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Etosha-Kunene Histories – A Timeline of Historical References: 5. 1971 – 1997 = fenced and reduced size Etosha National Park; communal area residents alienated from wildlife
Building on literature review by Sian Sullivan and Ute Dieckmann for
Etosha-Kunene Histories

Last edited 20/12/2022 [SS]

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

Etosha-Kunene Histories – A Timeline of Historical References

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

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 fifth 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


Black rhino are trans-located to Etosha National Park and simultaneously vaccinated against anthrax, ‘an event that often repeats itself during the first three years of 1970’[3].




The Damara Raad is founded as ‘a statutory body to advise Jan De Wet, Commissioner General of Indigenous People (Commissioner of Bantu Affairs for South West Africa)’ including Chief Joseph Max Haraseb as a founding member and Kai-Gaob Justus ǁGaroëb as Chairperson:

[i]t is on record how Justus ǁGaroeb, upon the formation of the Damara Raad, outwitted De Wet to establish the Damara Raad as a people’s party to cater for the social, political and educational well-being of the Damara people, which until then used to be a marginalized people and did not have a voice[4].


The Tsumeb Corporation Limited (TCL) mines copper and sulphur at Matchless[5].


The International Court of Justice declares SA occupation of SWA to be illegal[6]. 

In this year the reigning King Gaob Dawid Goreseb is the brain behind a mobilization of all Headmen from the different ǂNūkhoen ǁAes (Damara nation), an initiative in which the young Justus ǁGaroeb is instrumental: this mobilisation later becomes the Damara Raad (also known as the Damara Council) [see 1970[7].

The first Director of Nature Conservation and Tourism Bernabe de la Bat tells game wardens of South African Air Force officers shooting wildlife from airplanes[8]. A further 21 rhinos are successfully translocated to Etosha, and released mainly at Otjovasandu and Halali, with a further 10 in subsequent years[9].

Ken Tinley, in proposals for creation of Kaokoveld and Kunene National Parks, the former of which should connect with Etosha National Park, advocates that ‘[t]he Nama people at Sesfontein and in the adjacent country should be moved to the same homeland area as the Fransfontein people’[10].

Commissioned by the Wildlife Society of South Africa, Ken Tinley writes a report containing ‘proposals for a division of land between man and wildlife’ in the north-west that are different to those of Owen Smith (see below)[11]. He proposes the creation of Kaokoveld and Kunene National Parks, the former of which should connect with Etosha National Park, and advocates that ‘[t]he Nama people at Sesfontein and in the adjacent country should be moved to the same homeland area as the Fransfontein people’[12]. In March he publishes as a supplement to the journal African Wild Life,

an alternative plan of land apportionment for man and wild life based on the intrinsic ecological potential and capabilities of the different land types, providing man with the better living sites and at the same time making provision for the preservation of the unique features of Etosha and Kaokoveld as a natural resource of national importance.[13]

Writing in the context of ‘the tourist explosion already experienced in South West Africa’ [p. 11] and from the perspective that ‘South Africa is the scientific and technical leader in Africa’, Tinley notes that: parts of the ‘homeland’ areas advocated in the Odendaal Commission are in unproductive desert areas [also p.6]; pastoral mobilities are constrained by the settlement of land (Tinley depicts an uninhabited temporary ‘Himba Herero hut made of sticks and cow dung in the Namib Desert at Purros near the Hoarusib River’ stating that ‘[t]hese temporary huts are made by the pastoralists for the period during which their herds graze the ephemeral flush of desert grass before moving back inland to sites with perennial grasslands’[14]); and little study has been made of the uniqueness of the Kaokoveld.[15] He notes that,

the original Etosha Game Park (Game Reserve No. 2) contained the whole variety of endemics as well as sufficient area for the migrations of the large wild ungulates, but it also included a large area inhabited by the Himba Herero pastoralists of the north-east Kaokoveld.[16] 

The new post-Odendaal Etosha boundaries: ‘ignore the ecology of the region entirely’; ‘effectively exclude almost all of the endemic flora and fauna from any national park space’; and cut ‘the annual and periodic migrations of certain large ungulates, such as elephant and gemsbok between the Kaokoveld and the Etosha saline area’.[17] Kaokoveld is celebrated for its ‘awe-inspiring’ ‘wild scenery’ of rare magnitude, especially in three ‘scenic masterpieces’ occurring in the Desert Zone or the saline soil country of Etosha Pan and thus ‘outside the terrain suitable to man as a pastoralist or cultivator’[!] of:

1. ‘the region with Sesfontein at its centre [where Nama Hottentot people are noted as living], including the Hoarusib, Hoanib and Unjab River Basins’ – noted as ‘the area with the greatest variety of scenery and natural communities’[11];

2. ‘the Etosha Salt Pan area’, where ‘the Heiqum “Bushman” (Nama)’ are located;

and 3. ‘the Marienfluss – Kunene – Baynes Mountains (noted for ‘the recently discovered Tjimba stone-using “Bushman” who ‘[d]uring extreme drought periods … are forced out of the mountains and do menial services for the Himba Herero in exchange for food and other requirements’) region.[18]

Tinley also remarks on ‘the recently extinct Strandlopers along the coast’ whose ‘distribution … was discontinuous as they were governed by the occurrence of freshwater in the mouths of the seasonal rivers crossing the Namib Desert’ along ‘they also extended up some of the rivers traversing the desert’ and [5]‘are extinct today except for one or two very old individuals living in Sesfontein’[19]. Tinley affirms that,

the Nama people at Sesfontein and Warmquella, the extinct Strandlopers, and the Heiqum “Bushmen” are all of the Hottentot or Nama stock and share the same language. One homeland should suffice, as they are a single language group’ [no mention of Damara, even though largest group in Sesfontein in Van Warmelo’s 1951 report!].[20]


Regarding Kaokoveld specifically, Tinley notes that ‘[t]he Kaokoveld harbours the last concentration and largest population of black rhino in South West Africa’, ‘contains the largest population of mountain zebra in Southern Africa’, has ‘become the last stronghold of elephant in South West Africa’, and is home to the black-faced impala[21]. He asserts that ‘[t]he Kaokoveld and adjoining Namib Desert are … of extreme international importance in the conservation of natural systems, as this is probably the last place in Africa where big game [13] (e.g. elephant, black rhino, giraffe, lion) occur on a desert coast by following the seasonal river courses which traverse the desert … [and ] are the last places where research can be made into the manner in which wild ungulates adapt themselves to the desert environment’[22].


Regarding ‘the Namib, or Skeleton Coast’, ‘not waste land, but wilderness, and, apart from its considerable biological and scenic value, it is the frightening atmosphere with its history of shipwrecks which in itself is a major attraction’, and ‘[t]he establishment of a national park in this region will ensure the preservation of the unique endemic life of the northern desert region’[23].        


He asserts that ‘[i]deally all permanent settlement should be confined to above the 200 mm rainfall line’, and that,

[a] large amount of farmland has long been overstocked, leading to a permanent state of man-induced drought, erosion and degraded vegetation (mainly the loss of perennial grasses) … [such that] [m]any of the ranchers are bankrupt or retain their ranches while working elsewhere, waiting for a year of good rain. But, as in the Western Transvaal, a good or normal rainfall year is still in effect a drought as the compacted bare ground sheds the rain like a tiled roof[24].

He advocates that ‘[i]n order to rectify past mistakes in land allotment many farms in areas more suitable for homelands or for wild life and water catchment conservation need to be bought up’[25].


Tinley’s top-down technocratic[26] [‘ecocratic’?] recommendations include:

- migration routes associated with the Andoni Plains should be preserved as ‘a tribal wild life reserve’ [p11] through protecting a ‘narrow sliver of land’ north of the eastern part of the park boundary in 1971 [p7];

- exchanged with a triangle of land that should ‘be excised from western Etosha to provide salt pans [11] for the Ovambos despite the existence of similar salt pans within their own area, which now, however, is devoid of wildlife’;[27]

[**summary of Tinley paper to be completed]

- creating the Kaokoveld and Kunene (River) National Parks, ‘effectively re-creating much of Game Reserve No. 2’ plus ‘purchasing greater amounts of private (white) farmland to enlarge these new parks’[28];

- ‘transporting remaining “natives” further east, outside these new parks’[29].

The Dept. of Bantu Administration and Development (BAD) responds that ‘the interests of the Natives [...] could not be subordinated to nature conservation’[30].

After a nation wide strike aimed at abolishing the contract labour system in late 1971, a state of emergency is imposed on the whole of northern Namibia lasting until 1989. The recruitment of Bushmen into the South African Defence Force (SADF) to fight against the freedom fighters of SWAPO was started in 1974[31], but the heavy militarisation of Bushmen took place mainly in “Bushmanland” and Caprivi.[32] Nevertheless, army camps were established all over the Haiǁom area, and all Haiǁom were affected by the presence of the army to varying degrees, i.e. those living on farms, those living in the Game Reserve and those living in Ovamboland.[33]

Joubert publishes a map of the distribution of black rhino in SWA, ca. 1850.[34] 

Source: scan from Joubert 1971, p. 37.

A Mr P. de Wet applies to lease Palmwag Farm in 1971 but this is not granted due to poor pastures[35].

Early 1970s

Regarding the resettlement of Damara / ǂNūkhoe to the Damaraland ‘homeland’, Sullivan writes,

[i]n the early 1970s, the purchased Damaraland farms were eventually made available to the Bantu Commission for redistribution to Damara farmers for communal use in their new ‘homeland’. Considering that most of these farms had been settled in response to extremely generous terms offered by the South African Administration, and were then purchased at land values which included improvements, it is likely that their previous white owners benefited substantially from the arrangement.

   Movement by communal farmers to the new Damara ‘homeland’ began in the early 1970s, in the absence of either a ‘traditional’ land allocation system or any legislated regulation of settlement (Rohde, 1994: 6). It is generally considered that people were forcibly moved to these areas (Adams and Werner, 1990: 93; Adams and Devitt, 1992: 7), although little documentary evidence exists regarding this process (Rohde, 1993: 19) [except for the situation of the Riemvasmakers – see 1974].

   [20] The Odendaal Report (1964: 95) states that in cases where people had to move to their respective homelands, they would receive ‘reasonable compensation’ for the property they left behind. It appears from field evidence … that farmers also actively sought out and applied for preferred farming areas. Such evidence indicates that farmers, many of whom were leaving positions as labourers on commercial farms, also perceived the movement to their new farming areas favourably as an opportunity to become relatively independent.[36]


Kambatuku writes:

‘[m]any Damara-speaking people from all over the country, either through forced removal or fleeing drought elsewhere, settled on these farms [but peoples’ agency in this process??, i.e seeking places out and seeing it as an opportunity etc**]. With the exception of people forcefully removed from proclaimed nature reserves like Daan-Viljoen [Aukeigas, named after the administrator in the 1950s Daniel ‘Daan’ Viljoen], it would seem as if there was no co-ordination of who settled where…’[37] … ‘pastor Elias Eiseb who settled on one such farm, Engelbrecht in 1970, categorically maintained that they chose the farms for themselves and were not directed by any institution or government organ in their search… [and] that originally 70 people from Ovitoto came to Engelbrecht and had a free choice between settling at Engelbrecht, Vrye or Brambach.[38]

The SADF occupies Caprivi, changing the livelihood dynamics of Khwe in West Caprivi there through providing paid employment and exploiting natural resources[39].



Kaokoveld becomes ‘a battleground in the Namibian war for independence’[40] and the SADF is stationed there in the late 1970s[41]. Some 128 boreholes are drilled in Kaokoveld[42]: from the beginning of this decade ‘many artificial water points were constructed throughout the Kaokoveld and local herders subsequently opted for a less mobile existence’[43].

