to Atlantic Ocean in west, prior to ‘Damaraland’ & ‘Kaokoland’ homelands created; Etosha National Park (ENP) reduced in size

5. 1971 – 1997 = fenced and reduced size Etosha National Park; communal area residents alienated from wildlife

6. 1998 – present = CBNRM / communal area conservancies & ENP

1. Many of the places mentioned below are mapped with information from literature review here or here.

2. Follow these links for
 full bibliography and a list of abbreviations.

3. A double-asterix [**] is a marker that there is something to be checked or added at this point in the text.

4. We retain identifying terms used in historical texts that carry derogatory connotations
only when quoting directly from these texts, for three reasons:
i. these narratives and the ways they are worded can add understanding of the dynamic colonial zeitgeist infusing these texts on the part of their (predominantly white, male) authors;
ii. identifying terms can sometimes help clarify contemporary concerns about who was affected or were the protagonists of recorded historical events;
iii. these texts paradoxically remain some of the possibilities for making visible the past presence and experiences of a wider diversity of people affected by historical circumstances, but who were unable to leave their own written records.
It goes without saying that we do not endorse the prejudices often also found in the words of historical observers.

5. Sometimes, and especially going into the past, different authors attach the same events to different dates. We retain such discrepancies as we are interest here as much in how authors write about events in the past, as in what events are recorded to have happened in the past.

6. All included images are at reduced resolution.

7. Information, corrections and/or connections are welcome!

Please email


Recorded Event/s


Ordinance 18 of 1958, signed off by Daniel Thomas du Plessis Viljoen, Administrator of South West Africa, replaces the ‘Hunting Board’ [1951] with the ‘Parks Board’ which has similar functions but includes ‘civil servants from agriculture, police, native affairs, the chief game warden and members of the farmers’ and hunting associations’, and gives the Administrator ‘the power to declare any area a game park’, to amend park boundaries and to provide for ‘the establishment and proclamation of private game reserves’[3]. The Board,

became more specialized, and consisted of the chairman who was the member­ of the Executive Committee charged with Game Preservation, the Director of Agriculture, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, the Chief Native Commis­sioner, a member of the SWA Farmers’ Association, a member of the Hunters’ Association and in an advisory capacity the then Chief Game Warden and at present [1974] the Director of Nature Conservation and Tourism.[4]

The Ordinance was also notable in that it enabled farmers to have their property pro­claimed private game reserves with the same legal pro­tection as a game park[5]. The granting of hunting permits during the non-hunting season is permitted for foreign visitors[6].

This Ordinance (18 of 1958), also provides for the creation and definition of ‘Etosha Game Park’,[7] with “the definition of Game Reserve No. 2, as set out in the Second Schedule to that Proclamation [section 3(2) of the 1928 Prohibited Areas Proclamation (no. 26)], is hereby repealed and substituted by the undermentioned new definition” _ with “an area bounded as follows”, named as “Game Reserve No. 2”:

From a point where the common border between the Territory of SOUTH WEST AFRICA and PORTUGUESE ANGOLA meets the coast of the ATLANTIC OCEAN, proceeding generally eastwards along the aforesaid common border to a point where it is intersected by the meridian of Longitude 14° East, then south-eastwards and eastwards along the boundary of the Magisterial District of Ovamboland to a point due North of the north-western corner beacon of the farm Onguma. 314, then generally southwards along the boundaries of but excluding the following farms in succession, in the Magisterial District of Tsumeb, viz. [2] Onguma 314, Vergenoeg 942, Kleinbegin 941, Leeudrink 940, farm 658, Heliodor 857, Obab 856, Mara 840, Mopanie 447, Lynplaas 436, Vrede 435, Olifantslaagte 433, Nooitgedag 418, Hestria 417, to the north-western corner beacon of the last mentioned farm, then generally westwards along the boundaries of but excluding the following farms in succession in the Magisterial District of Outjo namely Renex 494, Grensplaas 473, Tsabis 47O, Werda 469, Nuchas 468, Elandsfontein 463, Mooiplaas 462, Koppies 457, Oberland 455, Montebello 456, Leeupoort 441, Margo 436, farm 436, Sonop 434, farm, 432, Avondrede 430, Eindpaal 429, to the most northern beacon of the last mentioned farm, then generally westwards and southwards along the “Police Zone” boundary up to the mouth of the UGAB RIVER then generally north-westwards along the Atlantic Coast line to the south-western corner of the Kaokoveld Native Reserve, then generally north-eastwards along the boundaries of but excluding the Kaokoveld Native Reserve, Sesfontein Reserve 207, Kaokoveld Native Reserve up to a point where a straight line from one kilometer south of the waterhole Otjokaware (Kowares) extended westwards to the waterhole Cerehamis (situated on the Gomatum River, a tributary of the Hoarusib River) intersects the south-eastern boundary of the Kaokoveld Native Reserve, then westwards in a straight line to the waterhole Cerehamis, on the Gomatum River, then westwards along the Gomatum River to its junction with the Hoarusib River, then south-westwards along the Hoarusib River to its mouth on the Atlantic Ocean, then northwards along the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean to a point where the common border between the Territory of SOUTH WEST AFRICA and PORTUGUESE ANGOLA meets the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean being the point of beginning.[8]

Boundaries in 1965, showing the extent of Game Reserve no. 2 (as per Ordinance 18, 1958), the Police Zone boundary, and existing and projected game and livestock fences. Source: scan from Miescher 2012: 170, colour version received from the author and included with permission.

It appears that [part of ?] Game Reserve No. 2 becomes the Etosha Game Park according to paragraph 2, and provided that its territory does not fall within a Native reserve.[9] Berry writes ‘the early Etosha extended from Kunene and Hoarusib River mouths on the Skeleton Coast eastwards to Namutoni. …In 1958 its name was changed to Etosha Game Park [see map above].[10] 

Government Gazette, copy in German [?]: Auf Grund der ihm mit § 17 der Verordnung über Wildparks und private Wildreservate 1958 (VO, NR 18/1958) verliehenen Ermächtigung hat der Administrator die nachstehenden Durchführungsbestimmungen genehmigt: Naturschutzbestimmungen … Kapitel 1, Wildparkordnung (Etoscha-Wildpark), [permits, weapons, overnighting, speed limit, commercial activities, etc., lion parties,, fees, open seasons,] Chapter 2, Proclamation of private game reserves.[11]

Owen-Smith writes for this year that Game Reserve no. 2 is renamed Etosha Game Park and extends for 250 km south of the Hoanib River to the Ugab [!Uǂgāb] River[12] (cf. oral history that, ‘[t]hey are only giving us the place from !Nao-dâis to the other side, and they don’t want us to move in this area. They said this is now the wildlife area and you cannot move in here. They had to move to the other side - to Tsabididi’[13]). The map above (1965), however, indicates that the Game Reserve area remains called Game Reserve no. 2 with only the area around Etosha Pan renamed Etosha Game Park, where from 1 June 1958 visitors are able to obtain permits to visit Etosha from officers at Namutoni and Okaukeujo, rather than through the Magistrates Office which is seen as increasingly impractical[14].  

Gov. Notice 130 of 1958: The stock-free zone from 1947 is redefined and adjusted to the current course of the police zone boundary and the southern boundary of the Kaoko Native Reserve. The redefinition is made in view of the foot-and-mouth disease hazard.[15]

Gov. Notice 247 of 1958: Redefinition of Game Reserve 2, now includes Etosha Game Park, Kaoko Native Reserve and zone outside police zone up to Ugab (but not the strip height Sesfontein).[16] - although note comment above, i.e. provided that its territory does not fall within a Native reserve.[17] 

This means that in 1958, first the part of the former Game Reserve No. 2, which was not part of the Kaoko Native Reserve is renamed Etosha Game Park, in fact, this part was formerly also known as Namutoni Game Reserve or Namutoni Game Reserve. Later in the same year, the Game Reserve No. 2 is extended and a portion of land from the Hoanib River to the Ugab River is added, apparently mostly for the protection of rhinos, elephants and mountain zebras, and according to the definition of boundaries still includes the Kaoko Native Reserve.

The border alterations of Etosha over the years were apparently confusing for everyone. Hu Berry, for example, published several maps with different border alterations but the 1958 mapped area is inaccurate since the north-west ‘Kaokoveld’ area remained part of ‘Game Reserve no. 2’ (as per Miescher’s 1965 map above). Recent statements regarding these boundary shifts is thus appear incorrect according to Ordinance 18: i.e. that ‘Game Reserve No. 2 was already reduced to approximately 55,000 square kilometres by 1958’ and that it was recommended that Kaokoveld, ‘having functioned as a de facto game conservation area since 1928, be de-proclaimed as a game reserve’[18]. In fact, in this moment the Game Reserve no. 2 area was greatly expanded through the addition of the western area between the Hoanib and Ugab rivers.


Source: Berry 1997, p. 8. [?the shape of the 1958 extension is markedly different to that shown in Miescher’s map]

Border alterations of Etosha Game Park, permit the creation of 7 new farms.[20]

De la Bat comments on these border alterations:

[i]n the course of time it became clear that Etosha was not big enough to accommodate rare and threatened species such as black rhino, mountain zebra and black-faced impala, migratory big game like eland and elephant and the influx of wildlife from adjacent areas where it was being harassed. In 1958, the Park Board under the chairmanship of Simmie Frank made a calculated move. We agreed to the deproclamation of Game Reserve No. 1, north-east of Grootfontein, provided that the unoccupied state land[?**] between the Hoanib and Uchab Rivers to be added to Etosha. In doing so, we exchanged valuable farming land for a mountainous and desert area but we practically doubled the size of Etosha, safeguarded game migration routes and obtained a corridor to the sea. The new park extended from the Skeleton Coast to the Etosha Pan, nearly 500 kilometres inland. But we did not make allowances for the Odendaal Commission which arrived unexpectedly to solve the problems of the country ‘and to settle the land claims for the next 100 years’ as Mr. Fox Odendaal put it to me. After Odendaal Etosha resembled a plucked fowl. 17972 square kilometres had to be sacrificed to the land needs of Owambo, Kaokoland and Damaraland. We were aghast because we felt that Etosha was an asset which should be preserved for the future and should not be violated in the national interest. These recommendations caused a national and international furore that lasted for months if not years. We negotiated, pleaded and argued under the guidance of Administrator Wennie Du Plessis and Parks Board chairman H W von Bach. In the end we succeeded in retaining the bergveld in the west, the Sandveld north of Namutoni and buying out three farms in south-west near Otjovasandu. Borders were delineated and fenced and strong opinions were voiced. Rails of the old narrow gauge railway line were bought for the building of fences that stretched for hundreds of miles. Mynderd Blom, our superintendent of works, devised an elephant-proof fence which we successfully erected at problem points. More game reserves were proclaimed and the Section Game Preservation was expanded to encompass nature conservation and later tourism.[21] 

The westwards extension of Etosha adjuts farms upto the police zone boundary which from this year were awarded on a one year probation lease to farmers who had been occupying them, provided they were bona fide farmers and regular inspections indicated that they had ‘brought about sufficient improvements’ – and supported by significant subsidies, loans, advances and drought relief on the basis of Inspection Reports by the Inspector of Lands[22]. Mostly karakul sheep and goats were herded by these settler farmers with cattle limited by aridity[23]. Estimated farm ’carrying capacities’ frequently differ from report to report for the same farm, reflected dynamic environmental conditions[24]. Sullivan summarises the situation as follows:

[p]robationary leases were made available to farmers in the newly surveyed farms of south-east Damaraland in 1958 following the advertisement of these farms in 1957. The eligibility of applicants from among the existing grazing licensees was based on whether appropriate infrastructural improvements had been made to the farm, and again farmers had to prove that farming was their primary source of income . Leases were granted initially for a one-year probationary period[25].