The Grootberg Farmers Union operates in the Grootberg-Kamanjab from this time[44].


The law changes to permit ‘[c]ommercial [white] farmers who followed certain conditions – such as appropriate game fencing - … conditional ownership of so-called huntable game such as springbok, kudu, gemsbok and warthog on their land. No permits needed’; causing a culture change away from seeing,

wildlife as competition for their domestic stock and something to be poached, if you could get away with it. Most resented the fact you needed a permit to shoot game on your own property and few bothered to go through the cumbersome process of applying to government for permission to shoot a springbok or gemsbok.[45]


According to Krenz [1972], summarised by Moritz[46] the names of the Damara ‘tribes’ recorded in this year are:

- Auguun or Au-Kubuun

- //Hua on the Huab to the Grootberg

- Daûna or Daûre at the Brandberg (daû = to burn)

- !oe-ǂan on the Erongo (!oe-ǂab = Erongo)

- Hei-Nawan on the lower Swakop and Khan (bush swallower).

- /Khomanin in the Khomashochland to Rehoboth, also mountain dwellers.

- /Gowanin in the east from Windhoek to Rehoboth [?Gobabis] (dune dweller /Gowa = dune).

- /Geiao or /Geio in the area around the Paresis Mountains (/geis= dance; Lebzelter [1934] = !Geio).

Krenz groups them together as Nami-daman, which he again classifies according to their hunting and crop-gathering areas, and also names as a second group the tribe in the north, the ǂAo-Daman, because they are at home in the mountain peaks, thus Moritz makes a basic distinction between Nami-Daman and ǂAodaman as plains area dwellers and mountain dwellers [47] [although ethnographic research does not really bear this out].

Krenz names the area of the ǂAo-daman as starting from Franzfontein over the Outjoberge to the Otavibergland. In the latter area he calls them Dani-daman (dani = honey), i.e. honey-daman, and in Otjikono, Nubes to Biermanns-skool-Musemurib (which is called Aurib) they are called AURIN. They are also said to have mixed with the Ovambo. Their appearance indicates this. The girls had ornament-like [7] hairstyles. Krenz also says that all ǂAo-daman were in bondage to the Hei-//om (Saan) [?].

The Damara Raad (Damara Council), as the traditional governance and advisory entity, is formally established on 4th April, and Justus ǁGaroeb becomes a member, being one of the youngest amongst Elder Traditional Leaders[48]. ǁGaroeb also turns down a position as Native Affairs Commissioner position level-2a, and instead becomes the Senior Headman, at the age of 29 years, famously writing that:

Because the policies which I was to pursue were not compatible with my own philosophy on human rights and self-determination, I resigned[49].

As the Senior Headman or Chief, ǁGaroeb led twelve Headmen from different Clans of the Damara People, under the leadership and guidance of the reigning King Gaob Dawid Goreseb, whom young ǁGaroeb had been close to since 1964, whilst a student at the Augustinuem Training College, and in July of this year ǁGaroeb also marries Irmgard Tsaes[50].

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’[51].

ANVO Hunting Safaris[52] is registered and later plays a large role in the establishment of hunting concession areas in ‘Damaraland’.

The Dept. of Agriculture estimates that Kaokoveld cattle exceed 160,000[53].

Garth Owen-Smith, ‘Agricultural Official for the Kaokoveld Territory 1968-1970’ publishes a paper in the South African J. Science stating that the ‘reaction [to Odendaal’s ‘recommendations for the partition of the Kaokoveld/Etosha Game Reserve complex’] from conservationists in South, and South West Africa has unfortunately revealed considerable contradiction and confusion as to the actual issues involved’; and sets out to present ‘the essential facts on which any informed discussion regarding desirable amendments to the Odendaal Plan should be based’[54].

He asserts that at this time ‘[i]n the remote Baynes and Otjihipa mountains live a few stone using, hunter-gethering people, also known as OvaTjimba (Tjimba-Tjimba)’ and ‘[t]here is evidence to suggest that these people are not of Herero stock, and are still being assimilated into the neighbouring Himba clans’[55].

He notes that ‘[t]raditionally the Kaokoveld natives have not resided west of the escarpment, although it appears that in periodic dry years, Himba from the western plateau regions migrated down the river valleys onto the semi-desert plains’; but that ‘the rapidly expanding herds of the plateau Himba have caused an overflow onto the semi-desert, where about twenty families have now taken up semi-permanent residence between Orupembe and the Hartmannberge’, where ‘continuous grazing and trampling … in the vicinity of watering points’ has led to ‘degeneration of the grass cover, and exposure of the soil to wind erosion’; [37] although they do not threaten the wild life ‘and need not immediately be moved’, but ‘could be persuaded to return to the more fertile highlands, by the provision of watering points in previously waterless areas on the western plateau’[6]. He affirms the need for ‘a sympathetic understanding’ towards the Herero and Himba people, who despite seldom in the past using the semi-desert region, ‘regard the whole Kaokoveld as belonging to them’ such that ‘it will only be with their [37]cooperation that the viability of any game reserve in the Kaokoveld can be ensured’[56].


He also states that,

[i]t appears likely that in the distant past, both the Bushman and the more negroid Damara were widespread in the Kaokoveld, but within the last twenty years, the ‘Strandloper’ Bushman has passed from the scene, and only a few Damara remain, in the dusty Hoanib river valley between Warmquelle and Sesfontein[57].

Contrary to Tinley above [1971], Owen-Smith states that ‘[d]uring two and a half year’s residence in the Kaokoveld, no signs were found of any large scale migration of game to and from the Etosha saline area [with instead] … a rather local seasonal cycle, with the water dependent animals, such as elephant, zebra and kudu, concentrating in the vicinity of permanent waterholes duringh the dry months’[58]. Owen-Smith thus states that ‘there is insufficient evidence for a corridor across valuable ranchland to link these two regions’ [i.e. Etosha Game Park and the western Kaokoveld][59].


At the time of writing, Owen-Smith observes for the Kaokoveld that ‘large scale exploration has been commenced by two Rand based mining companies’, construction of the Ruacana HEP scheme has begun, and ‘[o]n the contiguous Kaokoveld and Ovamboland southern border, an extensive quarantine camp is being built that will enable livestock, previously prohibited from crossing the ‘red line’, to be exported to markets in the south’[60]. He notes that future pressures on Kaoko wildlife will arise due to crop losses, the erection of fences to protect farmland ‘which will make the presence of elephant intolerable’, an increasing cattle-less and protein hungry ‘working class in the indigenous population’, and especially ‘the influx of European officials and workers and the consequent rise in poaching’[61]. His summary is that ‘the gradual disappearance of most of the larger game animals in the Kaokoveld appears inevitable under proposals recommended by the Odendaal Commission’, but asks ‘is the destruction of wild life the unavoidable price of progress?’[62] He writes, for example, that ‘[t]he black rhinoceros appears to be decreasing on the plateau, but it is still relatively common in the escarpment mountains and on the semi-desert plains’[63]. He advocates ‘rational land use planning’ urging that ‘in future ecological considerations must receive the highest priority in all rural development planning’[64]. Owen-Smith notes of Sesfontein that ‘the present situation … should be taken as a warning. … Over the years sustained heavy grazing on the surrounding plain has reduced the whole valley into an enormous dustbowl’[65].


Owen-Smith invokes the US Wilderness Act of 1964 and the foresight of SA President Paul Kruger who ‘against much opposition, proclaimed the Sabie Game Reserve in the Transvaal Lowveld, saying that ‘South Africa cannot afford to disregard the growing cultural heritage and as a recreational necessity’, and that ‘wild land will undoubtedly be a national resource of major importance’[66]. Indeed, ‘what is preserved of this irreplaceable heritage now depends entirely on us – the present generation of South Africans, and our elected representatives [and [w]e must accept the final responsibility’[67]. He thus advocates that,

[i]n the context of South West Africa’s rapidly expanding tourist industry, a game reserve in the western Kaokoveld [see map] has vast potential as a tourist attraction, and in time this potential can be turned into an economic asset to the country as a whole and particularly to the people of the neighbouring homelands[68]]. … As the situation in the western areas of the new Damara Homeland is essentially similar to that in the Kaokoveld, it should be possible to extend a game reserve southward along the semi-desert to the Ugab river, thus linking it with the existing Brandberg Nature Reserve[69].


Plan for land apportionment in N.W. South West Africa. Source: Owen-Smith 1972, p. 35.

Mitch Reardon, who in 1986 publishes The Besieged Desert about Namibia’s north-west, first meets Garth Owen-Smith ‘on an Italian liner plying between Sydney and Milan’, via Cape Town where they disembarked:

Garth had looked striking even then, and amongst the other passengers strikingly out of place – a mountain man cast up in suburbia. I had been intrigued and had sought him out. In our talks he had spoken obsessively of a parcel of land in the far north-west of what was then still known as South West Africa, called the Kaokoveld, a piece of the planet I had only vaguely heard of. He described, in a quiet, even voice that barely concealed a molten intensity, a remote harsh paradise that had remained largely unexplored well into the second half of the twentieth century, protected as it was by an inhospitable coastline and the arid rugged nature of its interior mountains.

   He had been hurrying back to that bounteous desert where spiritually he had buried his heart and where, with the pending publication of his comprehensive ecological report on the region, the first definitive study of its kind and fifteen years later still a standard reference work, he was to lay the foundation for his present considerable reputation. Yet it was the manner of his departure from the Kaokoveld that provided [13] the ominous metaphor for the holocaust that was to overcome that fragile land. After two and a half years spent camping out in the trackless wilderness he had come to love, familiarising himself with the country, its wildlife and nomadic pastoralists, he had been precipitately expelled from the territory for attempting to uphold the law, albeit a law that was widely and generally disregarded. His banishment coincided with the beginning of the end for the Kaokoveld's great game populations. …

   [16] During the long, rough crossing he had spoken of his past and his hopes and plans for the future, all of which centred on his vision of a sacrosanct desert Eden. ‘No place like it in the world,’ he had said, his voice soft with remembrance. ‘Utterly unique, and I don’t use that word lightly. Great chunks of country that are blanks on a map. Europeans can’t get in without a permit so the tribes are unspoilt by contact with western civilization and although most of it is desert or semi-desert, it’s full of game. I’d reckon there are more elephants in the Kaokoveld than in the Etosha Game Reserve.'

   We had parted ways in Cape Town; from there he had gone on to Windhoek, the Germanic-flavoured rustic capital of South West Africa, joined the State Museum and, in the company of ethnologist Dr J. S. Malan, made two expeditions to the Kaokoveld to study the ethnobotany of the region. This new scientific field involved classifying the native names of plants and how the indigeneous peoples made use of them. The Kaokoveld’s pristine spaces presented a rare opportunity to establish the cultural significance plants had as ancient herbal remedies, traditional handicrafts and food, before the old order inevitably weakened and gave way to the new. Until then its remoteness, and the natural conservatism of the tribespeople, had restricted the diffusion of technological man’s influence to the fringes of the white settlements at Ohopoho and Orumana. Then almost overnight political tinkering brought into place changes of momentous significance.[70]

The Waterberg Plateau Park is proclaimed (under Proc. 19 of 1968) and established as ‘a safe location for the introduction and breeding of rare species such as sable antelope, eland and disease-free buffalo’[71].

The |Gaiodama Max !Gâgu Dax / !Auseb [see 1898] dies aged 105 and is buried at the Old Location, Rehoboth[72].