At Twyfelfontein there were no fences or enclosures until this year, when fences were used to raise lambing rates through controlling breeding by separating rams from ewes[26]: Nb. these comments relate to a farm that is north of the Ugab, i.e. within the area included in the westwards extension of Game Reserve no. 2.


De la Bat reports that during rainy seasons, approximately 25000 wildebeest used to migrate from the plains of Ovamboland to feed on the short sweet grasses on the western plains of Etosha. In the course of 1958/59,

when the rain was insufficient to fill the natural pans, these animals died in their hundreds of saltwater poisoning. They moved out of Etosha, through Owambo into Angola never again to return. The number of resident wildebeest in the east also slowly declined over the years, probably on account of increased predation, anthrax and competition with other plains animals which in turn increased in numbers. During this time we came to an agreement with the late Chief Kambonde to proclaim that part of the Andoni Plains which fell into his area, as his private game reserve. He saw to it that the wildebeest were undisturbed as long as he lived. Today [1982] there was none left and a border fence divides this vast plain which once teemed with game.[27]

late 1950s-early 1960s

‘An estimated 25,000 plains zebra and 25,000-30,000 wildebeest made an annual anti-clockwise migration along the western side of the Etosha pan, with some wildebeest moving in and out of Ovamboland in the north’.[28]


Due to drought, the ‘total regional herd’ for ‘Kaokoland’ declines from 122,425 to 65,500 cattle and from 200,000 to 160,000 small stock..


Hendrik French Verwoed is prime minister of South Africa and is ‘generally seen as the builder of apartheid and the establisher of the South African Republic as independent from the Commonwealth’.[29]



In these years, 132 farms, with an area of 1,021,902 ha, are proclaimed as game parks under Ordinance 18 of 1958.[30]



Severe drought in Namibia.[31]

Berry mentions:

During a severe drought in the early 1960s, farmers gained emergency grazing rights for their livestock within Etosha (Executive Committee of South West Africa, Minute 334 of 1962) when an 8 to 16 km strip inside Etosha' s southern boundary was opened to farmers. De la Bat (1962) estimated 110 000 livestock grazed in the corridor under this provision.[32]

Late 1950s-1970s

In especially north and east Kaokoveld, ‘[t]he development of a network of boreholes in former dry [does he mean wet??] season grazing areas [where water must already have been available in DS?]’ leads to ‘a reversal of the mobility pattern’, such that herds can ‘stay in the former rainy season areas [where water is temporarily available?] during the dry season, as they were no longer dependent on rainwater’, plus ‘much wider areas than before were now accessible for permanent grazing’:

[t]he net effect was that herds stayed at the permanent water-points along the rivers during the rainy season and then moved out to outlying pastures during the dry season.[33]


On 1st January, probation leases to farms north-west of Khorixas are extended to five years,

after which the farmers had the option of either buying or extending their lease for a further five years. These leases normally attached conditions for farm improvement, but this was usually implemented with very generous State loans and advances[34].


Drought conditions in this year ‘initiated financial relief amounting to exemption from paying interest or rent during a period from April 1959 to March 1961’[35]. Loans acquired for purchase of cattle were not required to be repaid and these stock simply became their property [effecting preferential primitive accumulation of land, ‘improvements’ and stock][36]:

 Despite the considerable State benefits that farmers had access to when settling in these areas, however, it should not be forgotten that they were attempting to establish farming activities in an extremely remote area characterised by wide mountainous vistas and rocky terrain. As the first licensee of Kliprivier Farm describes, having experienced elephant damage to his installations and with numerous sheep with legs broken from the terrain, 'after having gone through all the trouble of constructing seven miles of road, a well, dam, trough and a dip tank, I cannot see a way of making a living out of the farm'.[37]

Some farmers allegedly used the subsidised settling of the Damaraland farms as a profit-making exercise through land speculation[38].

Resistance to the forced removal of the ‘Old Location’ / ǂKhari-!As (Klein Windhoek) in Windhoek leads to 11 people being shot dead[39]; reported in The Namibian as ‘the Old Location massacre on 10 December 1959 when the apartheid police shot 13 to death and injured more than 38 protesters. The people were against being moved to Katutura to make way for Pionierspark and Hochland Park – whites-only suburbs’[40]. Damara Chief Fritz |Hobahe Gariseb (a deputy of Gaob Dawid Goreseb) plays a major role in the resistance by taking a stance against the removals[41].


SWAPO is founded and begins to fight a guerilla war from southern Angola[42], with Angola at this time having an estimated five million people, having had ‘an estimated three to five millions slaves’ exorted, ‘of which Portuguese, many illiterate, and Germans formed a very small minority among the various African tribes’[43]. Liberia and Ethiopia apply to the International Court of Justice (The Hague) ‘for a binding judgement against South African occupation’ of South West Africa, increasing international attention on the region[44]. Uprisings against the Portuguese in Angola stimulate the South African government to spend,

a great deal of money on constructing macadamized roads in South-West Africa, from the Orange River in the south to the banks of the Kunene in the north, from the Kalahari in the east to the Atlantic Coast in the west. The government also built airports and expanded the harbor in Walvis Bay. All this was done with a view of being able to move troops rapidly northward to keep any possible conflict outside its own borders, hopefully also outside its buffering mandate[45].

In February, following a few years’ correspondence, David Levin of Twyfelfontein purchases Farm No. 741 Twyfelfontein Annex for 6d (5c) / ha (3799 has), on a basis of 8 has / small stock unit (revised upwards from 4 has / SSU)[46].

A population census of ‘Kaokoland’ records 9,234 people and these figures inform the Odendaal report [see 1964][47].

740 surveyed farms in the Outjo district.[48] All the land of the present district had been surveyed and allocated to settlers by that time.[49]


Settler farmers are using the western area[50].


Veterinary cordon fence - the ‘Red Line’ - erected[51], merging the previously established settlement and veterinary borders[52]. A campaign in Kaokoveld reduces the number of predators[53] and 136 boreholes are drilled here[54].

The glossonym ‘Nama’ is officially changed to ‘Nama/Damara’ or ‘Damara/Nama’ in recognition that ‘it does not cater for the Damara majority that speaks the language’[55].


Some farmers in Welwitschia administrative area have given up farming because of drought conditions – for example, Boy Blaauw (Andries Blaauw’s son?) from Langberg south of Welwitschia is working as a Foot-and-Mouth inspector and Betta Blaauw is managing their restaurant, Boererus Kafee / Farmers’ Rest Café[56].

An epidemic of foot-and-mouth disease in the northern areas of Namibia in 1961 results in the erection of a “game-proof” fence as a veterinary measure along the eastern and southern boundaries of Etosha, with a height of 2.6 m and with 17 stands of wire, this fence proved more difficult to cross not just for animals but for humans as well[57] (see above). Ecologist R.C. Bilgalke provides ‘an in-depth analysis’ of how plains zebra and wildebeest herds ‘alternated between dry and west season grazing areas, following localised rains en masse[58].

A Nature Conservation annual report notes that farmers are permitted to kill six species as ‘vermin’ on their land: jackal, hyena, wild cats, leopards, wild dogs and lynx[59]. In the preceding year, more than 6000 jackals were killed, and even elephants and lions were shot often in large numbers.[60]

Rietfontein in the Omaheke, at this time occupied by independently foraging Ju|’hoansi, is ‘formally ceded by the colonial administration to the Herero king’ as an extension to Hereroland East, leaving southern Ju|’hoansi without any legal rights to land here[61]. By this year !Xo and Nharo-speaking communities in the southern Omaheke have been ‘forced to surrender the last of their lands to white farmers and Herero’[62].

Extension of farming area in the north-eastern Grootfontein district (and move of the police zone border): around 50 farms in the so-called Horabe-Block and around 100 farms in the Rietfontein-Block.[63] Between 1947 and the 1960s, the police zone border was moved ten times to make land available for settlers.[64]


Outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease leads to separation of the combined settlement and veterinary border (the ‘Red Line’)[65], Game Reserve No. 1 is deproclaimed in favour of farming [was that not in context of the 1958 extension of Game Reserve No. 2 to the Sotuh-West, see quote of de la Bat in 1958][66], and game-proof fencing is erected along Etosha’s southern boundary[67] – ​290kms in length, ‘from the farm Renex to Otjovasundu’, nonetheless repeatedly damaged by elephants that then caused problems to neighbouring farmers and sometimes had to be shot[68].


Re: the south-westwards extension of Game Reserve No. 2 along the Ugab River, Joubert writes:“[t]his area was exchanged in 1962 for Game Reserve No. I which was deproclaimed as game reserve and became part of the Kavango Homeland” –  i.e. it seems that there was a lag from Ordinance 18 etc. and any reality of the westwards extension[69].

The South African government sets up a Commission under Frans Hendrik (Fox) Odendaal – administrator of the Transvaal in RSA[70] – ‘to propose means whereby the indigenous people could “develop” more rapidly’[71] and ‘to enquire into “further promoting the material and moral welfare, and social progress of the inhabitants of South West Africa, more particularly its non-white inhabitants’[72], following Dr. F.R. Tomlinson’s ‘homeland’ recommendations in South Africa[73], i.e. to realise ‘the policy of separate political development of ethnic groups in South West Africa’[74]. The Commission’s terms of reference were ‘to enquire thoroughly into further promoting the material and moral welfare of the inhabitants of South West Africa, and more particularly its non-white inhabitants... while taking fully into consideration the background, traditions and habits of the Native inhabitants’[75]. The primary objective of the Commission was thus to identify the so-called ‘land requirements’ of the ‘groups’ as defined and racialised in the report, and delineate an appropriate area of land for each group in the light of these investigations[76].

Africans testifying to the Odendaal Commission ‘condemned the government’s failure to keep promises’, such as refusal to access natural resources in Mahango and Khaudum game parks despite promised continued access[77]. It was unknown to settler farmers in the Kaokoveld that part of the Commission’s remit was to consider establishing a ‘homeland’ here for Damara people[78].

Reardon later describes this moment in the following terms:

In 1962 the South African government, in line with its policy of creating independent black homelands, established a Commission of Enquiry into South West Africa, referred to as the Odendaal Commission after its chairman. It included among its recommendations the deproclamation of the 55,000 square kilometre Kaokoveld game conservation area except for a 32 kilometre-wide strip down the Skeleton Coast and the ceding of more than half of the Etosha Game Reserve to the proposed Kaokoland, Damara and Ovambo homelands.[79]

​​Heydinger later writes that ‘[i]n Etosha-Kaokoveld, Odendaal sought to sever a previously unified landscape, historically shared by semi-nomadic pastoralists and wildlife’[80]. There had also, however, been dramatic previous administrative reorganisations of pastoralist-hunter-harvesting peoples in the north-west. These were effected, for example, through Ordinance 18 of 1958 that stretched Game Reserve no. 2 across the west from the Hoanib to the Ugab rivers, as well as through previous evictions relating to a repositioning of the Police Zone boundary to permit expansion of the north-west commercial settler farming area, and iterative and incomplete attempts to clear the area beyond the Police Zone as a livestock-free zone[81]. There are reportedly 3,000 elephant in Kaokoveld in this year[82].

Re-issue of ‘Notes on the Kaokoveld (South West Africa and its People)’ by N.J. Warmelo, Government Ethnologist for the Dept. of Bantu Administration, Pretoria.

On 10 May, a United Nations Special Committee for South West Africa mission to the country holds a meeting ‘with Headmen and residents of Sessfontein Native Reserve’ in which the loss of land and grazing due to European farming after the 1955 expansion of the Police Zone was high on the agenda of residents’ concerns. The report from this meeting states:

[a]t this Native Reserve, the Chairman and Vice-Chairman met Mr. Simon Hawahab, Headman of the Topnaar Nama residents, who numbered only 36 to 4O persons, Mr Elias Amgab, Headman of the Damaras, about 20O to 30O of whom lived in the Reserve, and Herero Headman Urimunge Kasaona … By the end of the meeting some one hundred or more residents of the Reserve had gathered. Their common complaints related to the encroachment of Europeans on their grazing lands, their freedom of movement, and the low wages paid by European employers, [plus inadequate schooling in the Reserve].

   They stated that the people of Sessfontein used to be able to graze their livestock south of the Hoanib River. However, European farmers had taken the land all the way to the boundary of the Hoanib river, and were occupying most or the grazing veld which had been formerly used by the people of Sessfontein. Moreover, the farmers did not want the people of Sessfontein to travel through the land now occupied by the Europeans. As a result, to reach the nearest store, at Kamanjab, the people of Sessfontein had to travel over a new road a distance of 135 miles, whereas the road they had been in the habit of using, and which they had themselves built during the period of German administration, was only some 60 miles long. Furthermore on the short route they could obtain water; on the longer one they could not. They therefore wanted the Europeans to move further away so that the residents of Sessfontein could regain their grazing lands and they wanted again to be allowed to use the short route to Kamanjab. They also wanted to be provided with tractors and plows in order to be better able to plant and grow their seeds.

   When these complaints were brought to the attention of the Chief Native Commissioner, he observed that the net and longer route had to be used owing to cattle disease control measures and that in any case, the old rold was in poor [14] condition. He stated that the complaints would, however, be investigated. Subsequently, the complaints were also brought to the attention of the Deputy Minister for South West African Affairs, who stated that there were no European fams in the area, which was outside the Police Zone, but who acknowledged that Europeans might nevertheless be allowed to use that land for the purpose of grazing their cattle.[83] [tbc]

The Secretary for SWA points out that ‘no game had yet been identified as a carrier of the disease [foot and mouth] and that large numbers of kudu had been decimated by drought, more so than any organised extermination campaign could have accomplished’, in response to concerns regarding possibility of game being foot-and-mouth carriers[84]. De la Bat estimates 100,000 large herbivores in Etosha[85]. 

Cymot and Striped Giraffe Shelters in southern Erongo Mountains are excavated during the course a South West African Scientific Society expedition[86].

This year sees a peak of 16 in the concentration of ‘Bushmen guards’ in Kavango [see 1947][87]. 

The border of the police zone was not moved further north, all suggestions in this direction were blocked by the Administration with the argument that one would need to wait for the recommendations of the Odendaal Commission.[88]


Etosha’s numbers of large herbivores begin falling[89].


The administration creates a fully-fledged branch emerging out of the SWA Parks Board, called the Department of Nature Conservation [?Division Nature Conservation and Tourism?]:

[t]he aim was to develop the Department, so that it included parks, fresh water fisheries, public resorts, the conservation of flora, game reserves and regional services. The number of visitors to the Etosha Game Park increased from 10729 in 1961 50 121145 in 1962, to 23478 in 1963 and to 32537 in 1964.[90]

The Game Preservation Section is upgraded to the Division Nature Conservation and Tourism under the directorship of Mr B.J.G. de la Bat[91] who moves from Okaukuejo to Windhoek as the first Director of the Division and a full-fledged nature conservation research institution (at Okaukeujo?, see 1965) is established[92].

In this year reportedly ‘a mysterious consortium from Pretoria start[s] to buy up farms near Welwitschia [Khorixas]’ … ‘offering prices according to farm size and improvements’ of around R3-4/ha, and late in this year rumours begin ‘to circulate that the South West Africa Administration intended to buy all the farms in the Kaokoveld in order to create a homeland for the Damara people’
[93]. The Odendaal Commission report is presented to the Administration in December and all the farms ‘in what was then known as the Kaokoveld were included into the area that was to be renamed Damaraland[94]. Many farmers did not want to sell and the farmers’ unions (boereverengigings) tried to protest[95].

OvaHerero associated with Headman Kephas Muzuma appear to have been moving livestock across the unclear ‘Kaokoveld’ / Etosha boundary, Muzuma stating in this year to the administration that:

[o]ur income derives only from livestock. But if we take our animals across the cordon they will be shot. It is dry. What do we do now? We are hungry

and our animals are dying.[96]

The Odendaal Commission’s recommendations are submitted to Verwoerd in June. ‘unambiguously plac[ing] apartheid policies at the centre of governing Namibia’[97]. At the time of the Odendaal Commission the existing Native Reserves and communal areas were as shown on the map below [?**this map seems to depart from the area designated as Game Reserve no. 2 in Ordinance 18 of 1958]:

Existing ‘Native Reserves’ and communal areas (lined) in 1963: scan from Odendaal Report 1964, Figure 9. 

A leopard is seen at Twyfelfontein / |Ui-ǁaes[98].

The Namib Desert Research Station with links to the Transvaal Museum is established at Gobabeb on the !Khuiseb[99] and The !Khuiseb floodwaters reach the ocean[100].


West Caprivi is declared a ‘Nature Park’, despite recommendations from the Odendaal Commission, ‘a key apartheid land planning body’ that it should be ‘converted into a “homeland” for Bushmen’[101].

1962/3-early 1970s

In these years following establishment of the Division of Nature Conservation and Tourism, and despite rising land prices due to the purchase of farmland following the Odendaal Commission resulting in “a large number of farmers looking for other farms to settle”, 10 “nature conservation areas” were proclaimed at a rate of almost one a year, the aim being to represent all major habitats in the territory.[102] 


In 1962, the South African Government appointed the Commission of Inquiry into South West African Affairs, commonly known as the Odendaal Commission. The task of the Commission was to elaborate further the territorial Apartheid in Namibia. The report (Report of the Commission of Inquiry into South West African Affairs, 1962-1963) was released in 1964, and proposed to reduce the number of existing “native reserves”, whilst increasing their overall size. ​​The report of the Odendaal Commission of Inquiry into SWA Affairs (the ‘Odendaal Report’), recommends the creation of ‘homelands’ in which distinctive and endangered cultures could be preserved and nurtured[103]: its ‘considered conviction’ is that

the continued existence of a home area for each individual group would be in the best interests of the various population groups, and that, .. these homelands should exist as such and become increasingly independent[104].

The resulting recommendations involved the creation of 11 black authorities responsible for the administration of ethnically defined Bantustans, such that these were conceived of as separate ‘states’ with their own legislative councils[105]. In this way, land distribution was rationalised along racial lines, ensuring that every black person was registered as an inhabitant of a specific tribal area thus favouring the movement of cheap black labour out of the homelands, while retaining those not required in the white economy[106]. 

The new “homelands” were to be administered by separate authorities, but one central Administration was to be responsible for the affairs of Whites and Coloureds. The report also recommended that South Africa should continue to administer the territory as mandate, maintaining the full legislative and executive power over the territory. As a result of the Commission’s proposals, 426 freehold farms, which were considered to be unsuitable for commercial farming, were bought by the Government and incorporated into the new homelands of Namaland and Damaraland.[107] 

The total area set aside for black Namibians increased from 22 million hectares to about 32.7 million hectares, large tracts of this additional land were either semi-arid or unsuitable for farming due to a lack of water.[108] Sullivan writes that,

[w]ithin the Police Zone, the Odendaal plan to create communal farming areas along ethnic lines essentially involved the expansion of the existing Native Reserves of Damara, Nama and Herero people into the marginal western, southern and eastern parts of the country respectively (Odendaal Report, 1964: 79; Adams and Devitt, 1992: 7). Damaraland was thus created around the Fransfontein, Okombahe and Otjohorongo Reserves, together with Sesfontein to the north of the Red Line, and with the addition of over 4 million hectares of surveyed and fenced commercial farms, unsurveyed State land and game reserves (Odendaal Report, 1964: 109-111). While the Odendaal Commission maintained that this would provide ‘great opportunities for increasing livestock populations’ and thus make an ‘important contribution to the economy of Damaraland’, it also states that constraints on crop production mean that 'Damaraland will always be dependent on supplies of imported staple food' (Odendaal Report, 1964: 295, 297).

   The Odendaal Report estimated the Damara population throughout southern Namibia to total some 44,000 in the early 1960s. Given that much of the Damaraland homeland consisted of marginal desert areas which could not be utilized on a continuous basis, this amounted to some 250has per 'family' (although it is unclear how 'family' was defined), compared with an average of 8,500has for each white settler previously farming in this area (Odendaal Report, 1964: 31, 89-93).[109]

The Odendaal Report includes ‘recommendations for the partition of the Kaokoveld/Etosha Game Reserve complex’ [31] in which the Kaokoveld game conservation area would be deproclaimed with approx. 6 000 square miles of the Etosha Game reserve ceded to the Kaokoland, Damaraland and Owamboland ‘homelands’, with a ‘twenty mile strip of Namib desert along the coast’ remaining as a game reserve[110]. The ‘entire western section of Etosha was excised and added to the Kaokoveld African Reserve’[111] and Game Reserve No. 2 was effectively reduced to two separate reserves – Etosha Game Park and the Skeleton Coast, a combined area of approx. 14 000 square miles ‘of which more than half is either barren desert of salt pan’[112]. Thus, the size of the Etosha National Park was reduced significantly as a response to the recommendations made by the Odendaal Commission. This resulted in 17,972 km² being cut off and added to the “homelands” of Ovamboland, Kaokoveld and Damaraland.[113] 

The Odendaal Report defines Kaokoland’s eastern boundary as:

the line of longitude [on the Namibia-Angola border] 14° E; thence south-eastwards and westwards along the eastern and southern boundaries, respectively, of the magis­terial district of Kaokoveld to the northernmost corner beacon of the farm Westend No. 642, district of Outjo - (the water-hole Onaiso must be situated within the Kao­koveld Homeland)...[114]

Heydinger writes that the final boundaries aimed to prohibit mobility between ‘Ovamboland’ and ‘Kaokoland’, the boundary signalled by an all-weather road from Kamanjab to the Ruacana on the Kunene[115] – but the Odendaal maps [below] do not signal that the ‘Homeland’ boundary follows this road, although Onaiso is positioned within the present ENP boundary[116]. He has published a map of the shifting boundaries associated with the Odendaal Commission which is rather different to the map published by Miescher [see 1958]. For example: the 1958 Etosha Game Park boundary bears little relation to either the boundary of Etosha Game Park or the extended boundary of Game Reserve no. 2 as delineated by Ordinance 18 of 1958 which left a large area of Native Reserve land around Sesfontein – which has been completely omitted from this map. The omission of the municipality of Sesfontein from Heydinger’s  map is also an unfortunate echo of Tinley’s 1971 recommendations for the population of Sesfontein to be removed to Fransfontein so as to clear this western area for conservation and tourism only[117]. The positioning of the vet fence also does not appear to be quite correct if it is intended to indicate the present position of the fence (e.g. for comparison, see 2016 map below).