A UN Apartheid Convention is declared in this year (UN International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid)[73]. The Damara Raad meets secretly with SWAPO at Onverwag (ǂGoadi ||hoas), the village of Chief Abraham ǂKhîdoe Gariseb (originally from |Khomas) for a possible alliance, which later met regularly at the Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN) Building in Windhoek: the Damara Raad is reportedly one of the few entities inside Namibia that openly mobilised in support of SWAPO[74]. In around November of this year, the Apartheid Security Forces reportedly planned to ambush and assassinate ‖Garoeb with an AK47 assault riflesquad, creating a scene by spreading bullets and footprints of the SWAPO PLAN Fighters, to make it appear as if PLAN had killed ||Garoeb, so as to tarnish the threatening alliance between the Damara Raad and SWAPO: ||Garoeb altered his route at the last minute, thereby avoiding the ambush[75].

The Skeleton Coast Park is expanded from the Ugab-Hoanib Rivers to the Ugab-Kunene Rivers and equipment and buildings at Möwe Bay are given to Nature Conservation[76].

Etosha National Park is enclosed ‘by a 2.6 metre game-proof fence along most of its 850-kilometre boundary’, supplemented by ‘130 kilometres of elephant-proof cable fencing and, later, electric fences at strategic sections’[77] – ‘in response to government and white farmer demands that wildlife and livestock be separated and that Africans be disallowed grazing and hunting access’ – also reportedly halting migration routes of plains zebra and blue wildebeest[78]. Thus, [f]encing along the park’s western and northern boundaries’ is completed in this year[79].


Germishuis and Staal comment on the decrease of size and the fencing of Etosha:

[t]he annual migration had [hitherto] taken additional game to those parts of the Game Reserve which were also Native Reserves. Hunting in these areas had always helped, to a certain extent, to keep animal populations constant by eliminating some of the annual increase. With the fencing of the Reserve, the natural balance was still partly maintained due to the fact that the larger carnivores were now also confined to within the boundaries of the Park and, therefore, took a heavier tool of the resident population. Inevitably, however, the fencing-in led to an increase in human management. The phenomenon of ‘problem animals’ cropped up. Elephants would break through the fences to reach those parts of their natural haunts which had been made inaccessible to them. Some ungulates would use the gaps in the fences and carnivores would, in turn, follow the ungulates. Warthogs would burrow under the fences and jackals, wild dogs and hyenas would, in their turn, follow the warthogs. These animals became a nuisance for the neighbouring farmers….With migration routes cut off and large numbers of animals restricted in a relatively confined area, disease epidemics took on a new significance. Anthrax especially came to be regarded with dread.[80]

The State Museum in Windhoek undertakes a detailed investigation of the Brandberg[81].

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora [**?].



Exceptional rains[82].

Following the coup in Angola ‘UNITA rebels begin a campaign to raise funds’ increasing pressure on elephant and rhino for ivory and horn in southern Angola which extends into northern Kaokoveld, and the governing party in Angola (MPLA) simultaneously begin to sponsor SWAPO: leading to an SADF response of ‘issuing between 2000 and 3000 rifles and 200,000 rounds of ammunition to selected [Kaokoveld] residents to protect themselves against SWAPO rebels’
[83]. The implication is that the distribution of rifles combined with SADF hunting significantly increased impacts on indigenous fauna in the area[84].

The Etosha Ecological Institute is opened. De la Bat comments:

[r]esearch became increasingly important because Etosha had shrunk in size, game numbers had increased and with it game diseases. We were forced to  ‘farm’ with wildlife and management played an ever increasing role. I disliked seeing wild animals walking around in a park with coloured tags, collars and numbers, probably from the time an irate farmer phoned me and said: ’Your elephant no. 11 has just destroyed my windmill and you are going to pay!’. We now [1982] have methods to mark and distinguish between animals without disfiguring them.[85]

In April the administration appoints Professor Fritz Eloff ‘to prepare a master plan for the conservation, management and utilisation of nature reserves in Damaraland and Kaokoland’[86]. A Riemvasmaker community from Uppington in South Africa is moved to Bergsig area, now Torra Conservancy, under the ‘Homeland’ programme:

[w]ho will forget how the Riemvasmakers, simply because they were regarded as part of the Damara language group in the [v] early 1970’s, [were] brought with some of their belongings and dropped off in Damaraland? From there they were taken with busses or truccks and simply dropped off on land they had never seen before, between screaming elephants on the land in the area of Bergsig and Khorixas. Damara people of the areas received them and treat[ed] them like their own[87].

As Sullivan writes,

[f]orced removals certainly occurred, as was the case when in 1974 the entire community of Riemvasmakers were moved from Upington in South Africa where an army base was to be created. This movement, to some of the most marginal western farms in Damaraland, was justified on the basis of tenuous links between the Nama spoken by old people within the Riemvasmaker community and Damara in Namibia, which enabled them to be considered 'Damaras born outside South West Africa' and thus with a 'right' to 'citizenship' of Damaraland (Odendaal[20] Report 1964, p. 93; Rohde 1993, p. 19).[88]

Landowners with freehold title receive ‘limited custodial rights to manage and use “huntable” wildlife on their land[89].

Dr Eugene Joubert, Chief Professional Officer of the then Division of Nature Conservation and Tourism (SWA), publishes a paper on ‘The development of wildlife utilization’ in SWA, an early expression of contemporary commercial ‘sustainable use’ justifications[90]. He divides the ‘history of conservation’ in SWA into three ‘eras’: an active period during German occupation; a second period of stagnation lasting almost 40 years when although Ordinances were proclaimed, enforcement was minimal; and a third dynamic period which started in the early fifties’[91], constituting a ‘revival of the conservation concept’ associated with the 1947 appointment of Andries A. Pienaar as the first additional game warden (to the Secretary of State as the Game Warden for the territory)[92]. He discusses the present importance of ‘[t]he acquisition of land to form the various nature conservation areas, as well as their development’, and ‘various wildlife practices’ including ‘tourism, trophy hunting, game dealers and the trade in skins and hides’[93].

The SADF begins recruiting Khwe (West Caprivi) and !Xun (southern Angola) men, many of whom were refugees[94].


Through Nature Conservation Ordinance no. 4 of 1975 the MWCT updates and replaces Nature Conservation Ordinance 31 of 1967[95] and prohibits hunting and trapping in conservation areas, including Skeleton Coast National Park, reportedly causing cattle die-off for Himba pastoralists who had previously utilised the area as a grazing buffer during drought[96]. Conversely, prohibitions on hunting on freehold land are relaxed, permitting private game reserves to be established in freehold settler farming areas[97]. The Ordinance:  

“provide[s] a regulatory framework for the protection, conservation and rehabilitation of species and ecosystems, the sustainable use and sustainable management of indigenous biological resources, and the management of protected areas in order to conserve biodiversity and in order to contribute to national development”.[98] 

Through this ordinance, freehold

landowners could apply for recognition as an international “hunting farm,” which resulted in a great increase in the value of land with wildlife compared to agricultural land with [18] little or no wildlife. About 44% of the land in Namibia is private farms. The combination of these factors creates an environment in Namibia that is highly suitable for the development of trophy hunting on private farms.[99] 

With this Act, conservation in SWA now falls under its own Directorate – the Directorate of Parks and Wildlife – and ‘both the black and white rhinoceros were designated specially protected species’ under this Ordinance[100]. Black rhino in Kaokoland are estimated to have declined to only 30[101].

​​The Act also lists protected plant species under Schedule 9, for which permits are required for harvesting, possessing, transporting and exporting the plant, although difficult to police: listed species include Harpagophytum procumbens**.[102]

Extension of the Namib Game Reserve into the Namib-Naukluft Game Park with regulations formulated under the Dept. of Nature Conservation[103] without consultation with local ǂAonin[104], ruling hunting in the park illegal although the ǂAonin had an established traditional hunting season, restricting herding and all other activities to the river, and shifting official ownership of the land and its resources to the state[105].


The Damara Raad (Damara Council) supports an independent Namibian vision and henceforth is one of the few traditional bodies that refused to attend the Turnhalle Constitutional Conference of 1975-1977[106]. The Turnhalle Conference developed a governance framework known as the Transitional National Government of Unity (TNGU) or Interim Government for South African controlled South West Africa, from 1977 to 1989, forming the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance on the 5th November 1977 with Mr. Clemence Kapuuo as its first President[107].


The UN Convention on Apartheid [see 1973] is adopted on 18 July by the UN General Assembly, recognising Apartheid as a crime against humanity[108].

SWAPO is recognized by the UN as “the sole and authentic representative of the Namibian people” (resolution 31/146)[109].

With the passing of Gaob Dawid Goreseb in this year, Justus ||Garoeb is appointed Chairperson of the Damara Raad (Damara Council) and subsequently became the King or Paramount Leader of the ǂNūkhoen ||Aes (Damaran)[110].

In October 1976 a visit to Gomatsarab (just south of Ugab River, north-east of the Brandberg) provides information about Dama construction of conical clay pots, including acquisition of a bag-shaped vessel ‘with a pointed base and two solid, non-reinforced lugs’; ‘it had been made by our informant’s paternal grand-father who passed it on to his son who... gave it to him’, ‘his parents had used it for cooking meat and grass seeds’[111]. Informants indicate that vessels were fired ‘in a small oven constructed from stones’, were called |goasus (clay pot), and it was up to the maker whether and how they might be decorated[112].

A Damara / ǂNūkhoen man, Elias Xoagub, is granted permission by the Damara Traditional Authority to settle on land where Twyfelfontein Prehistoric Reserve is located – previously acquired in the 1940s as a farm by David Levin, who found a Dama living there[113]. Reportedly 2-3 visitors a year would come to view the rock art so Elias Xoagub started charging an entrance fee and was able to retain rights to this revenue through a legal loophole regarding national monuments on communal land[114].


The Democratic Turnhalle Alliance is formed on the 5th November 1977 with Mr. Clemence Kapuuo as its first President[115].

The Damara Gaob Festival is founded by Kai-Gaob Justus ǁGaroëb ‘in honour of his mentor Kai-Gaob Dawid Goreseb[116] and indeed in honour of all departed Damara Leaders who have previously served as Gaob of the Damara People and to celebrate’[117]. The South West Africa Constitution Amendment Act (Act no. 95 of 1977), published 13 June, makes provision for the appointment of an ‘administrator-general’ and for the administration of Walvis Bay to be returned to the South African Government[118].

In an apparently sharp decline from 1970, only 20 black rhino are ‘thought to still exist north of the Hoanib River’[119], and 250 elephant remain ‘with about 65 in the west’[120].


In these years of drought, ‘mountain zebra numbers in Kaokoveld decreased from 1199 to 193, oryx (Oryx gazella) from 1191 to 164, springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) from 4859 to 217, and plains zebra from 667 to 0. Livestock also died in staggering numbers, including as much 85 per cent of Kaokoveld cattle - tens of thousands’[121].

‘The perennial spring at Purros has meant survival for many of the local inhabitants who lost their cattle during the last drought and managed to survive by cultivating mielies and pumpkins’[122].


The Turnhalle Conference [see 1975-1977] developed a governance framework known as the Transitional National Government of Unity (TNGU) or Interim Government for South African controlled South West Africa, in effect from 1977 to 1989[123].


Elections (described as ‘inconclusive’[124]) in SWA/Namibia give ‘Second-Tier’ government status to established regional ethnic authorities, including the Damara Representative Authority based in Khorixas[125], and open up ‘the ethnic homelands to private travel’[126]. In international discussions regarding the independence of Namibia, Damara Chief Fritz |Hobahe Gariseb states unambiguously that the Damara People were/are against the Apartheid regime ‘and would not participate in elections unless the status of Walvisbay was fully discussed and clarified’[127]. Clemens Kapuuo, a Herero chief and President of the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance, is assassinated following the Turnhalle Constitutional Conference, with uncertainty claimed over whether or not his killers were aligned with SWAPO or the South African authorities[128].