The Commission is followed by a ‘committee appointed by the South West Administration’ which ‘valued the farms and made official offers, which farmers were compelled to accept’ – land prices soar as farmers take out options on land elsewhere in the country[118]. For example, the farm Palmwag:

was purchased [by Carstens, who made use of the Administration’s buying option] in January 1964 for £1506[-8-10] and in the same year was tendered for sale to the Administration when it was valued at R44,946. It was eventually purchased by the Government for R56,000, after which the occupier remained on the farm for several months as a lessee for R83/month … Similarly, archival records indicate that the farms Rietkuil and Driekrone [in the Aba-Huab River area] were both purchased by the government for greatly more than their original value, enabling at least one of the owners, a Mr JWA Steenkamp from Rietkuil, to purchase a farm elsewhere, in this case Sommerau in the Gibeon District for R52,855.73 bought in 1964.[119]


Again, regarding Palmwag:

-        Carstens stayed on as a lessee for R83/mth from 1st October 1964;

-        on 1st January 1965 the lease was awarded to a R.V. Madsen from Gobabis district, but cancelled on 1st April 1965 because he was not considered to be a bona fide farmer;

-        D.J. Jacobs was awarded the lease, but Madsen seems to have negotiated that he could stay on instead;

-        Madsen vacated farm in April 1966. It remained unoccupied until advertised in June 1967;

-        remained tenantless until February 1969 when leased to H. Steenkamp;

-        A F. Jooste was also awarded a lease contract but left due to poor grazing and a Mr P. de Wet applied to lease in 1971 but this was not granted due to poor pastures;

-        on 27th January 1972 ‘the Chief Bantu Commissioner informed the Secretary for Bantu Administration that Palmwag, as one of the vacated white farms, was ready for use by the latter department’.[120]


Settler farmers are documented as required to leave farms that became acquired as part of ‘Damaraland’, such as the Levin family at Twyfelfontein / |Ui-ǁaes[121]. David Levin of |Ui-ǁaes / Twyfelfontein took an option on a sheep farm south of Rehoboth, ‘but when his application reached the Land Bank they informed him that the piece of land had already been earmarked for the expansion of the Baster area’[122]. There was also uncertainty in knowing when the committee would arrive, and accusations of corruption[123]. Levin receives an offer of R48k but since >R60k is offered to a neighbour with a smaller land area he complains, but still did not receive what he considers the full value of the farm[124]. At the end of the year Levin sells his animals to Toy Maritz of the Rokey’s farm (?) and Maritz in fact keeps the animals at Twyfelfontein until 1967[125].


Land was also scheduled for the Ju|’hoansi in the Eastern part of Namibia, the so-called “Bushmanland”, but no area was provided for the Haiǁom (see below for the reasons and circumstances). ‘Homelands’ recommended in the report include ‘Kaokoland’ for Himba in the north-west, ‘Damaraland’ for Damara / ǂNūkhoen in west Namibia, and a ‘homeland’ for Khwe in Caprivi (which in 1968 instead becomes West Caprivi Game Park[126]).

Proposed Homelands:

‘Proposed Homelands’. Source: scan from Odendaal Report, Figure 27.



The report remarks that ‘practically all the home areas still have fairly large numbers of various species of game’[127].

 In September Dr R.C. Bigalke reports in African Wild Life (‘The Magazine of the Wild Life Protection and Conservation Society of South Africa’) ‘the dangers to wild life entailed in the implementation of the Odendaal Commission’s recommendations’, amidst concerns that ‘realistic proposals based on scientific information’ will be ‘brushed aside as irrelevant’[128].


Additional recommendations include moving the ǂAonin from their traditional lands along the !Khuiseb and !nara fields to the proposed Namaland (Gibeon) or Damaraland communal areas, which is resisted on the following grounds: the ǂAonin have been present in the vicinity of the !Kuiseb for at least several centuries; their culture and livelihoods are intimately linked with the !nara and marine resources of the coast; and legal treaties entitling the ǂAonin to the continued use of the resources exist dating to annexation by the British in 1884.[129]

The Wilderness Preservation Act is passed by American Congress, protecting >9 million acres of ‘wild land from any development, … preserved in its natural state for future generations[130].

Source: Van der Merwe 1983: **. 


Following the Odendaal Commission, a total of 223 previously white-owned farms, covering an area of 1,872,794has, are included within Damaraland, each farm varying from 4,000 to 25,000has in size, with an average of approximately 8,500has[131]. By the mid-1960s, many of the white settler farmers had already vacated these farms[132], partly due to the declining viability of commercial farming in a situation so dependent on the fluctuations of the South African economy[133]. Farms are valued for the Odendaal Plan by an Evaluation Committee established on 17 August and purchased, the price minus monies owed in advances and loans etc., with a total of 70 cases considered, and an aggregate of 698,908ha. (60 farms) accepted, with 10 referred to Administrator[134]. In 1964 and 1965, for example, a total of 70 farms, comprising some 698,908has, were valued in Damaraland from which 60 offers were accepted by the farmers, the Administrator being called to interject and negotiate in instances where offers were not ассеpted[135]:

[f]ollowing the purchase of these farms, and prior to their incorporation within the Damaraland 'homeland', they were leased out by the government body known as State Settlement and Farmers Assistance, as emergency grazing to white farmers from other regions (Kambatuku, forthcoming: 3). Both Rietkuil and Driekrone [in the Aba-Huab area] were leased in this manner as emergency grazing to farmers from elsewhere. The turnover of these farmers appears to have been very high, with farms often leased to a different farmer every month.[136]

Extensive government negotiations take place ‘concerning the location of the new Etosha-Kaokoveld boundary’[137].

In these years the young Justus ||Garoeb seeks out reigning Gaob Dawid Goreseb in Okombahe requesting clarification on whether or not Gaob Goreseb had sold ancient land of the Damara people in Arandis and Rossing mining areas, allowed people to be shot in the Old Location Uprising during the forceful relocations to Katutura [1959], and failed to voice the people’s pleas to the UN when representatives were in the country in early 1960s? – all allegations denied by Gaob Dawid Goreseb[138].


Purchased farms are leased again for emergency grazing to ‘drought stricken white farmers from all over the country’ with one farm often be leased to a different farmer every month, although none of these farmers had actually sold any of their stock during the previous season, demonstrating their intent to accumulate livestock[139].


Around this time the Land Board is taken over by a new body, State Settlement and Farmers Assistance, with farms falling under the Min. of Agriculture.


Kai Gaob Justus ǁGaroëb is a member of the South African Parliament[140].


Kaokoveld Commissioner Ben van Zyl reportedly found it “impossible to indicate the [Kaokoveld] Reserve’s precise size”, estimating it at anywhere between 4,277,519 and 5,881588 has, indicating that the eastern boundary remained imprecisely known[141]. Heydinger writes for around this time that

BAD staff chided, but did not evict, Muzuma’s followers from rangelands near the Kho­warib Schlucht, which BAD considered part of Etosha but remained part of Kao­koveld when the boundaries were finalised.[142] [??but the Khowarib Schlucht was in fact included in Damaraland, not Kaokoland by the Odendaal Commission?, as also indicated in Heydinger’s map (Figure 1, p. 74)].    



Boundaries in 1965, showing the extent of Game Reserve no. 2 (as per Ordinance 18, 1958), the Police Zone boundary, and existing and projected game and livestock fences. Source: scan from Miescher 2012: 170, colour version received from the author and included with permission.

A Report of the Commission of Investigation into Nature Conservation Affairs in SWA asserts that the stricter application of game laws since 1951 ‘effectively ended the use of game as a food source’, leading in this year to urgent appeals ‘from people in Owambo, Kavango, Bushmenland, Kaokoland, Sesfontein, and Eastern and Western Caprivi to have the game ordinance rescinded in their reserves’[143]. Complaints focus mainly on ‘the damage caused by wildlife’[144].

Permanent Research Section under the Director of Nature Conservation and Tourism is established in Etosha and Hym Ebedes becomes the first wildlife veterinarian, Ken Tinley and Eugene Joubert are appointed as ecologists.[145]

Amy Schoeman wrote about the period to follow:

All conservation policies, legislation and management planning were based on research. Initially the emphasis was on applied research, and research projects tended to be problem-oriented. The appointment of Dr Rudi Bigalke heralded the extensive research programme in the fields of game diseases, development of game-capture techniques, ecological surveys, grazing problem animals and many others. Dr. Hym Ebedes, the first state veterinarian in Etosha, spent ten years researching anthrax and became an expert on the disease. Other early researchers who worked in Etosha and left their mark were Ken Tinley and Jack van der Spuy.[146]

Efforts are made to encourage destocking of the eastern Kaokoveld (the border area with Etosha Game Park), as reported by Heydinger drawing on an administration text from 1965:

[u]nable to make use of historic rangelands, [ovaHerero Headman] Muzuma and Tjijahura were amenable to a government-sponsored livestock marketing programme, whereby stock would be inspected by states vets and exported south of the Red Line…Muzuma and Tji­jahura’s participation in the marketing programme brought them into conflict with rival pastoralists further north, who were more antagonistic towards gov­ernment efforts for destocking Kaokoveld. BAD officials felt that securing a foot­hold for livestock marketing with Muzuma and Tjijahura could open the way to negotiations further north, possibly leading to … greater cooperation between government and pastoralists in Kaokoveld, and widespread destocking in the homeland.[147]

Ethnographic research conveying a small population of apparently ‘stone-working Tjimba’ as relics of the past[148], reports that ‘a hunter-gatherer Tjimba man, Kaupatana, normally living in the Baynes Mountains of Kaokoland, became the client of stock owners in the valley during a period of drought: “Kaupatana had brought his family down to the Kunene on account of the extreme dearth of veldkos resulting from the latest drought. At Otjinungua, he was herding goats for one of the border guards in return for food”’ but would return to his ‘mountain way of life’ once conditions became favourable[149]. In September [of??] the Okambambi group of OvaTjimba in the Baynes Mountains are reported to collect ‘numerous varieties of edible roots such as “uintjies” … and berries’[150].

On 1st January 1965 the Palmwag farm lease was awarded to a R.V. Madsen from Gobabis district, but cancelled on 1st April 1965 because he was not considered to be a bona fide farmer; a D.J. Jacobs is awarded the lease, but Madsen seems to have negotiated that he could stay on instead[151]. David Levin leaves Twyfelfontein and settles in Outjo where he works for general merchant Piet Grove who deals mainly with farmers, eventually moving with his new wife to Piketberg where he dies in 1983[152].

Joubert writes that,

[t]owards the end of the year a researcher is commissioned to study the status of black rhino: to determine how many black rhinos still live in Suidwes, what their population composition and distribution is, their living needs with regard to food and walking area, as well as their behavior. In short, anything that could possibly help to save them from extinction. … The study makes public disturbing information. The situation with regard to rhino is much more critical than was generally expected. The distribution of the black rhino, which used to occur throughout most of Suidwes, was now limited to the northwest corner. The total population of black rhino in 1966 were ninety animals. What was also disturbing, however, was the spread of these animals. Only 17 percent were within the amended limits of the Etosha National Park as suggested by the Odendaal Commission. The other 83 percent were on private land or in communal or intended communal territories. It was clear that drastic steps were needed to ensure its survival.[153]

Johannes P. Bruwer (an ex-missionary, prominent member of the South African Bureau of Racial Affairs and head of department of Ethnology at the University of Stellenbosch, also serving on the Broederbond Committee on Bantu Affairs in the 1950s and later appointed to the Odendaal Commission) points out that a lot of Bushmen - above all the Haiǁom in Southern Ovamboland - are staying among other groups and are already difficult to distinguish from them:

[a]ansienlike getalle leef reeds so gestrengel met omringende bure dat’n eie lewensbeeld haas nie meer te onderskei is nie. Afgesien van die posisie in die suidelike sektor, is ook die noordelike Boesmans aansienlik beinvloed deur die Bantoe-omgewing. Dit geld veral die Heiǁom in die suidelike dele van Ovamboland waar veral in die Ndonga, Kwambi en Ngandjeragebiede talle reeds in die Ovambobevolking opgeneem is. Die term Ovambo-boesman dui reeds op die transisie-stadium, maar baie word nie eers meer aangedui nie.[154] 

He reports that the Haiǁom had already lost their traditional social organization: 

Die Hei//om bestaan nerens meer as ’n organiese groep nie aangesien hulle ou jagdvelde (alte Jagdgebiete) in en om die Etoshapanarea funksionele verandering ondergaan het. Die meeste bevind hulle vandag op plase  in die Otavi, Outjo en Tsumeb omgewing. Die sterk vermengde Hei//om groepe van suidelike Ovambolamd waar hulle bekend is as Ovakedi, is saamgetrek by waterpunte te Uutsathima, Okehorongo, Olupelengwa, Onamatange, Onambandja, Itapa, Ootongo en Amalika, veral in die Ngandjeragebied en is onder beheer van die Nganjerakaptein. Sortgelyke groepe kom ook voor in die Ndongagebied.[155] 

He provides figures from 1962-64 regarding the ‘Bushman’ population:[156]




























Source: Bruwer 1965, p. 57.