A 10-year trophy hunting concession of 15,000km2 is leased by the Dept. of Bantu Administration [or by the Damara Regional Authority, under the second-tier government system[129]?] to German-Namibian Volker Grellman of ANVO Hunting Safaris, described in 2015 as ‘[o]ne of Namibia’s most famed hunters’ and listed as an advisor to Louisiana based pro-hunting organisation Conservation Force[130]. Grellman was granted land described as ‘still game-rich and largely unoccupied’ south of the Hoanib River (that for a while had been the western Etosha Game Park[131] - or at least the south-western wing of Game Reseve no. 2, following Ordinance 18 of 1958) that at the time was under the Damara Regional Authority of the second-tier government system[132]. Grellman/ANVO’s annual quota is for ‘two trophy elephants north of the “Red Line”’ plus ‘problem elephants as they occurred anywhere in Damaraland’ as well as ‘common game’[133], and he creates a hunting camp at Palmwag from where his hunting safaris are land - now the site of Palmwag Lodge.

Until this year a permit is required for outsiders to enter ‘Kaokoveld’[134].

Finnish missionary Terttu Heikinnen of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission in northern Namibia (based at Mpungu) publishes !Ai ǂHôa-e kaba Khomaiaon ai, biblical texts written in ǂĀkhoe Khoekhoegowab with the assistance of Thomas ǁGamǁkhaeb[135].    


A total of 18 bull elephants are shot by ANVO hunting safaris, mainly south of red line[136]. By 1980 armed struggle ‘had spread to Kaokoveld’ thus limiting tourism travel with only one operator – Mr Magura of Bambatsi Guest Farm near Khorixas, going through the western area as far as the Marienfluss[137].


Theofilus ǁHawaxab takes over as Sesfontein leader after the death of his brother Simon Petrus ǁHawaxab[138].


Germishuis and Staal write with regard to Etosha and nature conservation in the north west:

[i]t is now envisaged that a new game reserve will be proclaimed in the forseeable future and that this reserve will include large parts of Damaraland and Kaokoland as well as a part of the Skeleton Coast Park and the Etosha National Park. Bigger in size than the Wood Buffalo Park in Alberta, Canada, which is currently considered to the trhe largest National Park in the world, this new reserve will cover an area of approximately seventy-two thousand square kilometres, only fice thousand square kilometres less than the original Game Reserve 2.[139]

They also report of two “controversial topics”: the erection of electric power lines across and the possibility of a water canal through the Park.[140]


Severe drought decimates wildlife and livestock in north-west Namibia and makes indigenous fauna ‘vulnerable to subsistence hunting by the now impoverished Herero and Damara inhabitants in the region’ (exacerbated due to ‘the army’s issue of .303 rifles to several thousand Kaokoland men’[141] [see 1974]), as well as to ‘[h]unting by government officials, the SADF and other non-residents’[142], whilst larger predators increased during this time[143]. Reardon quotes Owen-Smith’s NWT reports for this period:

The populations of all large indigenous mammal species have decreased dramatically in recent years. The reasons for these population crashes can be summarised simply as illegal hunting and drought. In the cases of mountain zebra, gemsbok, kudu and springbok the major cause of their decline was undoubtedly the 1979-81 drought (in effect, the worst ever recorded). Hunting probably also played a significant role for, as the game was forced to move into more inhabited areas, many would have been killed by the stock owners, the majority of whom now own modern rifles.

   Elephant, rhino and giraffe were relatively unaffected by the drought. In fact rhino calves were born when conditions were almost at their driest, and survived. It must be concluded therefore that the declines in their populations - which started well before the dry cycle began are due almost entirely to illegal hunting. This is confirmed by the fact that 106 out of 127 known elephant carcasses and over 30 known rhino carcasses showed obvious signs of having been poached.

   Since 1970 elephant and rhino have been almost exterminated in Kaokoland. In Damaraland all rhino have been exterminated in the east while only a small population survives in the west. Poaching has also taken a considerable toll of Damaraland’s elephants.

   To try and identify all of the individuals responsible for the extermination would serve little purpose at this stage. Many of the main culprits are known, although none was ever seriously brought to justice, and some hold high political office today. Suffice to say that what was started and licensed by a few greedy and self-centred whites, has been carried on by no less mercenary black residents. Today these individuals and gangs are the most serious threat to the small pockets of big game that survive. The desperate situation with regard to illegal hunting dictates that the control of that activity receive the highest priority.[144]

Garth Owen-Smith reports that ‘Herero from Sesfontein and Warmquelle sought grazing for their livestock as far south as the Aub and Barab Rivers in the Uniab catchment’, ‘[w]hen the drought broke in 1982’[145] - although it is very clear that Damata / ǂNūkhoen families were also involved in this movement, for example the |Awise and Ganuse families from Sesfontein to !Nao-dais[146]. As an NWT employee Owen-Smith works with ‘the local Herero traditional leaders to support a plan to keep the area south of the Hoanib-Uniab watershed for the exclusive use of wildlife and tourism in the future’[147], even though it was not only Herero who herded and lived here. In Kaokoland, Himba lose more than 130,000 head of cattle (80% of large stock), and the drought becomes known as ‘the time when the people had to eat their leather garments’, also a time when SWAPO opens a western front into Kaokoveld[148]. In the final year of the drought, many Himba sought refuge at emergency feeding camps on the outskirts of Opuwo, leaving when the drought broke in 1982[149].

De la Bat reports for Etosha: “The drought of 1980/81 created a serious situation especially in the west where practically no rains had fallen. Emergency measures were necessary to safeguard the existence of rhino, roan, implace and mountain zebra. In the biggest single fame capturing operation every launched in southern Africa 1500 Burchell’s zebra were caught and solt to farmers. In addition hundreds of gemsbok, kudu and springbok were shot and delivered to a meat canning factory in Owambo. This operation was barely compelted when black faremrs cut th e fences and moved into the park with their cattle. It too the persuasive powers of the chairman of the Minister’s Council to get them out again.”[150]

In the S.W.A. Annual 1980, it is reported that: “In the past 25 years wildebeest numbers have decreased from roughly 30000 to the alarmingly low figure of 2000. The killer disease anthrax, the cutting off of wildebeest migratory movements by gameproof fencing and the heavy toll taken by predators are all contributary factors. On the other hand there has been a steady and rapid increase of both springbok and zebra while the 3000 gemsbok have remained more or less contant. The number of predators in Etosha is abnormally high. There are 350 to 400 lion, about 100 cheetah and unknown numbers of brown and spotted hyena. At present there are an approximate 2300 elephants in the park and in the near future Etosha might well be faced with an elephant population that it is unable to sustain. Giraffe in Etosha number about 800.”[151]


In this year the Damara Raad boycotts the appointment of the Damaraland Representative Leadership by the Central Government of DTA and opts for elections[152]. Elections are held, which the Damara Raad under the leadership of ǁGaroeb wins against DTA / SWAPDUF (South West African People'S Democratic United Front), with majority votes (in both the first and the re-runned elections in 1982), to become the only Second Tier Administration elected by the people[153]. Gaob ǁGaroeb becomes the Chairperson of the Damara Representative Authority and also leads portfolios of finance, forestry and environment[154].

Conservation functions in the ‘traditional areas’, i.e. ‘homelands’, including areas in East Caprivi, Kavango, Bushmanland, Owambo, Damaraland, Kaokoland, Rehoboth, Namaland and Hereroland, are ‘placed under the jurisdiction of the Directorate Nature [Wildlife?] Conservation and Tourism[155]. The second tier governments are established through the Representative Authority Proclamation with various subsequent proclamations establishing representative authorities for 11 population groups[156], such that in July of this year ‘the system was changed to one of separate governments on the basis of ethnicity only, and not geography’[157]. By this year ‘only 9000 zebra and 3000 wildebeest remained’ in Etosha, due to ‘a rise in the incidence of anthrax within the park and a growing population of predators that feasted upon sick and dying game’, exacerbated by the post-Odendaal fences[158].

By 1980 armed struggle ‘had spread to Kaokoveld’ thus limiting tourism travel with only one operator - Mr Magura of Bambatsi Guest farm near Khorixas, going through the western area as far as the Marienfluss[159].

Mitch Reardon and Garth Owen-Smith meet again in Etosha:

Garth was silent on the subject of Kaokoland and I, full of the wonders of Etosha, could talk of little else. If I had given it any thought at all I might have imagined the Kaokoveld to have been merely a phase that he had by now passed through. In fact, Garth’s silence masked a sense of loss, of anger and pain at the destruction of wildlife, the abuse and neglect that had ravaged Kaokoland during the intervening years. He keenly felt personal failure in that he had not been there fighting to prevent it. What he knew had made him silent, his emotions too inflamed to articulate.[160]

Archaeologist John Kinahan begins research on the Central Namib pastoral sequence[161].

Kuno Budack (who was or had been an anthropological adviser for native policy, as Oswin Köhler too) compiled a series about the peoples of South West Africa (“Die Völker Süd-West Afrikas”) for the German-Namibian newspaper “Allgemeine Zeitung” at the beginning of the 1980s. More than 30 issues dealt with Bushmen. The label “Bushmen” came to be perceived as increasingly problematic in academic circles and was partly substituted by the name “San”, Budack writes,

[t]he people we call 'Bushmen' do not see themselves in this broad context and therefore do not have a collective name for themselves. In recent years, the term 'San' has been increasingly used in international scientific literature to avoid the derogatory name 'Bushmen'. Apart from its concise brevity, a certain advantage is that the name does not need to be translated into different languages, as was previously the case (Buschleute, Bushmen, Boesmans, Bochimanes).[162] 

Budack includes Haiǁom in the category of “Nama-San” in his division of Bushmen groups, a label he used synonymously for San groups speaking a central-Khoisan language. Referring to Lebzelter, he presented a subdivision of the Haiǁom in Xwaga, Keren and the Haiǁom of the Etosha pan. He estimated around 11,000 Haiǁom staying in the territory (around 1980), thus constituting the second biggest Bushmen group in Namibia. In this article, targeting a German-Namibian public, Budack tried to raise awareness for the problems of the Haiǁom which he saw above all in their landlessness:

[t]heir biggest problem, however, is that they do not have their own land area. Both in the Ovamboland, as well as in the Etosha Park (where I found 185 sharks in Okaukuejo and Namutoni in October 1966) and on the farms, they live in dependence. They also have no political representation. The 'Bushman representatives' of Tsumkwe are almost completely unknown to them. One can only hope that a commission of experts will soon be convened to investigate these and other problems of the Hai-ǁomn in depth.[163]


Cattle numbers in Kaokoland fall from 110,580 in 1980 to 16,000 in 1982, a loss of 85.5% and small stock fall from 163,478 to 112,000 (31.5%)[164].


Research on elephants of Damaraland and Kaokoland by Philip (Slang) Viljoen finds three distinct sub-populations:

[t]hose living permanently in the west (the so-called desert elephants), those that migrated to and from the Etosha NP, and an intermediate group, which moved between the two areas[165].

He finds ‘over 120 carcasses, 85% of which showed clear signs of having been poached’ and NWT staff find ‘a further 24 elephant carcasses, most of which had been shot’, with only one small elephant calf observed in the Palmwag concession area prior to 1984[166]:

​​[t]he person best acquainted with Namibia's desert elephants is P.J. Viljoen, nicknamed Slang, who set out to study systematically their social organisation, behaviour and ecology. Working under gruellingly exacting conditions he made continuous observations over a period of five years during which he travelled 150,000 kilometres by vehicle, spent 350 hours conducting aerial surveys and stepped out uncounted kilometres on foot. As his study progressed he was able to plot the desert elephants’ movements; how they related and interacted with each other and their environment; and their population dynamics based on reproductive rates, mortality and other factors – an aspect that was dominated by the scourge of poaching. What emerged from his systematic scientific observations in many ways contradicted popular theories and beliefs, but they present a much more realistic portrayal of the mysterious desert elephant. … he was able to conclude without a doubt that his study group was permanently resident in the desert. Movement patterns were largely influenced by climatic factors that in turn determined the quality and quantity of available food and water. During the dry season the elephants mostly concentrated in the river courses feeding on leaves, bark, twigs and acacia pods, but with the onset of the wet season they dispersed into the adjacent plains in order to harvest the fresh green grass that was sprouting.[167]


Control over nature conservation is transferred from Pretoria’s Dept. of BAD to the Directorate of Nature Conservation (DNC) in Windhoek, and the late Chris Eyre is appointed Senior Nature Conservation Officer (SNCO) in Khorixas[168] for Damaraland [with responsibilities extending into Kaokoland?[169]], located in Khorixas with one field assistant, the late Lucas Mbomboro (d. 2020)[170]. Eyre is supported by the Damara Representative Authority (DRA) to stop the granting of hunting permits for high-level government officials to hunt in the north-west ‘homelands’[171], where ‘gangs of commercial hunters’ had moved into the ANVO hunting concession (i.e. Palmwag) where ‘the largest populations of big game still survived’[172], and obtains a temporary moratorium on the shooting of problem elephants by ANVO[173]. Local DNC officials at the time were Chris Eyre, Marcellus Loots and Rudi Loutit[174], amidst a general attitude of unconcern in government regarding declining wildlife in Kaokoveld. The IUCN/SSC Elephant and Rhino Group recognises in a meeting of this year the importance of the ‘remnant desert populations’ of rhino and elephant, expresses ‘concern over their plight’, and decides that it is ’of the utmost priority to approach the authorities in Namibia with a view to bringing about a change in policy and securing the safety of the animals’[175].

Garth Owen-Smith writes,

 [b]y 1981, when control over nature conservation was transferred to Windhoek, the armed liberation struggle of the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) had spread to Kaokoland, and the whole northwest was also in the grip of the worst drought in living memory. By then De la Bat had been promoted to a higher post within the country's administration and the new acting director, Polla Swart, did not appear to regard the declining wildlife numbers in the Kaokoveld as a priority. Stoffel Rocher, the Chief Nature Conservator, was even less concerned about what was happening there, and asked why I was so worried about the game in 'Kaffirland’, which to him was just 'dust and stones'.  

That might be the way he and his colleagues saw it, but I had known the Kaokoveld before the poaching and drought had decimated its wildlife - when humans and elephants shared the same waterholes and herds of springbok and zebra grazed side by side with cattle goats and sheep. At that time I believed the region's spectacular scenery and desert-adapted big game could in future make it one of Southern Africa's major tourist attractions. …[176] 

SWAPO liberation struggle and severe drought impact on the north-west. General attitude of unconcern in government regarding declining wildlife in Kaokoveld. The census for ‘Kaokoland’ records 15,570 people[177].

In this year, and indicating that the Odendaal Commission’s plan was only partially implemented, ‘of a total Damara population of 76,000 most were living in Katatura or working elsewhere as labourers, and only an estimated 24,000 were living within Damaraland’[178].

A report into farming in the Outjo district states that 35% of farmers have implemented a “good” system of grazing management,  30% a “reasonable” one while 35% had a “poor” system in place. It also concedes that farmers underestimate the frequency of periodic droughts, depend too much on average rain fall figures and therefore, overestimated the carrying capacity and therefore overstock their farms.[179]

By the 1980s, it was admitted that measures to promote conservation farming had failed, also due to the fact that commercial farming was rendered uncompetitive (through tax breaks, subsidies, distorted property rights, price controls).[180] Some argued that the failure to follow conservation guidelines was also based in Afrikaner culture, the idea of trekking and taming the wild, “conservation” was rather understood as a prohibition of use than as sustainable utilization. Until the 1960s, white farmers were allowed to use emergency grazing, and their system of trekking resembled in many aspects the traditional nomadic pastoral systems.[181]

Early 1980s

At the beginning of this decade ‘all wildlife in Namibia became state property, thereby transforming traditional hunting to the status of poaching overnight’ and causing widespread experiences of alienation from wildlife[182].

An agreement is made [between whom?] with the traditional leaders in Sesfontein, Warmquelle and Khowarib that they would voluntarily give up the grazing areas in the Palmwag (550 000 ha) and Etendeka concession areas, and it is this that ‘has enabled these concessions to become the very valuable tourist attractions and national assets that they are today’[183]. Local people receive nothing from this for the first 17 years of establishment of Palmwag as a premier tourism destination.


Arguing that the Nature Conservation Ordinance of 1967 applied to all SWA including Native Areas, the Dept. of Nature Conservation works hard ‘to secure game conservation agreements’ with resistant new homeland ‘Bantu Authorities’ in a context of increased poaching in Damaraland and reluctance by the Dept. of Bantu Administration ‘to implement conservation arrangements’[184].


Leader of the Damara Council, ‘veteran chief’ Justus ǁGaroëb, becomes paramount chief[185], in re-run elections, winning against DTA / SWAPDUF[186].

Reardon writes,

[b]y early 1982, … wildlife populations in Kaokoland and Damaraland had reached critically low levels. An aerial census conducted in the two territories by the Namibia Wildlife Trust indicated that only about 340 elephants remained in total, of which seventy were resident in the west. Rhino had disappeared altogether in the east and the western desert population had decreased to approximately fifty animals. Of these probably no more than five still existed throughout the whole of Kaokoland. In just twelve bloody years poachers had destroyed 97 percent of those immense, strange creatures whose ancestors had browsed that ancient land for sixty million years.[187]

With the support of the Damara Representative Authority (DRA), The Peoples’ Trust for Endangered Species and the Wildlife Society of South West Africa, and financial resources committed by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (South Africa) under the leadership of Clive Walker, the NGO Namibia Wildlife Trust is formed early in the year by Blythe Loutit, Ina Britz and concerned conservationists (incl. Pat Craven), to assist nature conservation authorities in reducing poaching in the north-west[188]. The NWT is set up ‘mainly in response to the slaughter by poachers of the elephants and rhinos of the desert in the northern part of the country’, ‘by conservationists concerned about the slaughter by poachers of large [216] mammals in Kaokoland and Damaraland’[189]. Garth Owen-Smith resigns as a senior nature conservator in Etosha to direct the NWT’s field operations from NWT’s field base at the farm Wereldsend, a ‘former mining prospecting camp’[190], south of the vet fence on the Torra Bay road, working between 1982-1984 with Peter Erb, Elias Hambo, Bennie Roman, Johan le Roux and Sakeus Kasaona[191]. As Reardon later writes, the NWT was formed ‘by a group of conservationists alarmed by the wilful slaughter of game species in Namibia’ who, ‘as a first step’,

had worked out a programme of protection for the large mammals of the desert regions, in particular the elephants, rhinos, giraffe and mountain zebra occuring outside proclaimed game reserves in the Kaokoland and Damaraland tribal areas. As Senior Field Officer, Garth was responsible for determining the status and distribution of the endangered species and for spearheading an anti-poaching campaign.[192]

As Hearn later writes:

[t]he field operations of the Endangered Wildlife Trust and the Namibian Wildlife Trust started the first extensive monitoring programme at this time. Data collection was led by Blythe Loutit south of the Ugab River and by Garth Owen-Smith and Duncan Gilchrist north of the Springbok river and into Kaokoland. Data was collated into the first identikit files by Ruth Gilchrist. Local involvement in the monitoring programme followed with the initiation of the community game guard scheme and by the mid-eighties specific rhino monitoring patrols, made up of community members, led by teams from Save the Rhino Trust (SRT).[193]


Owen-Smith reports the NWT’s objectives as:

1 . To create an awareness of the need for good conservation among all residents of Kaokoland and Damaraland.

2. To train suitable inhabitants of Kaokoland and Damaraland in conservation so that in the future they might play an active professional role in the conservation of the region.

3. To assist the local government conservation officers in controlling illegal hunting in the region.

4. To promote a better understanding of the ecology of this unique region.[194]


Thus, Garth Owen-Smith returns to the north-west ‘on behalf of a local NGO called Namibia Wildlife Trust’ securing ‘the cooperation of headmen, who reportedly were also concerned about the situation [of wildlife decline], and established local wildlife protection schemes, notably a “community game [42] guard” system’ which ‘[t]he apartheid government and orthodox conservationists viewed … as eccentric and subversive at the time’[195].


In this year, the issuing of all hunting permits is also banned in Damaraland and Kaokoland, and Eyre succeeds in introducing a moratorium on trophy hunting of elephants by ANVO[196]. Predators that had increased during the 1980-82 drought begin killing livestock, apparently due to dispersal of ungulates to desert areas following rains: 

In the early stages of the great die-off of herbivores that resulted from the drought, lions and other predators benefitted from the abundance of carcasses. ln the desert’s fiercely contested struggle for survival, lion cub mortality ranges as high as seventy percent but with food freely available attrition by starvation, that harsh population regulator, hardly applied. Initially carnivores increased in direct proportion to the reduction in the numbers of prey species until inevitably a point was reached where the meat provided by drought victims was used up. In the aftermath there were far too few zebra and antelope left to support the burgeoning lion population and they were forced to concentrate on domestic stock. In one notorious instance an old male even turned to man-eating as a last resort.

   [33] At the time of the lion’s raid on Wêreldsend the [CDM] prospector and his wife were still living in the camp. On the night in question they had elected to sleep outdoors to take advantage of the evening breezes. They were fast asleep when the lion sprang across the corner of their bed at the bull terrier lying next to them and seized it by the head. Garth [Owen-Smith] was awakened by the squeals of the dog and the womans hysterical yells. He understood from her that there were lions in the camp but had no idea how many. Although only one had made the attack there were in fact another six lying up in the sedge nearby but at no time did they play any part in the drama. … [the lion was shot by the prospector][197]

A small child is tragically killed by a lion in Sesfontein[198]: the lion enters the house of Nathan ǂÛina Taurob, in the confusion his wife snatches away what she thinks is the child, realising only later that what she has in her hands is a bundle of bed clothes, and Nathan attempts to pull the lion off by grabbing its ears from behind, but is too late to save the child[199]. This incident is related by Reardon as follows:

Near the northern Damaraland village of Sesfontein an emaciated old lion, stunted malnutrition, its teeth worn blunt with age,attempted in the dark hours of one morning to enter a goat enclosure but was too weak to scale the mopane-log stockade. Wondering at the commotion, the Damara herdsman, himself an old-timer of more than sixty years, came over to investigate and actually saw the lion lying next to the kraal but mistook it for a dog. Giving the matter no further thought he returned to his thatch shelter, never realising that the animal following not far behind was in fact a lion. He suspected nothing until the lion came through the door of the hut and took his wife’s arm in its mouth. In that moment of terror and confusion, his head filled with his wife’s despairing shrieks, the old man showed remarkable courage and presence of mind. He cast about for his knobkierie but was unable to find it so he picked up a rock struck the lion in the face with that. The lion immediately let go of his wife and turned on him but it was so enfeebled by starvation that the man managed to pull free. He screamed to his wife to flee with their two year old [grand-]daughter while he held off the lion, which had reared on its hind legs, by grabbing hold of its mane with both fists. In the dark confines of the hut the old man succeeded in wrestling the lion to one side and made his escape. Bloodied but still functioning rationally he staggered to a nearby army camp where he raised the alarm. The soldiers hurried to the scene and shot the lion as it crouched above a small inert form. Then the old man saw why the lion had not come after him. In her panic his wife had left their child behind; the girl’s remains lay beneath crumpled beast's paws, her head, an arm and a shoulder already devoured.
  Tragic as the death of the little girl was, the calamity would have included her parents well had the lion not been so debilitated.