David Levin leaves Twyfelfontein and settles in Outjo where he works for general merchant Piet Grove who deals mainly with farmers, eventually moving with his new wife to Piketberg where he dies in 1983[157].


Ecologist Ken Tinley works for the SWA Department of Nature Conservation[158], later contributing to debate regarding the change of boundaries of Game Reserve no. 2/Etosha Game Park [see 1971 here].


The UN International Court of Justice rejects a Namibian petition challenging South African presence in the country leading SWAPO to resort to armed resistance[159]. On 26 August the South African Police attack the base of SWAPO’s military wing PLAN (the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia) and ‘South Africa rejects the International Court of Justice’s decision to end its mandate over South-West Africa with the argument that the League of Nations terminated with WWII and that the United Nations was a new and different body that did not carry the legacy of the League’[160].

A ‘game capture unit’ is established in SWA[161]. A direct census to determine the distribution of the black rhinoceros is carried out by Eugene Joubert, ‘Nature Conservation and Tourism Branch, South West Africa Administration’, in Oct-Dec of this year, i.e. ‘the driest and hottest time of the year’ when ‘the rhino tend to drink every night’: [e]very known waterhole in the Kaokoveld and western Etosha National Park was visited in turn’, drawing on ‘ very good military map, showing all the waterholes’[162].

Source: scan from Joubert 1971, p. 39.

Madsen vacates Palmwag farm in April 1966, and it remains unoccupied until advertised in June 1967[163].


In Etosha anthrax, endemic to the park area, is known to have killed ‘at least 1635 animals, 89 per cent of which were plains zebra and wildebeest’, its increased incidence linked to ‘road-building projects and artificial waterholes’[164].

Ebedes, the first wildlife veterinarian in Etosha [see 1965] writes in retrospect:

I was not the first vet to diagnose anthrax in Etosha, but because I found so many cases, sometimes up to eight per day, the rangers suggested that I had introduced the disease into etosha. What could I do? I suspected an infectious disease because there were so many carcasses lying around in the veld. These animals had clearly not been killed by predators.. Anthrax was a Notifiable Disease and all deaths had to be reported to the State Veterinarian in Outjo. All the game rangers were equipped with microscopes and slides with which they could diagnose anthrax in the veld. According to the law, all positive or suspect carcasses had to be burnt or buried. I was not happy about this because it wook a great deal of time to collect dry wood and supervise the cremation.

But burial was impossible. The many unnatural gravel pits used for gravelling the main roads and the small natural pans were suspected of being important sources of the infection because they filled with rainwater and attracted many animals during the rainy season. Water and mud collected from gravel pits and pans in the enzootic anthrax areas were tested at the Veterinary Laboratory in Windhoek and many were found to be infected with anthrax spores. Animals drinking these contaminated waters could become infected and die of the disease.

Most of the gravel pits or  ‘mini dams’ were disinfected and closed in 1972 and 1973. Some of the windmills west of Etosha were also made inoperable. These measures seemed to decrease the incidence of the disease for a few years.[165] 


From 1966 to 1990 new parks were proclaimed: ‘Gross Barmen Hot Springs, Capri vi Game Park, Hardap, Daan Viljoen, Cape Cross Seal Reserve, Ais-Ais, the South West Nature Park, Skeleton Coast Park, Waterberg Plateau Park, Von Bach Resort, National West Coast Recreational Area, Huns Mountains, Naute Recreation Resort, Popa Game Park, Mahango Game Reserve, Khaudum Game Park, Mudumu and Mamili National Parks’[166].

Late 1960s

The Kaokoveld’s Council of Headmen consisted of 25 Herero and Himba traditional leaders, the Topnaar Nama chief from Sesfontein and advisers[167].


The Nature Conservation Ordinance (Ord. 31 of 1967) is proclaimed, defining the powers and duties of the Nature Conservation and Tourism Branch (NCTB)[168], containing ‘chapters on wild animals, game parks, indigenous plants, inland fisheries, protected and specially protected game, game birds and several other important subjects’[169]. With the exception of certain species, the Ordinance:

give[s] the owner or occupier of a farm full ownership of all game, other than specially pro­tected and protected game, while such game is lawfully upon such farm and while such farm is enclosed with a sufficient fence.[170] 

Joubert writes that the Ordinance also,

made provision for the farmer to lease his hunting rights to any competent person. This, as well as the right for a visitor from overseas to hunt for trophies throughout the year, was a major concession to the trophy trade in SWA.[171]

By changing the prior situation whereby ‘all game had belonged to the State’, Ordinance 31 creates a context for game to have a monetary value and farmers ‘a financial incentive to protect animals on their property’, causing many to start restocking their farms’ such that ‘game numbers on commercial farms increased dramatically’[172]. [?presumably it is this Ordinance that is linked with this year’s northwards boundary shift of the west part of Etosha Game Reserve, from its position along the Ugab in 1958, to between the Koigab and !Uniab].

The Ordinance also,

changed the name of the Parks Board to the Nature Conservation Board, and the Etosha Game Park to the Etosha National Park.[173]


[t]he term game conservation was replaced with nature conservation, promoting the concept that nature in its entirety should be conserved, and the idea that the word conservation embraced the concept of judicial utilisation became generally accepted’[174]

Ken Tinley [see 1971] counts,

a gathering of more than 1 000 mountain zebra and 2 000 springbok over a distance of 15 miles where an isolated thunderstorm rain in the Unjab River basin had made the desert bloom [and] [o]n either side of this site the desert was bare of plants and ungulates.[175]

Etosha Game Reserve receives the status of a national park and is henceforce named Etosha National Park[176] [?Game Reserve no. 2 had been Etosha Game Reserve since ** and is renamed Etosha National Park in 1967[177]]. The Halali restcamp is opened.[178] It is reported for this year that the conservation administration dedicated "more than 90 per cent of its total national budget, staff (110) and activities" to Etosha, and that "only Etosha justifies a reference on the United Nations National Parks List”[179].

Joubert [see 1966] continues his survey of black rhino through visiting freehold farms where rhino are known to occur, as reported by police stations at Kamanjab, Outjo, Otjiwarongo and Welwitchia (Khorixas)
[180]. The first black rhino in ‘Damaraland’s’ pro-Namib area is caught and transferred by truck (after much effort) to a holding boma at Ombika near Okaukuejo: but bursts through the game-proof border fence of Etosha and becomes injured, having to be darted again (this time from the air by Nature Consevation Director de la Bat) and restored to the boma, unfortunately dying several days later of bleeding on the brain[181].


Due to difficulties in estimating accurate doses of anaesthetic and antidote, in attempting to transfer five rhinos to Etosha National Park (presumably from the west), three animals die in the process[182].


The ENP boundary extends west to the coast and south to between the !Uniab and Koigab Rivers[183].


From 1968, implementation of Odendaal Commission’s recommendations is enacted as the ‘Development of Self Government for Native Nations in South West Africa Act 1968’, by which time many pre-Odendaal settler farmers in the north-west had already vacated their farms, ‘partly due to their failure to make a decent living on the land’ [even with all the government support etc.][184]. ​​Justus ǁGaroeb (who later becomes paramount leader of the ǂNūkhoe ǁAes (Damara nation) moves to the Damaraland Communal Land Area in this year to take up a position as Clerk of the Magistrate’s Office in Khorixas (then Welwitschia, although on early German colonial administration maps also called Khorixas**)[185].

The Kaokoveld Native Reserve in this year is approx. 22 000 square miles and stretched in the east to the Etosha Game Reserve[186]. It is estimated ‘that 15,000 plains zebra and 5000 wildebeest remained in the park[187]. The Dept. for Bantu Administration initiates a livestock-marketing programme to reduce livestock, deemed to be overgrazing, in Kaokoveld, leading to the establishment of quarantine camps to facilitate sale south of Red Line, e.g. at Omatambo Maue and Otjitjekua, at eastern boundary of Kaokoveld with Etosha[188].

Proclamation 19 of 1968, by then Administrator of SWA, WC du Plessis, permits boundary changes of existing areas and proclamation of new protected areas: Daan Viljoen Game Park, West Caprivi Game Reserve (now Bwabwata), Hardap Recreational Resort, Gross Barmen Hot Springs, Namib Desert Park and Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park[189]. West Caprivi (today Bwabwata National Park) is declared a Game Park[190], later becoming a military zone for SADF[191] in the context of an escalating independence movement against SA administration which cause Khwe in Caprivi to become dependent on the SADF through employment as trackers, a military school for children and domestic work[192].

Promulgation ‘of the Ordinance on Accommodation Establishments and Tourism created the machinery for the establishment of a Tourism Board and the introduction of quality control for all accommodation establishments, guest farms and caravan parks’.[193] 

The number of researchers employed in Etosha by the SWA Department of Conservation and Tourism grew from three to twelve.[194]

By the end of this year about 178 PLAN members had been killed or captured[195]. The United Nations accepts the name Namibia for the country[196].


The Old Location in Windhoek officially ceases to exist[197].


The late Garth Owen-Smith is agricultural officer for Kaokoveld[198]. Recalling his impressions in these years he writes,

‘The Ganumub River’ Jod said, passing me a 1:250 000 topographic map that he kept on the dashboard. In bold type across the area were the words KAOKOVELD RESERVE, as well as GAME RESERVE NO 2. To the south of the Hoanib River the area was designated ETOSHA GAME PARK. … the Kaokoveld was both a native reserve and a game reserve. In 1907, the German government had proclaimed most of their colony's north-west as Game Reserve No 2. It included what later, under the South African administration, became the Etosha Game Park, which extended for another 250 km south of the Hoanib to the Uchab River. Combined, Etosha and the Kaokoveld then formed the largest conservation area in the world.

'How is poaching controlled in such a large area?' I asked.

'The Bantu Affairs Commissioner is in charge of everything that happens in the Kaokoveld,' Jod replied. 'He decides what can be hunted. We resident officials take out a monthly pot licence that allows us to shoot one kudu or two springbok. The local people are also allowed to hunt for meat as well as protect their livestock from predators.’
Amazed by the fact that people, their livestock and big game were sharing the same drinking place, I hurried back to tell Jod, but he was unimpressed. Most of the springs in the Kaokoveld had plenty of game around them, including elephant, he told me. Didn't the people hunt, I asked, but Jod just said that the Himba had more than enough livestock, so they did not need to eat wild animals.        … I contemplated what he had just told me. It was certainly very different to the situation in South Africa, where the wildlife had long since been exterminated in areas of human habitation. On our forestry estates we overseers had spent a great deal of time protecting the few bushbuck, reedbuck and duiker on them from our Zulu labourers, who were inveterate hunters and snarers. …[199]

Mitch Reardon later writes,

As a young man Garth had trained as a forester in Natal and in 1968 he was appointed to the Kaokoveld as an Agricultural Officer attached to the Department of Bantu Administration. He had been based in the administrative centre of Ohopoho, a Herero word meaning ‘the end’, implying that this piece of land, and no more, would be given to the whites. At that time the Kaokoveld was the least accessible and the least known region in Africa south of Zaire, a situation that remains true to this day. Big game was still plentiful then, within the limits imposed by the arid environment. In his survey Garth estimated between 700 and 800 elephant; rhino occurred throughout the central and western districts with a total population of up to 150; 2500 Hartmann’s mountain zebra concentrated in the escarpment and semi-desert zones while perhaps as many as 4000 plains zebra roamed the interior plateau. Kudu, gemsbok, springbok, and blackfaced impala numbered in the thousands, in turn supporting the many lions, leopards, cheetah, hyena and jackals that preyed on them.