Reardon writes further that,

[i]n another incident during the famine a [34] herdsman that came upon a lion feeding off a goat, attacked and killed it with a rock. Most of the lions that did not die of starvation were eventually shot by professional hunters or caught in gin-traps, with jagged teeth that spring together, by Damanland’s farmers, the only course that remained open once their maraudings assumed plague proportions. In all, no less than 76 lions, 33 cheetahs and seven leopards were wiped out in Damaraland alone. There was no choice; hunger had made the lions desperate and bold. They lost their natural fear of humans and with their depredations introduced a reign of terror to the land. It would be unreasonable and unrealistic to expect subsistence stockfarmers to suffer what were, for them, often catastrophic losses, usually without hope of compensation, and not demand the death of the killers.

   At the height of the lion problem, Garth visited one family who, having first lost half of their flock to the drought, a few nights before had a pride of 14 lions break into their stock-enclosure and ina frenzy of killing account for 96 sheep and 17 goats, fully half of all the animals the family still possessed.

   The impoverished farmer was in a towering rage. ‘First God buggers me around,’ fumed the normally religious man in an outburst of heresy, ‘then the conservation people also bugger me around. I farm in a zoo; my goats are now in the garage where my car should be, elephants rub up against my house at night and the rangers only pretend to shoot the lions. My wife is terrified by the whole business and insists that we leave.

   A few nights later lions again prowled around the homestead, grunting their frustration when unable to reach what remained of the flock. This time the farmer managed to scare them off with shots from a borrowed .303. But it was the last straw; his wife’s pleas prevailed and they abandoned their farm and left the district.[201]

A three-week air census in July, sponsored by the NWT[202],  establishes a total of about 300 elephants in the north-west region of which, fewer than 70 lived in the west[203]:

  • six cows along the lower Kunene;
  • 18 cows, six sub-adults and six bulls in the lower Hoanib-Hoaruseb area;
  • five animals in ‘south-east Kaokoland’ on the Ombonde River;
  • 30-36 in ‘western Damaland’.[204]

Rhinos in ‘Kaokoland and Damaraland’ are estimated at approximately 60 animals[205].

Owen-Smith records that ‘by the end of the year a total of 76 lion, 33 cheetah and 9 leopards were reported as having been killed in the region’[206][see above], with only one small pride surviving in the western concession area [that became Palmwag], a second group in the Skeleton Coast Park moving periodically up the Hoanib River, two prides in the eastern concession area [that became Etendeka] and lions often entering Hobatere from Etosha.


Late in the year the two later founders of IRDNC meet when Margie Jacobsohn is introduced to Garth Owen-Smith by ‘Blythe Loutit, who had just founded Save the Rhino Trust, [who] took me to his camp, Wereldsend’, [7] from where ‘he was about to start his ground-breaking community game guard network – the first practical implementation of community-based conservation in southern Africa’,

From our first meaningful conversation, I realised Garth had some of the answers I was seeking: conservation could be and should be relevant to Africans. If wildlife was valuable to people they would look after it. Instead, they were alienated from it by colonial conservation laws which gave ownership of wildlife to the state.

   Most African countries did not bother to change conservation legislation after independence and the low budgets and lack of interest developing African states afforded their conservation departments said it all. Conservation (back in the 1980s) was a white man's game, and wildlife, even though it was one of Africa's most valuable resources, was less important than people's domestic stock and crops.

   'But this can be changed,' Garth insisted. 'Here we've taken the first step - directly involving local people and their leadership in practising conservation. If you want people to be accountable, they must have real responsibility. The leaders chose their community game guards – not us – and these men are answerable to their leadership. We raise the money to pay them and work closely with the leaders and the game guards. It's changing local people's attitudes.' …

   [8] Garth's vision was for black farmers on the 40 per cent of Namibia which is communal land to get the same rights over their game – without fencing – but he was regarded as lunatic fringe by most white conservationists who were sure wildlife would be wiped out by meat-hungry communal area dwellers. They pointed to the widespread poaching of virtually all species, including black rhino and desert elephant, that was decimating the Kaokoveld’s once-abundant wildlife right there and then in the early 1980s. White government officials and some individuals from the South African Defence Force (SADF) were involved but there was no doubt most of the illegal hunting was now being done by local men. It was obvious black people just saw wild animals as meat.

   ‘That's just not my experience,’ Garth told me. ‘There are headmen and local people up north who care as much as I do about wild animals – they’re sorry to see the game is being killed but didn’t know how they could stop the killing. The game guard network has given them a role. And meant some small benefit to the headmen who can offer a few local jobs and to the men and their families who receive a small amount of cash and a more generous monthly food ration.’[207]

There are around 4-500 lions in Etosha, and according to Hu Berry the number is too high although De la Bat is ‘not in favour for culling the lions because it is not a long-term solution. Research is now being conducted to curb the lion population by putting a number of lionesses on The Pill.’[208] De la Bat also reports that he had only seen the pan completely full twice since 1953 and the eland population had declined in Etosha over the years due to the foot-and-mouth disease fences erected outside the park by veterinary authorities.[209] By now there are more than 300 black rhino and a thousand black faced impala in Etosha.[210] With regard to the future of Etosha, de la Bat comments:

[t]here is room for one more rest-camp at Otjovasandu. The infrastructure already exists. A link-up with the wilderness areas of Damaraland, Kaokoland and the Skeleton Coast Park is a logical idea. Such a step will also double the tourist potential of the park. There is more than enough game in Etosha to restock the adjacent areas and other parks in the north. It is better to translocate game timeously than to cull it in times of drought. No government, present or future, can afford to ignore the valuable renewable natural resource we have in Etosha for economic, educational, scientific and aesthetic reasons…. A national park like Etosha is comparable to a good wine. It matures well and increases in value and quality provided it is preserved with appreciation and care.[211]

De la Bat also reports that by 1982 a border fence dividing Andoni Plains from Etosha Pan had in part contributed to the decline of a wildebeest migration that previously moved between the pan and southern Angola[212].

Exceptional rains ‘in northern Kaokoland and Damaraland’ causes ‘all the rivers in the [Skeleton Coast] park to break through to the sea, including the Hoanib – the first time it has reached the sea in 19 years[213]. Floods remove mature Faidherbia albida trees near Purros[214].

Marais, in his report Ondersoek na die boesmanbevolkningsgroep in S.W.A., published in 1984, describes “Hai-ǁomn” of the northern districts and “Khwé” of western Caprivi as subgroups of “Nama-San”. Referring to Budack, he provides the classification of “!Khũ-San” (in central-eastern areas, “Nama-San” (northern areas and Caprivi) and the “Kaap-San” (south-eastern areas). For “Hai-ǁomn” he presents “Xwaga”, “Keren”, and “Hai-ǁomn of Etosha and the northern districts” as subgroups.[215] Marais describes the Bushmen working on white farms to have a “relatively happy existence” as they get money, accommodation and food for their services.[216] Not surprising for the period and the background (report for the state), his analysis follows a clear “development paradigm”.

Under “problem areas”, he lists 26 issues, among those - in connection with Haiǁom - the following:

“The resettlement of other Bushman groups (such as the Hai-ǁomn and Vasekele) in Bushmanland, while clear cultural and linguistic differences between the groups are present.”

“The position of the Hai-ǁomn within their own traditional area where they still live and work today but own no land.”

“The relocation of the Hai-ǁomn from the western border area between ovambo and Etosha as well as from the Mangetti not only caused disruption among those involved, but also resulted in certain strategic disadvantages.”[217]

In the chapter on demographic and population distribution patterns, he writes for the Haiǁom:

[t]heir traditional hunting and living area where they still live today is in the white districts of Grootfontein, Tsumeb, Outjo and Otjiwarongo as well as parts of the Etosha Game Reserve and Owambo, especially in the Ngandjera tribal area. The Hai-ǁomn differ completely in body form from other groups such as the Zhu -/hoansi of Bushmanland. In addition, they are also darker in skin color. They also speak a distinctive Nama dialect that clearly differs from Nama in terms of vocabulary and certain idiomatic expressions…. The following subgroups were identified [not sure, who was the first to provide these subgroups]:

  1. Xwaga, in Kwanyama and Ndonga tribal areas in Central Ovamboland;
  2. Keren, in west Ovambo, the western part of the Etosha game reserve and the Outjo district.”, differen subgroups with their own names ;
  3. “Hai-ǁomn from Etosha and the northern white areas, they call themselves Hai-ǁomn and inhabit traditionally the eastern and southern fringes of the game reserve, the districts of Grootfontein and Tsumeb until south of the Owambo-Omuramba and west of the Grootfontein-Rundu road. In the south and west, they life up ts the area of the farms Neitsas, Boston, Elandvlak, Driefontein, Otjiguinar, Sissekab, Soavis up to Homob South of the game reserve.” Different subgroups[218]

He provides a table with “Bushmen” numbers per districts, (in total 29441 “Bushmen”] among those:[219]

















For Mangetti, he talks about 161, at Pos 14 and Tsintsabis. For Etosha he reports 118 at Okaukuejo, 27 at Halali an 61 at the Lindequist gate. He also reports that 14,778 “Bushmen” or 50,2% live in the rural areas of the white farming areas. On many farms in the Tsumeb and Outjo districts (among others) live more than 50 “Bushmen”.[220] On 134 farms in the Tsumeb district, 447 farms in the Grootfontein district, 191 farms in the Outjo district and 81 farms in the Otjiwarongo-district are “Bushmen” living.[221]

He also reports:

[t]he investigation has so far not found any Bushmen who show interest in settling permanently in Bushmanland, except claims made by Mr Theophilus Soroseb of Otjowarongo [in footnote, his mother is Haiǁom and his father Ndonga, he went to school in Otjiwarongo and Khorixas] who according to himself represent the bulk of the Hai-ǁomn in the central-northern White districts. There is uncertainty about the number of people together with possible livestock numbers in question and could Mr. Soroseb himself does not provide accurate statistic.[222] 

Marais is skeptical with regard to a resettlement of Haiǁom in Bushmanland due to the cultural and linguistic differences between the groups and recommends:

[r]ather, the possibility of essential land ownership by the Hai-ǁomn within their own traditional area where they still live today should be looked at.[223]


Garth Owen-Smith works with Sakeus Kasaona [a former poacher & father of John Kasaona – ref?] with NWT at Wereldsend[224].


Owen-Smith writes of these years that,

the combined efforts of the DNC, traditional leaders and NGOs [plus CGGs] led to the conviction of over 80 people for illegal hunting in the northwest. More importantly, the great majority of the people living in and around the concession area were now very positive towards conservation and virtually no illegal hunting was taking place[225].


In March, a young female rhino is killed by poachers, leaving a four-month old calf which is found through a NWT patrol and taken into the care of the DNC[226]. DNC appoints first black game rangers in Damaraland, including Nahor Howaseb and Augustinus Ochams[227]. Eyre ‘drastically’ reduces ANVO’s overall trophy hunting quota[228].