   Yet all was not well in paradise. In spite of having ‘game reserve’ status the area was used by visiting top government officials as a private hunting reserve. Their example was followed by the local officials, who, though legally entitled to a limited ‘pot’ licence, routinely exceeded it. The territory’s senior resident administrator was the Bantu Affairs Commissioner, a feudal power in the land, under whose authority Garth fell. When, in his capacity as Agricultural Officer responsible for nature conservation, Garth had on three occasions followed up cases of excessive hunting, one involving a South African Cabinet Minister, he had been warned not to pursue the matter. ‘If you go ahead with this,’ the local chief of police had advised him, ‘you'll be out of the Kaokoveld tomorrow.’ But Garth refused to back away and shortly afterwards, in November 1970, the police chief’s prediction was borne out – without any reason being given, Garth found himself transferred to a sawmill in Zululand, as far from the Kaokoveld as it was within the department’s power to move him. There was no appeal and, realising he was beating his head against a wall, he resigned his post.

   No charge was ever laid in these cases, but a few months later the son of the Commissioner was charged and convicted with illegally transporting a large number of springbok carcasses across the foot-and-mouth veterinary control line into Ovamboland – although he was not prosecuted for the actual killing, that crime being too commonplace to justify mention. The mentality of the time encouraged the killing of game as a natural bounty and a heedless free-for-all rapidly ensued. Let loose in a wildlife treasure house the majority of men appointed to safeguard the Kaokoveld embarked on a hunting frenzy, the profligacy of which astonished the resident tribes who bore witness to it.[200]


Between 1968 and 1970 Garth Owen-Smith carried out pioneering work on the numbers and distribution of Kaokoland's larger wild mammals. He estimated a total of between 700 and 800 elephants, with 200 to 300 occurring in the western desert regions. He estimated there to be about 150 rhinos, of which approximately half were to be found in the west. Regrettably no reliable survey was done south of the Hoanib River, but at the time northern Damaraland was still part of the greater Etosha Game Park and the area would have protected at least equal densities of big game.[201]


Justus ǁGaroeb studies a LLB Degree with the University of South Africa (UNISA) completing his articles to become a Magistrate under the Head of Native Affairs Commissioner Mr. Jan Piek in these years[202].


The late Mike Hearn writes that,

[a]ctive conservation of the black rhinoceros started in the mid-1960s, with the initiation of a project to translocate all splinter groups into Etosha National Park. Most of these were from freehold [the farms that were to be re-allocated to the new ‘Damaraland’ homeland?] and communal farming areas bordering the northern, southern and eastern limits of the range area seen today ... The project was highly successful and between 1968 and 1973 56 rhino were moved into Etosha.[203]


Justus ǁGaroeb is elected as the representative for the people of the Khorixas location, working with Chief THF !Gaeb, Chief Petrus !Ganeb, Chief Abraham Gariseb and Edward Otto ǁGaroeb (all of whom have schools named after them)[204].

The Department of Nature Conservation is divided into five sections, namely tourism, nature conservation, research, an inspectorate for accommodation establishments and an administrative section.[205] As Joubert writes,

[t]he Division diversified to a considerable extent in 1969. It was divided into five sections, each with an officer in control. This meant that the Director could dele­gate much of his responsibilities leaving him free for more immediate and important matters. The five sec­tions which now formed the Division were Tourism, with a control tourist officer and two chief tourist offi­cers, one in charge of rest camps to the north of Windhoek and the other of those to the south: Nature Conservation, with a control nature conservator and a chief nature conservator for game reserves to the north one for game reserves to the south (regional nature conservators were stationed in Windhoek, Otjiwarongo Keetmanshoop, their main function being law en­forcement); Research, with a chief professional officer in charge; an inspectorate for accommodation establishments and finally an Administrative Section. This latter section is also in charge of the subsections Road and Maintenance.[206] 

The Wild Life Society of South Africa commissions ecologist Ken Tinley ‘to write an alternate plan for dividing Etosha-Kaokoveld’ submitted in this year[207] and published in 1971 [see details here], based on ‘intrinsic ecological potential of capabilities of different land types’[208].

OvaHerero Headman Kephas Muzuma [see 1910, 1929, 1940s] and ‘many other Hereros’ move to a reallocated Odendaal farm renamed Otjikaware (along Etosha boundary), although ‘their livestock stayed further west’[209]. In May, restrictions on grazing in west Etosha Game Park exasperate Headman Kephas Muzuma, his foreman ‘in charge of the herds’ – Joshua Kangombe – launching into a ‘tirade’ to BAD official Garth Owen-Smith at Warmquelle

about government regulations preventing them from entering the park. The areas that they came from had received no rain this season, they claimed, and if they remained there all their cattle would die of starvation.[210]

To support destocking the government offers to purchase animals herded in eastern Kaokoveld but offers prices too low, leaving the quarantine camp at Omutambo Mauwe unused, ‘and overgrazing of rangelands west of the Etosha boundary continued’[211].  

Palmwag Farm remains tenantless until February 1969 when it is leased to H. Steenkamp; an A F. Jooste was also awarded a lease contract but left due to poor grazing[212].

The SWA Division of Nature Conservation and Tourism proclaims the area around the seal colony at Cape Cross the Cape Cross Seal Reserve (Proclamation 37 of 1969), covering 60km2 and intended to protect the seals especially during breeding season[213].


The ‘Topnaar Voorman Jacobus Stevenson (“Argyll”)’ reports on the death of two “Hendrik brothers” at ǂArexa!nanis (presumably ǁKharabes) [see 1884][214].


Physical anthropologist Knussman ‘finds it virtually impossible … to establish “true” Damaras … and calls Namibia the “most intensive melting pot of different peoples and races”[215].


The Odendaal Commission recommendations come into effect, enacted by South Africa’s Dept. for Bantu Affairs, and placing the Bantu Affairs Commissioner = in charge of all that happens in Kaokoveld. A series of new and expanded ‘homelands’ was thereby created [see maps, 1964].


- Game Reserve No. 2 is deproclaimed such that ‘it now had no specific legal protection and the Directorate of Nature Conservation in Windhoek no longer had any jurisdiction over the area’[216], leaving Etosha National Park with its current boundaries protected as a conservation area[217] [?Game Reserve no. 2 had been Etosha Game Reserve since ** and is renamed Etosha National Park in 1967[218]]

- Game Reserve No. 2 land in Kaoko becomes the ‘Kaokoland’ ‘homeland’ for around 13,000 cattle-rich Himba and Herero people[219] as well as Tjimba-Herero (all being ‘of the same stock, and speak the same language’[220])[221], but also becomes used as a de facto vast hunting ground including for high-ranking government officials[222]. Thus, ‘[t]he Etosha Game Reserve, which since 1957 had encompassed 2564 square kilometres of Kaokoveld [is this a reference to the western area between the Hoanib and Ugab rivers? – since this author has claimed that the north-west Kaokoveld part of Game Reserve no. 2 was deproclaimed in 1958, see above], was to be greatly reduced’[223].

- The 1958 [in fact the 1967] western extension [i.e. the boundary between the Koigab and !Uniab] of Etosha Game Reserve is deproclaimed and allocated as part of the ‘Damaraland’ ‘homeland

- The boundary between the two homelands is the Ombonde-Hoanib River, with the exception of the ten kilometre radius around Sesfontein, or ‘Sesfontein Circle’[225] with the Sesfontein Reserve included in the ‘Damara Bantustan’[226].

‘Kaokoland’ and ‘Damaraland’ are seen as tribal ‘homelands’ where the Damara and Herero-speaking residents could ‘exercise their right of self-determination’[227]. Development becomes ‘accelerated through the creation of new homeland government infrastructures’ resulting ‘in rapid development of roads, boreholes[228], cattle marketing and veterinary services, health services, township development and education, but no parallel development in the wildlife conservation field’ - – ‘[t]he two new homeland governments were served by a single nature conservation officer who was based in Windhoek but reported to Pretoria’[229]. The implications of these changes are described in the following terms: ‘[t]he balanced co-existence of pastoral man with nomadic wildlife was to be gradually, but irredeemably, disrupted’, as, for example, [62] prior to the 1970s ‘there was no excessive hunting in Kaokoland – the people, by and large, lived off their livestock and looked down on hunting as a way of life. Predators that were a threat to their flocks and herds were hunted or poisoned, black rhino and giraffe were occasionally shot’[230]. In addition, it is claimed that,

[w]ith the creation of Kaokoland and Damaraland “homelands”, wildlife populations can no longer migrate between the Etosha and the Skeleton Coast National Parks [why? - the homelands were not fenced]. One consequence of this has been that elephants left in Skeleton Coast have become behaviourally adapted to desert conditions, [264] walking up to 60 km a day to find water and grazing[231]. Rhinos have also been known to travel considerable distances in and out of Skeleton Coast to find water. Naturally, at drier times and especially in the drought of recent years, these rhinos and elephant have ventured up the river valleys into the “homelands” where they receive no protection. They have interfered with agriculture and have been heavily poached.[232]

Of the Odendaal recommendations coming into effect, Reardon in The Besieged Desert published 1986 writes that,

they brought about the dismembering of the world’s largest conservation area. Proclaimed in 1907 under the German colonial regime by Governor von Lindequist, Game Reserve No.2, as it had been known, had originally stretched over more than 80,000 square kilometres from east of the Etosha Pan westwards through the wild mountains and lion-coloured plains of the Kaokoveld to the Atlantic Ocean. In spite of representations and carefully researched alternatives put forward by dismayed conservationists, the new demarcations went ahead. In a press release the government attempted to mollify its critics with the assurance that: ‘The Minister of Bantu Administration and Development will ... at a time convenient to both parties, negotiate with the Natives concerned in regard to the establishment of a game park in their homeland. In the meantime conservation of fauna and flora will be carried out according to the existing S.W.A. legislation and, if necessary, special steps will also be taken.’ Nothing of the sort ever happened and to this day those promises go blowing in the wind.[233]


A couple of years later, of this moment Hall-Martin et al. in The Last Wilderness writes that in the north-west ‘two national homelands, Kaokoland and Damaraland’ are established, requiring,

the ceding of nearly 16 000 square kilometres of the Etosha Game Reserve (at the time, part of Game Reserve No. 2 of the German colonial era, created in 1907). Most of this land was absorbed into Damaraland or the newly created Skeleton Coast Park [nb. no mention of the fact that this land had only been part of Etosha for no more than 12 years: to the Ugab in 1958  then to between the Koigab and !Uniab [?] in 1967, this western area being mostly a ‘paper park’ with little on-the-ground management or patrolling]. Kaokoland also largely lost the status of game reserve which it had acquired in 1928. Since that time it had been both a tribal reserve for the descendants of Chiefs Oorlog, Muhona Katiti and Kusupi and a game reserve falling into the old Game Reserve No. 2.[234] 

More than 200 200 previously white-owned farms in the west are also allocated to the ‘homelands’, primarily to ‘Damaraland’[235].

Amy Schoeman, on the occasion of the centenary of Etosha in 2007, comments:

The infamous Odendaal Report … , had far reaching consequences on subsequent policies and planning. With total disregard of its ecological boundaries, Etosha was reduced in size by over seventy per cent.  This precluded future building of additional rest camps, with the possible exception of Otjovasandu, and necessitated diversification. Land was consequently bought elsewhere to create new game reserves, in certain cases specifically for the relocations of rare and endangered species. This resulted in the establishment of the Division’s Game Capture Unit. The large-scale translocation of rare and endangered species under the leadership of state veterinarian Dr. Ian Hofmeyr was launched. Black-faced impala and black rhino from Kaokoveld…; Roan antelope and eland from the Okavango and Mangetti; white rhino from Natal in South Africa; impala, tsessebe and sable and roan antelope from Caprivi; and leopard and cheetah from farmlands were translocated to the different game reserves, including Etosha. Another consequence of the Odendaal Commission was an ever-increasing need for research, since it had become necessary to “farm” with game [ a term used by the second game warden Schoeman in his reports in the 1950s]. A growing number of farms were used exclusively or partially for game farming which created an insatiable demand for animals. This, combined with escalating game capture activities, resulted in the relocation of game species into areas where, 80 and more years ago, they had become extinct.[236]

As Hall-Martin et al. write in 1988, ‘[c]onservationists saw the deproclamation of much of Etosha as a tragedy’[237]: especially since the,

western area of the region had been inhabited by large populations of elephant and black rhino, as well as an exceptional variety of other big game animals, but little of this magnificent national heritage still survived. Elephant now numbered just a few hundred, while all other species had been decimated by the dual effects of illegal hunting and a devastating drought that ended the year before. Our greatest concern was for the black rhino. From the information we had so far gathered it was clear that the basalt ranges of western Damaraland contained the last viable population in Namibia, outside of the Etosha National Park - and that their numbers could be as low as 40! [although Hearn reports Owen-Smith estimating 150 rhinos for ‘Kaokoland’ in 1970[238]; also see below for estimates for ‘Damaraland and Kaokoland’.] [11] How could a handful of us effectively patrol so vast an area? Since the de-proclamation of Game Reserve No 2 [?it had not been ‘Game Reserve no. 2 since the end of the German administration] the region had become a hunting ground for all and sundry: at best, we might still be able to save some of the more common species, but with black-market ivory and rhino horn prices so high, the Kaokoveld’s desert-dwelling elephant and black rhino seemed doomed to extinction.[239] 

The DNC under Bernabe de la Bat does all it can ‘to avert the loss of the area from Etosha’ and also translocates ‘black rhino and black-faced impala to the remaining protected section of Etosha’[240]:

[w]hen I had discussed the poaching situation in the Kaokoveld with South West Africa’s then Director of Nature Conservation, Bernabe de la Bat, he had told me there was nothing he could do about it. Without actually saying so, he hinted that people very high up in the government were involved in the ivory and rhino horn trade, and as a civil servant his hands were tied. He saw his main responsibility to be keeping the country’s national parks safe, and he had organised the translocation of black rhino and other endangered species in the homelands to Etosha National Park for safekeeping. …[241]

Claims are made that ‘[f]or the first ten years after its de-proclamation, most of the western Etosha Game Park (between the Ombonde-Hoanib river and the veterinary cordon) remained unsettled by local people’[242].  Much is also made by those concerned with conservation about the deproclamation and its role in causing ‘illegal hunting to become rife throughout the west’ and wiping out ‘the once magnificent wildlife of the Kaokoveld’[243], although historically the south-western extension of Etosha was only in existence for a short period of time. The boundary between the two homelands is the Ombonde-Hoanib River, with the exception of the ten kilometre radius around Sesfontein, or ‘Sesfontein Circle’[244] with the Sesfontein Reserve included in the ‘Damara Bantustan’[245].

Etosha National Park thus assumes its current boundaries protected as a conservation area[246]. Authority over nature conservation remains with the Dept. of Bantu Administration and Development (BAD) in Pretoria, with ‘local administrative authorities’ developed for the ‘homelands’[247]. Then Director of Nature Conservation (Bernabe de la Bat) focuses on moving high-value animals, esp. black rhinos, to areas remaining under protection, e.g. Etosha National Park, ‘for safe-keeping’[248]. The Game Capture Unit is expanded and a new anaesthetic becomes available making rhino translocation less risky [se 1967-1969]: twenty black rhinos in the Ugab Valley are anesthetised and translocated with only one loss[249]. To support tourism, by this year (1970) at least 134 ‘mini-dams’ have been created in Okaukeujo area of Etosha, plus hundreds more throughout the park – thought to contribute to increased incidence of anthrax, and decline of large herbivores around this time[250].

Of ‘Kaokoland’, Owen-Smith later writes [**echoing exactly text from Hall-Martin 1988 - see above],

part of the largest conservation area in the world: Game Reserve No. 2, proclaimed in 1907 by the German colonial government. But on the recommendation of the Odendaal Commission it was de-proclaimed in 1970, and together with over 200 previously white-owned farms had been divided into Kaokoland and Damaraland, tribal 'homelands' where the Damara and Herero-speaking residents could 'exercise their right of self-determination'. Prior to its de-proclamation the region had been inhabited by large populations of elephant and black rhino, as well as an exceptional variety of other big game animals, but little of this magnificent national heritage still survived. [Although prior to this elephant and rhino etc etc had been decimated/plundered due to European hunting and trade, in association with indigenous Africans, e.g. during the 1800s, cf. Eriksson documentation etc.] Elephant now numbered just a few hundred, while all other species had been decimated by the dual effects of illegal hunting and a devastating drought that ended the year before. Our greatest concern was for the black rhino. From the information we had so far gathered it was clear that the basalt ranges of western Damaraland contained the last viable population in Namibia, outside of the Etosha National Park - and that their numbers could be as low as 40! [11] How could a handful of us effectively patrol so vast an area? Since the de-proclamation of Game Reserve No 2 the region had become a hunting ground for all and sundry: at best, we might still be able to save some of the more common species, but with black-market ivory and rhino horn prices so high, the Kaokoveld's desert-dwelling elephant and black rhino seemed doomed to extinction.  

When I had discussed the poaching situation in the Kaokoveld with South West Africa's then Director of Nature Conservation, Bernabe de la Bat, he had told me there was nothing he could do about it. Without actually saying so, he hinted that people very high up in the government were involved in the ivory and rhino horn trade, and as a civil servant his hands were tied. He saw his main responsibility to be keeping the country's national parks safe, and he had organised the translocation of black rhino and other endangered species in the homelands to Etosha National Park for safekeeping. …  [251] 

Due to drought, the ‘already impoverished people’ of Sesfontein are granted emergency grazing in the neighbouring Etosha Game Reserve’[252].

Heydinger in 2021 writes of these boundary changes that ‘[a]long the newly-conceived boundary, the separation of Etosha and Kaokoveld “decoupled” Herero pastoralists from rangelands that had long been part of their survival strategies and, in certain cases, severed them from birthplaces and family burial plots’[253].

The African black rhino (Diceros bicornis) population is estimated at 65,000 and the ‘desert-dwelling black rhinos’ in ‘Kaokoland and Damaraland’ are estimated ‘at approximately 300 animals’[254]. Elephants occur ‘throughout most of Kaokoland and Damaraland; 200-300 of a total of 600-800 occurred in the west [of these areas, i.e. in the desert/’Northern Namib’]’[255].

West Caprivi is declared a military zone around this time and conservation officials are denied access with ‘the SADF appointing their own “Nature Conservation” authorities’ in the area[256].


Principles of commercial farming begin to be introduced in communal areas, e.g. in Hereroland the plan by this year ‘was to make 4,000-hectare land units available to persons with 400 cattle’[257].


By the early 1970s, 233 farms in the west of the present Outjo district were cut off and incorporated into Damaraland following the recommendations of the Odendaal Commission.[258]

[1] Contribution statement: an initial 180 pages of literature review organised into a chronology was shared by Sullivan with Dieckmann on 1st September 2020. We have collaborated iteratively on these documents since then.

[2] As historian Lorena Rizzo (2012, pp. 3, 7) writes, historical and present dynamics demonstrate ‘Kaoko’s instability and its shifting materiality as a territory and socio-political space’, especially in relation to mobilities that blur ethnic, geographical and economic colonial boundaries.

[3] Bridgeford 2018, p. 16; Joubert 1974, p. 36.

[4] Joubert 1974, p. 36.

[5] Joubert 1974, p. 36.

[6] Joubert 1974**check.

[7] Joubert 1974, p. 36.

[8] GSWA Ordinance 18 of 1958.

[9] Miescher 2009, p. 381.

[10] Berry 2007, p. 54.

[11] NAN SWAA A 511/3 Game Reserves: Regulations and Fees.

[12] Owen-Smith 2010, p. 7.

[13] Interview by Sian Sullivan and Welhemina Suro Ganuses with Ruben Sauneib Sanib and Sophia Opi |Awises, ǂKhabaka-ǁgams, Palmwag Concession, 14/11/14.

[14] Bridgeford 2018, p. 16.

[15] Miescher 2009, p. 381.

[16] Administrator (Daan Viljoen), 3.9.1958, Notice in terms of section 3 (2) of the Prohibited Areas Proclamation 1928. SWAA A 511/6.

[17] Miescher 2009, p. 381.

[18] Heydinger (2021, p. 75), drawing on Berry (1997) and Owen-Smith (1972).

[19] Berry 2007, p. 54-55.

[20] Dieckmann 2007a, p. 145.

[21] De la Bat 1982, p. 20.

[22] Kambatuku 1996, p. 2.

[23] Kambatuku 1996, p. 2.

[24] Kambatuku 1996, p. 2.

[25] Sullivan 1996, p. 17 after Kambatuku 1996, p. 2.

[26] Levin and Goldbeck 2013, p. 43.

[27] De la Bat 1982, p. 18.

[28] Heydinger 2021, p. 88 after De la Bat 1982 and Owen-Smith 2010, p. 321 - recorded by Ken Tinley.

[29] Deaton 2011, p. 181.

[30] Joubert 1974, p. 36.

[31] Botha 2013, p. 240 - Wadley 1979, p. 24 records this from 1958-1963.

[32] Berry 1997, p. 4.

[33] Bollig 2006, p. 43.

[34] Sullivan 1996, p. 17 after Kambatuku 1996. After second five-year probation lease, farmers had the option to buy the farm = the buying option / koop-opsie, or could extend the lease for another five years (in accordance with Article 27 of Proclamation 310 of 1927, Union of South Africa). Many farmers did not complete their lease because ‘their’ farms were later considered for resettlement of Damara people in the creation of ‘Damaraland’ (Kambatuku 1996, p. 2).

[35] Sullivan 1996, p. 17 after Kambatuku 1996.

[36] Kambatuku 1996.

[37] Sullivan 1996, p. ** quoting Kambatuku 1996, p. 12.

[38] Sullivan 1996, p. 17 after Kambatuku 1996.

[39] Hartmann et al. 1998, p. 31.

[40] Shapwanale 2017, online.

[41] Boois 2019, p. iii, 2.

[42] Deaton 2011, p. 244.

[43] Rudner and Rudner 2007, p. 7.

[44] Miescher 2012 op. cit., p. 4.

[45] Deaton 2011, p. 168.

[46] **ref?

[47] Bollig 2006, p. 59.

[48] LAN 1436,4293, Vol III, IV in Dieckmann 2007a, p. 176.

[49] Dieckmann 2013, p. 260-61.

[50] e.g. Viljoen at Palmwag; Berger (Debbie Gilchrist’s father) at Werelsend,  moved to Gauas (?) & Lissof,  Kamanjab side.

Jones at Rooiplat [= |Awa|huis** near Soaub];  Farmers also moved from the west to Karibib area and Etosha near Ongata. (Duncan Gilchrist pers. comm., Kamanjab,  Nov 2014).  

[51] Miescher, 2012, p. 1.

[52] Miescher 2012, p. 3.

[53] Powell 1998, p. 23.

[54] Bollig 2006, p. 43.