Garth Owen-Smith, in his NWT role as Nature Conservation and Wildlife Officer, writes of the wildlife situation in Kaokoland that,

[t]oday, after a decade of uncontrolled slaughter and what was effectively the worst drought on record, the prognosis for big game in Kaokoland is not good. Nevertheless, the regions potential to be one of the game reserves and wilderness areas in Africa where the wildlife can be restored to its former splendour, makes it imperative that we try to save what is left. As the generation who allowed the destruction and degradation to take place, we owe it to future generations to accept the challenge.[229] 

Due to the inadequacies of government patrols, he advocates the deployment as ‘game guards’ of local residents consulting headmen in ‘Warmquella’ and ‘Otcjhavara’ that resulted in instigating ‘a community-based conservation program with three components:

a pledge made by the local leaders to ban all hunting of wildlife in Kaokoland; a community game guard project that enables the community to take an active role in the conservation of wildlife; and finally a development project, started several years after the Community Game Guard project, which serves to channel some of the economic benefits associated with wildlife conservation back into the hands of local people.[230] 

Discussions between the NWT and Herero headmen Keefas Muzuma, Joshua Kangombe, Goliat Kasaona and Vetamuna Tjambiru result in ‘the appointment of the first six community [auxiliary] game guards’, a non-militaristic[231] effort to assist with stopping illegal hunting, four of which ‘were resident in or near the concession area of Damaraland’ (i.e. the ANVO hunting concession area)[232]. At this stage the CGGs deliver a copy of their monthly report to their community headmen and one to the MET and 18-24 CGGs are patrolling at any one time[233]. Between 1982 and September 1984 14 poaching cases were suspected and 8 led to prosecutions through evidence provided by CGGs in connection with local communities, and cases of illegal poaching declined in subsequent years[234].  

Jacobsohn writes that ‘[t]he auxiliary game guard network, set up by ‘freelance conservator’ Garth Owen-Smith in 1983, ‘pioneered a new approach to nature conservation in Namibia by involving local communities in the conservation of their wildlife resources’, at a moment when ‘the conservation priority was to stop the wide-scale illegal hunting of elephant, rhino, giraffe, gemsbok, zebra and other species, which was being done by Himba, Herero, Damara and Europeans’[235]. To support local people against poachers at a time of drought, ‘a non-government organization, the Endangered Wildlife Trust [EWT], provided monthly rations … sufficient to provide a large extended family with its basic subsistence needs… and a small cash allowance for auxiliary game guards appointed by local community leaders’[236]. The auxiliary game guard network ‘played a pivotal role in ending the poaching crisis in both Kaokoland and adjoining Damaraland’[237].


The DNC starts negotiations with the Damara Executive Committee (DEC) of the DRA, led by Chief Justus ǁGaroëb (and including Simpson Tjongarero (Education) and Johannes Hendriks (Agriculture), and Volker Grellman of ANVO Safaris, ‘with regard to the re-proclaiming of the trophy hunting concession area in northern Damaraland’ with ‘an income sharing and joint management plan for the area’ also worked out[238].

ANVO Hunting Safaris advertises in the SWA Annual:

Source: scan SWA Annual 1983, p. 22. 


Somewhat contrary to this, however, and due to low animal numbers and reduced hunting quotas, ‘Grellman also agreed to give up his concession if he was paid out for its remaining five years, as well as for his hunting camp at Palmwag[239]. The DNC does not have the R63k needed for this buy-out, and they approach the then Southern African Nature Foundation (SANF)[240] for a grant which is agreed ‘on the condition that the DNC could guarantee that the area would be proclaimed’[241] (as a protected area? as part of Etosha again?). Assuming agreement from the DRA would be a ‘formality’, rather than realising the DRA needed to be negotiated with as a legitimate and independent authority with powers of decision over territory in the ‘homeland’, the SANF pays ANVO in mid-1983 (constituting a significant accumulation of finance at the time) and Dr Anton Rupert (founder of the SANF) announces on South African television that ‘the old (pre-1970) Etosha would soon be re-proclaimed’, followed by a similar announcement by DNC officials on SWA television[242]. The DEC are unimpressed at having this land pulled from underneath them, or at the promise by DNC of 25% of the gate revenues, which was a far cry from earlier promises of joint management of a concession area[243].

Amy Schoeman writes in this year that ‘[i]n latter years’ the Hoanib ‘has also become a survival area for lion which bears out the fact that the Hoanib plays its major role in the dry or “bad” years’, [16] and in the Hoarusib elephant ‘have dwindled from a resident herd of 17 to a single bull and three young cows’[244].

In the Ombuka area of north-west Namibia (near Swartsbooi Drift on the Kunene River) a Hikuminwe Kapika becomes supported and recognised by the South African administration as chief amidst contestation from competitors in his family [see also 2001][245].


Palmwag tourism concession established and local people ‘agree’ not to farm in 550 000 ha of land, but receive nothing from this for the first 17 years of establishment of Palmwag as a premier tourism destination[246].

Sesfontein is described as at this time having two ‘large and productive gardens’ with both complexes approx. 30 ha. and yields being one ton per ha. each of wheat and maize/corn, with both crops normally planted in a year[247].


The Damara Raad under Gaob ǁGaroeb’s leadership boycotts and campaigns against the Multi-party Conference (MPC) in these years, and against the ensuing Interim or Transitional Government of Unity in the then South West Africa[248].


The Lusaka Conference of 11-13 May 1984, participated in by the Damara Raad on the side of SWAPO, is held for talks between SWAPO, the Multi Party Conference (MPC) and the Administrator-General, focusing on about the peaceful achievement of the independence of South West Africa, the question of implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 435, and related matters[249].

Early in the year the Dept. of Nature Conservation announces that talks regarding the re-proclamation of ‘western Etosha’ had broken down and are asked in 1983 by SANF to return the money paid to Grellman[?][250]. UNIN reports that, 

[i]n 1984, in an effort to restock the "homelands” with wildlife and to control legal hunting, the Nature Conservation Directorate purchased the hunting concessions in Damaraland with the intention of restocking them with black rhino, Hartmann’s zebra, and giraffe taken from Etosha. If it were not for the South African policy of maintaining the "homeland” system,

the Nature Conservation Directorate would probably agree that there is a stronger argument for recreating a link between Skeleton Coast and Etosha where animals are free to move, rather than trying to maintain two separated populations.

   Tourism is so far having very little effect on the wildlife of Skeleton Coast because it is confined to fishing at Torra Bay and Terrace Bay. However, prospecting has caused aesthetic despoilation and may begin to affect wildlife.[251]

In this year the NWT’s efforts are reported internationally as ‘meeting with some success but must be sustained if the large mammals of this unique area are to survive’[252]. The ‘unique area’ here is described specifically as the ‘Northern Namib’, ‘stretching from the Ugab River in the south to the Kunene River in the north’:

[t]he desert is the habitat of large mammals such as elephant, giraffe, black rhinoceros, mountain zebra, cheetah and lion. In scientific terms, their adaptation make this desert one of the most interesting in the world. In economic terms, the tourist potential is unsurpassed-elephants crossing the dunes, giraffe on seemingly endless gravel plains without a tree in sight, rhinos climbing steep rocky mountainsides, and lions hunting seals on a barren beach[253].

The ‘Northern Namib’ showing the habitat of ‘desert elephant, rhino, giraffe and zebra’ and the ‘Namibia Wildlife Trust headquarters’ at Werelsend. Source: scan from Clements et al. 1984, p. 216.

The Trust is described as having,

begun a protection programme, particularly for elephant, black rhino and mountain zebra. The first priority is to protect elephant and black rhino in the desert east of Skeleton Coast Park. The Trust has provided anti-poaching units with four-wheel drive vehicles to co-operate with the Department of Nature Conservation in their patrols. At present there are two NWT staff doing this work [Garth Owen-Smith and Blythe Loutit?], too few to cover the vast area effectively, but with more funds the Trust would be able to employ a full team of field-workers. A small aircraft, owned and flown by Martin Bertens and [217] Hans Kriess, businessman from Swakopmund, is used to back up the ground patrol, the fueld being provided by Trust funds.[254] 

Within SWA, however, NWT’s field staff are ‘accused [by whom?] of “confusing the local people”, and its Board of Directors are ‘told to close the project down and leave conservation in Damaraland and Kaokoland to the DNC’[255]. NWT donors, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) are also ‘threatened that if they continue to fund NGO activities in the northwest, they would be prohibited from working in parks in both SWA and SA’[256]. [= conflicts and power struggles between ‘authoritarian government’ and ‘liberal NGOs’]. This period is described as a time when ‘this type of [community-based] conservation was regarded as lunatic fringe’[257].

Duncan Gilchrist is appointed as a game ranger stationed in Sesfontein, and Arno van Niekerk is appointed as nature conservation officer for Kaokoland


Former Administrator-General W. van Niekerk proposes to the Damara Authority ‘that a section of northern Damaraland, totaling about 1,2 million hectares, be proclaimed as a nature conservation area’ but that ‘the area would remain the property of the Damara people’ albeit ‘managed as a nature conservation area’[259]. The area in question had previously been part of Etosha (as the south-western portion of Game Resserve no. 2, following Ordinance 18 of 1958) and the idea was to reconnect it with Etosha. No ‘prior consultation with the affected inhabitants of the region had been undertaken’, however, and Justus ǁGaroëb as Chairman of the Executive Committee pointed out that ‘“the people would turn against them”’ [188] since the land was considered traditional land, and the proposal was abandoned[260].

Later summarised in the following terms:

[a]fter the creation of homelands, the Directorate of nature conservation, proposes the forming of the National park by extending the western boundaries of Etosha national park to Skeleton Coast Park, to Damara Representative Authority.
    [5] The Damara representative Authority expressed the fear of losing control over a renewable natural resource that would in the future benefit the inhabitants of the area.
    Consequently they ask the central Government to either provide replacement land, or agree to joint venture whereby they would share the revenue as equal partners.
    The negotiations could not produce desire[d] results for the Directorate of nature conservation, therefore they have requested the office of the Administrator General to mediate the negotiations, but in February 1984 the office of the Administrator General issue a press release stating that the Executive committee of the Damara Authority has turned down an offer by the Administrator General to develop 950 000ha of Damaraland as conservation area.
    After their request was turned down, the regime stated with false accusations and elderly people were arrested apparently they were conducting illegal hunt in the area where they were residing and sentence to imprisonment and other people were scared of this practice.

Joubert writes in this year that ‘there are approx. 300 black rhinos (conservative estimated) in the Etosha National Park’ but ‘[a]ccording to reliable information, only 46 black rhinos in South West Africa beyond the borders of Etosha’: thus whilst the total number has tripled since 1966, 85% of the population is within the boundaries of Etosha[262]. He publishes a map comparing the distribution of black rhino in 1966 and 1983, illustrating the shift of the population into Etosha National Park and the relative depopulation of the species in the north-west[263].

Source: scan from Joubert 1984, p. 14.

For Damaraland it is observed that,

the rhino population has been extensively investigated by the NWT and it has been found that numbers are healthy and viable breeding groups are present in secluded areas where it has become difficult for would-be poachers to gain access without being detected by NWT patrols. A complete ‘identikit’ for each rhino observed has been drawn up, which records all identification features plus good close-up photographs. Spoor (footprint) sizes are also recorded, which enable the NWT to identify which rhinos are using a particular waterhole. Elephants are also recorded and identified by photographs and family group size, but further equipment and staff are desperately needed.He publishes a map comparing the distribution of black rhino in 1966 and 1983, illustrating the shift of the population into Etosha National Park and the relative depopulation of the species in the north-west.  

   It is claimed that if the elephants and rhinos are exterminated from this desert it would prove almost impossible to replace them with animals from other places since the knowledge of the whereabouts of hidden waterholes, which are sometimes as much as 70 km apart, is passed on from generation to generation.[264]

At the end of the year NWT staff are given notice although the CGGs continue to be supplied with rations, purchased with EWT funds[265], with the ‘Damaraland and Kaokoland protection project … taken over by the Endangered Wildlife Trust of South Africa’ and Garth Owen-Smith remaining as ‘the Senior Field Officer in control’ and the Wildlife Society of South West Africa also assisting with fund-raising[266].  Chris Eyre, restationed in Keetmanshoop, is replaced by Marcellus Loot who seeks to maintain cooperation with headmen and the CGGs, but Hilmar van Alphen, his counterpart in Opuwo, undermines this approach and poaching increases with van Alphen himself is charged[267].