[55] Haacke 2018, p. 134.

[56] Levin and Goldbeck 2013, p. 61.

[57] Berry 1980, p. 54.

[58] Heydinger 2021, p. 88. after Bilgalke 1961.

[59] Botha 2005, p. 181.

[60] Botha 2013; p. 245.

[61] Suzman 2017, p. 58.

[62] Suzman 2017, p. 151.

[63] Miescher 2009, p. 287.

[64] Miescher 2009, p. 286.

[65] Miescher 2012, p. 18.

[66] Botha 2005, p. 181.

[67] Heydinger 2021, p. 89, after Schneider 2012 and Stark 2011, p. 122.

[68] Stark 2011, p. 122.

[69] Joubert (1974: 41)

[70] Levin and Goldbeck 2013, p. 76; also Deaton 2011, p. 168.

[71] Jacobsohn 1998(1990), p. 16.

[72] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 31.

[73] Deaton 2011, p. 168.

[74] Hall-Martin et al. 1988, p. 61.

[75] Odendaal Report, 1964, p. 3.

[76] Sullivan 1996, p. 18.

[77] Botha 2005, p. 188.

[78] Levin and Goldbeck 2013, p. 76.

[79] Reardon 1986, p. 16.

[80] Heydinger 2021, p. 67.

[81] As documented in Sullivan and Ganuses 2020 and references therein, especially Miescher 2012. Also UN Special Committee for South West Africa 1962.

[82] UNIN 1986, p. 264 after Schoeman 1984.

[83] NAN.A/5212/Add.1 20 September 1962, ‘Meeting with Headmen and residents of Sessfontein Native Reserve, 10 May 1962, United Nations Special Committee for South West Africa, pp. 13-16.

[84] Botha 2005, p. 181.

[85] Heydinger 2021, p. 89.

[86] Wadley 1979, p. 43.

[87] Taylor 2012, p. 67 after Gordon 1992, p. 162.

[88] Miescher 2009, p. 288.

[89] Heydinger 2021, p. 89.

[90] SWA Administration White Paper 1964-65, in SWAA Nature Conservation and Tourism 1959-1981, IV: Introduction.

[91] Joubert 1974, p. 36; Bridgeford 2018, p. 17.

[92] Joubert 1984, p. 12.

[93] Levin and Goldbeck 2013, p. 76.

[94] Levin and Goldbeck 2013, p. 76.

[95] Levin and Goldbeck 2013, p. 76.

[96] Heydinger 2021, p. 86 citing government report from this year, Ohopoho.

[97] Heydinger 2021, p. 71.

[98]  Levin and Goldbeck 2013, p. 36.

[99] Jill Kinahan 2017, p. 309 after Henschel and Lancaster 2013.

[100]  Botelle and Kowalski 1997, p. 14.

[101] Taylor 2012, p. 73.

[102] Joubert 1974, p. 37.

[103] Silvester et al. 1998, p. 19.

[104] Odendaal Report 1964, p. 18.

[105] Adams and Werner 1990, p. 93.

[106] Sullivan 1996, p. 18.

[107] Dierks 1999, pp. 129-130; Mendelsohn, et al. 2002, p. 137; Werner 1993, pp. 145-146.

[108] Dierks 1999, pp. 129-130; Mendelsohn, et al. 2002, p. 137; Werner 1993, pp. 145-146.

[109] Sullivan 1996, p. 18.

[110] Owen-Smith 1972, pp. 29, 31.

[111] Botha 2005, p. 182.

[112] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 31.

[113] de la Bat 1982, p. 20.

[114] Odendaal Report 1964, p. 87 in Heydinger 2021, p. 82.

[115] Heydinger 2021, p. 83.

[116] See, accessed 9 November 2021.

[117] Tinley 1971, p. **.

[118] Levin and Goldbeck 2013, p. 76.

[119] Sullivan 1996, p. 17 drawing on Kambatuku 1996, p. 5.

[120] From Kambatuku 1996, p. 5**.

[121] Levin and Goldbeck 2013, p. 7.

[122] Levin and Goldbeck 2013, p. 76.

[123]  Levin and Goldbeck 2013, p. 77.

[124] Levin and Goldbeck 2013, p. 77.

[125] Levin and Goldbeck 2013, p. 77.

[126] Paksi and Pyhälä 2018, p. 201.

[127] Odendaal Report, p. 23(**check), quoted in Botha 2005, p. 186.

[128] Editor 1971, p. 3.

[129] Odendaal Report 1964; Budack, 1977, p. 4; Jill Kinahan 2017, p. 298.

[130] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 36.

[131] Sullivan 1996, p. 19 following Odendaal Report, 1964, pp. 89-93.

[132] Kambatuku 1996, p. 3.

[133] Rohde 1993, p. 31.

[134] Kambatuku 1996, p. 3.

[135] Kambatuku 1996, p. 3.

[136] Sullivan 1996, p. 19 drawing on Kambatuku 1996, p. 3.

[137] Heydinger 2021, p. 82, drawing on ‘South West Africa Skakelkomitee (liaison committee)’ minutes.

[138] ǁGaroes 2022.

[139] Kambatuku 1996, p. 4.

[140] Boois 2017, p. viii.

[141] Heydinger 2021, p. 85 citing Van Wolputte 2004, p. 169 n. 19, and references therein.

[142] Heydinger 2021, p. 85.

[143] Botha 2005, 186.

[144] Botha 2005, 186.

[145] Berry 2007, p. 84.

[146] Schoeman 2007, p. 52.

[147] Heydinger 2021, p. 85. 

[148] MacCalman and Grobbelaar 1965.

[149] Wadley 1979, p. 16 quoting MacCalman and Grobelaar 1965, p. 13.

[150] MacCalman and Grobelaar 1965, p. 9 in Wadley 1979, p. 31.

[151] Kambatuku 1996, p. 5.

[152]  Levin and Goldbeck 2013, p. 77.

[153] Joubert 1984, p. 12 (translation from Afrikaans by Sian Sullivan, with the help of Deepl Translate)

[154] Bruwer 1965, p. 58, in Dieckmann 2007a, pp. 172-173.

[155] Bruwer 1965, p. 58, in Dieckmann 2007a, pp. 172-173.

[156] Bruwer 1965, p. 57.

[157] Levin and Goldbeck 2013, p. 77.

[158] Heydinger 2021, p. 76.

[159] Timm 1998, p. 145.

[160] Deaton 2011, p. 244.

[161] Joubert 1984, p. 13.

[162] Joubert 1971, p. 33.

[163] Kambatuku 1996, p. 5.

[164] Heydinger 2021, p. 89, after Ebedes 1976, Owen-Smith 2010, p. 322.

[165] Ebedes 2007, p. 59-60.

[166] Botha 2005, 182.

[167] **ref?

[168] Joubert 1974, p. 36.

[169] Bridgeford 2018, p. 17.

[170] Joubert 1974, p. 36, quoting NCTB/Ordinance 31 of 1967.

[171] Joubert 1974, p. 36; also Bridgeford 2018, p. 17, and Botha 2013, pp 244, 246.

[172] Bridgeford 2018, p. 17, also Botha 2013, pp 244, 246.

[173] Joubert 1974, p. 36

[174] Schoeman 2007, p. 53.

[175] Tinley 1971, p. 11.

[176] Dieckmann 2009, p. 357, Berry 1997, p. 4.

[177] Dieckmann 2009, p. 357.

[178] De la Bat 1982, p. 20.

[179] UNIN 1986, p. 262, quoting Liste des Nations Unies des Pares Nationaux et Reserves Analogues (Gland.

Switzerland, IUCN, 1967).­

[180] Joubert 1971, p. 22.

[181] Joubert 1984, p. 13.

[182] Joubert 1984, p. 13.

[183] Tinley 1971.

[184] Kambatuku 1996, p. 3.

[185] ǁGaroes 2022.

[186] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 31.

[187] Heydinger 2021, p. 89.

[188] **ref?

[189] Bridgeford 2018, p. 17.

[190] Taylor 2012, p. 73.

[191] Stamm 2016, p. 143.

[192] Paksi 2020, p. 25 after Battistoni and Taylor 2009.

[193] Schoeman 2007, p. 52.

[194] Ebedes 2007, p. 60.

[195] Timm 1998, p. 150.

[196] Deaton 2011, p. 244.

[197] Shapwanale 2017, online.

[198] Hall-Martin et al. 1988, p. 62.

[199] Owen-Smith 2010, p. 17.

[200] Reardon 1986, p. 13.

[201] Reardon 1986, p. 55.

[202] ǁGaroes 2022.

[203] Hearn 2003, p. 8 referencing Joubert 1971.

[204] ǁGaroes 2022.

[205] SWAA Nature Conservation and Tourism 1959-1981, IV: Introduction.

[206] Joubert 1974, p. 37.

[207] Heydinger 2021, p. 75.

[208] Tinley 1971, p. 3.

[209] Heydinger 2021, p. 84.

[210] Owen-Smith 2010, p. 88, also in Heydinger 2021, p. 85.

[211] Heydinger 2021, pp. 85-86 drawing on Owen-Smith 2010, pp. 89-91.

[212] Kambatuku 1996, p. 5.

[213] Bridgeford and Bridgeford 2002, p. 2.

[214] Förster 2016, online.

[215] Knussman 1969, p. 35 in Lau 1979, p. 26.

[216] Hall-Martin et al. 1988, p. 61.

[217] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 1; also Jacobsohn 1998(1990), p. 16.

[218] Dieckmann 2009, p. 357.

[219] Jacobsohn 1998(1990), p. 16.

[220] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 32.

[221] Heydinger (2021, p. 75) writes that ‘Kaokoveld would serve as the homeland for 9234 ‘Kaokovelders’, a supposedly unified ethnic group of Herero, Himba, and Tjimba people’.

[222] Owen-Smith 2010, p.**.

[223] Heydinger 2021, p. 75.

[224] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 1.

[225] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 1.

[226] Fuller 1993, p. 69.

[227] Owen-Smith 2010, p. 7.

[228] Although nb. Bollig (2006, 2020) on the proliferation of boreholes in especially eastern Kaokoveld since the 1950s.

[229] Hall-Martin 1988, p. 61.

[230] Hall-Martin 1988, pp. 61-62. These statements seems to downplay prior commercial hunting in which local people were significantly involved from the late 1800s into the early 20th century (e.g. Bollig and Olwage 2016).

[231] Citing Schoeman 1984.

[232] UNIN 1986, pp. 263-264.

[233] Reardon 1986, p. 16.

[234] Hall-Martin et al. 1988, p. 61.

[235] Sullivan 1996 and references therein.

[236] Schoeman 2007, p. 52.

[237] Hall-Martin et al. 1988, p. 62.

[238] Hearn 2003, p. 13 referencing Owen-Smith 1970.

[239] Owen-Smith 2010, pp. 7, 11.

[240] Hall-Martin et al. 1988, p. 62.

[241] Owen-Smith 2010, p. 11.

[242] Owen-Smith 2002, p.**?.

[243] e.g. Owen-Smith 2002, p. 7.

[244] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 1.

[245] Fuller 1993, p. 69.

[246] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 1; also Jacobsohn 1998(1990), p. 16.

[247] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 2.

[248] Owen-Smith 2010, p. 11.

[249] Joubert 1984, p. 14.

[250] Heydinger 2021, p. 89 after Ebedes 1976.

[251] Owen-Smith 2010, pp. 7, 11.

[252] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 34.

[253] Heydinger 2021, p. 81.

[254] Hearn 2003, pp. iv, 13, these figures for Damaraland and Kaokoland reference Loutit 1988.

[255] Clements et al. 1984, p. 217.

[256] Taylor 2012, p. 73.

[257] Botha 2005, p. 185.

[258] Dieckmann 2013, p. 261.