Tour operator Mr Magura drives over a landmine near the Kunene River with no one injured, ‘virtually stopping tourism north of Purros’ until cease-fire in 1989[268].


Margie Jacobsohn, later co-founder of Namibian NGO IRDNC focuses her postgraduate archaeology / anthropology research with Himba / Herero in north-western Namibia / Kaokoveld meeting ‘the Tjipomba’s, my first Ovahimba family’ and exploring,

north-western Namibia, skirting the war zones, with Blythe Loutit, founder of the Save the Rhino Trust, and later with Garth Owen-Smith who had lost his funding and therefore his job at the Namibia Wildlife Trust [see 1985][269].


This period is later described as follows:

During the mid-1980s, Owen-Smith began working with a white South African anthropologist, Margaret Jacobsohn, to establish a pilot community-based tourism project. This project aimed to counteract the negative effects or tourism experienced by Himba and Herero pastoralists (Jones 2005) and remove tensions over, and competition for, tourism benefits. Jones (2005: 99) writes that "The link that people made between the cash income from tourism and the wild animals of the area affected people's attitude towards wildlife, particularly dangerous species such as lions and elephants". The apparent success of these projects in involving rural people in conservation and in aiding the recovery of game numbers led Owen-Smith and Jacobsohn to create the NGO Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC).[270]

Mitch Reardon, a South African journalist who publishes The Besieged Desert in 1986 and who had previously worked in Etosha National Park becoming friends there with Garth Owen-Smith, makes radio contact with Owen-Smith at Wêreldsend,

his Damaraland base camp in north-western Namibia, where he worked as chief conservator for a privately funded organisation, the Namibia Wildlife Trust. There he patrolled the wildest, least developed and most thinly populated tracts of land on earth; a desert expanse larger than the Netherlands and a country with a remarkable story to tell. Garth’s invitation to visit had been a standing one and the thought of making the trip never far from my mind. …[17] [meeting at a Hillbrow restaurant Garth relates that… ] ‘The situation's pretty grim but by no means hopeless,’ … ‘It has literally been bloody murder for the game up there till now. What with wall-to-wall poaching and a five year drought, the herds have been decimated – but it’s not all bad news. The rains this year haven’t been brilliant but enough to get the grass growing again and we’ve started in on the poachers. Remember Chris Eyre from Otjovasandu in Etosha? Well, he’s Nature Conservation’s senior man in Damaraland now and he’s doing a great job. The enforcement of game laws has [18] taken on real meaning. We’ve nailed a few poachers and the rest are treading much more warily. And, very important, those we’ve caught have all been convicted and most have been given pretty stiff sentences which is very encouraging considering that until recently the courts, along with everybody else, regarded poaching as a national pastime rather than a crime. So attitudes are changing, not least of all among the general public. The local press has cottoned on to what’s been happening and they’re screaming their heads off. Now the South African media and conservation bodies have picked up the story so the limelight’s really on us. No-one in authority can afford to turn a blind eye to what’s going on any more, not like in the good old days. From now on they're going to be held accountable.’ … ‘Don't get me wrong,’ … ‘I’m not suggesting it’s all easy sailing for the future. Not by any means. We’ve got an enormous area to cover and we’re stretched very thin on the ground. But we’ve made a start, that’s the important thing. Now it’s up to us. It’s going to mean strict law enforcement, education, the raising of public awareness and a bloody lot of work. Oh, and fund raising; we never seem to have enough money to do even the minimal things needed to be done.’

… ‘You know, some people are saying that it’s already too late, that we’re fighting a lost cause. They’re calling for a rigid ordering of priorities, insisting that all conservation resources be poured into projects with the best chance of success, allowing the rest to go to the wall. They think of themselves as the new pragmatists and maybe they’re right, but the northern Namibian deserts aren’t necessarily doomed although it’s that kind of thinking that’ll finish them off. Look, I’m the first to admit that the game’s taken a terrible hammering but the point is, there are still viable breeding populations of all species, at least in Damaraland there are, anyway. Given the proper protection their numbers will bounce back and the overflow from these nuclei will move out and restock areas from which they’ve been extirpated. … And remember, in Damaraland we’re not just talking about any wild animals. These are desert elephants and rhinos, for God’s sake. The combination of those species and that environment is not found anywhere else in the world. You can't tell me that ecologically and aesthetically they aren’t a priority, that they’re not worth saving. What a waste, what a loss to science and the world if they’re allowed to pass from the scene at this stage, when it’s still within our power to do something about it.’

   [20] ‘Well,’ Garth said, ‘there you have it. I shouldn’t make so much of the elephants and rhinos, I suppose. Really, what we’re talking about here is an entire ecosystem, and if you care about the Himbas and I do, a whole way of life. But the big game are totems, high-visibility symbols if you like, something substantial that everybody can relate to and identify with. And bloody marvellous in their own right. Look around you people living cheek by jowl, and in a lot of the popular game parks it’s not much better, what with traffic congestion and littering.

   'When are we going to realise we cannot afford to ignore the importance of wild land? It’s a national resource and, given the increasing pressure of urban living, a recreational necessity. If man’s war against nature continues, we’ll end up in a blighted and decaying wasteland. The signs are all around us, yet we carryon the war in the face of all evidence that in so doing we are rendering our habitat uninhabitable.' … Since then, he has single-mindedly committed himself to championing the cause of conservation in the long-standing conflict between separate colliding worlds. And though the man himself may be addicted to the past, his ideas and proposals are unswervingly progressive. He strongly argues that to be successful goals must be reasonable; that what, from a conservation point of view, is desirable, is not always feasible. When the debate still raged red-hot, he became an early adherent to the hard-nosed school of thought advocating scientifically monitored culling [21] programmes where they became necessary. He supports recreational hunting as a legitimate utilization of a natural resource and has, in his time, done his own share of shooting for the pot. He recognises that the deaths of individual animals are irrelevant in the greater scheme of things; it is the silence and finality that accompanies the death of species and habitats that is so criminal.[271]


When Reardon arrives in Windhoek Owen-Smith is there,

to take delivery of a new Land Rover donated from the proceeds of a fund raising held at the Explorer’s Club in New York by the Foundation to Save African Endangered Wildlife.[272]

Of Khorixas, ‘the administrative capital of Damaraland’, Reardon writes,

Khorixas takes its name from the Damara word for the sprawling evergreen mustard trees, Salvadora persica, bordering the freshwater spring that had allowed permanent settlement. The species is virtually indestructible, a quality the Damaras hoped would apply to their seat of power. Prior to its elevation to capital status the village had been known as Welwitschia, after the weird Welwitschia mirabilis, the living fossil plant of the desert which reaches an age of up to 2000 years. Unlike its botanical namesakes however, the village itself is supremely unassuming.

   The dusty collection of buildings radiated the sunstruck lethargy typical of desert Africa’s frontier posts. Overhung by limp South African flags, the stern facades of the police station and magistrate’s court looked incongruous amongst the ramshackle grocery and bottlestores. The sign above a cubicle-sized office exhorted ‘Vote D. T.A.!’ while the adjoining office countered with ‘Stem Nasionaal!’ Presumably business was bad, for in neither of the agencies was there anyone to be seen. But the streets were full of life, a gentle ebb and flow of black-skinned, click-tongued Damaras, some in crisp official uniforms but most wearing raggedy town clothes and an occasional older woman in the ankle length, brightly patterned dress they have adopted with minor variations from the Hereros. They all lounged and gossiped with the easy fellowship of those who have little to do and all day to do it. The few cars that passed ruptured the ambience with their unseemly speed whereas the donkey-drawn carts were quaintly in keeping.

   ‘Chris Eyre’s new home,' Garth remarked somewhat dubiously. ‘Oddly enough, he likes it here. He’s out on patrol at the moment though, so let’s fuel up and push on, there’s still 150 kilometres to go.’

   The further west we drove the drier the country became. Trees petered out except along watercourses, with only irregularly spaced drought-resistant euphorbias adding [27] a touch of green to the grass-denuded rocky plains. Towering flat-topped basalt mesas and pointed spitzkop buttes thrust into a faultless blue sky that went on forever.[273]


Reardon repeats tropes regarding the mysterious identity of ‘the Damaras’:

Yet though science has managed to establish how the land was fashioned, the origins of the current inheritors of the land, the Damaras, remain open to question.

   Although they now accept the name Damara, it is one that is foreign to them and until recently they referred to themselves as ‘Nu-khoin’ or Black People, perhaps to differentiate between their race and the light complexioned ‘Awa-khoin’, the Red People, as they called the Nama Hottentots. The Namas gave the description ‘Dama’ to all the dark-skinned tribes of Namibia, calling the cattle-herding Hereros ‘Gomascadama’, the Cattle Dama, while for the Damara they reserved the derogatory epithet ‘Chou-dama’, the Dung Dama, because of their negligence in burying excrement in the vicinity of their villages. Early European explorers tended to use the Nama terms, but Dung Dama proved too indelicate for their Victorian sensibilities so they modified it to Bergdama, the Mountain Dama, in reference to the tribe’s retreat to the mountain fastnesses in the face of constant persecution from their Nama and Herero overlords. However, cultural influences have turned them into quite different people today and they have evolved into one of Namibia’s most influential tribes under the innocuous ‘Damara’ label.

   That so little is known of the genesis of the Damaras is not surprising in Namibia, where prehistory must be deduced from folk legends and rock paintings, and racial derivatives from physical characteristics and language roots. In the case of the Damaras the puzzle of their origins is given a further perplexing twist in that of all Namibia’s inhabitants they are striking because they have ebony-black skins yet they speak the distinctive ‘click’ language of the yellow-skinned Khoisan.

   Although today the Damaras do not possess a uniform physical type they have retained a homogenous core which suggests that they are a splinter group of protoNegroid aboriginals that emerged originally in the equatorial forest region of west central Africa, and came south as hunter-gatherers before the continent’s Iron Age flourished. Centuries later, with the arrival of Bantu pastoralists pushing down from the Great Lakes district, it seems likely that refugees from these tribes mingled with the Damaras and became fused into one race with them. The outcasts from the east and north introduced the technology of metal-working and thus an exclusive fellowship of Damaras, regarded as magicians by the Namas and Hereros whom they served, became the country’s first blacksmiths.

   The question that intrigues is, how did it come to pass that the Damara people, without exception, relinquished their own language in favour of such an alien tongue? Undoubtedly the Damaras are the region's earliest black inhabitants, earlier even than [28] the light-complexioned Namas; they were probably in place before the arrival of the San Bushmen, all of whom were preceded by an extinct Bushmanoid race. The ethnologist Heinrich Vedder postulates that the Damaras came to the Nama language by way of the San, who were related to the Nama and spoke the same language but who lived a hunter-gatherer existence in contrast to the sheep-herding Namas. Forced to flee the depredations of Namas incensed by their stock-raiding proclivities, the San invaded the hunting grounds of the Darnaras to the north where, because of their parallel way of life, the two races closely associated. Culturally, however, the San were superior to the Damaras, whom they ultimately dominated and employed as servants.

   It may seem strange that the hunting and food-gathering San should have required retainers to work for them but, as Vedder points out, the San of the northern districts understood until early this century how to treat and keep Damaras as vassals. An old Damara once showed him a crumbling elephant pit, saying, ‘In this pit I killed an elephant with my assegai but I ate none of its meat for I was then in the service of a San Bushman.’

   In the course of time elements of the roaming Nama tribes ventured further and further north, in all likelihood motivated by the need for new grazing for their increasing stocks of long-horned cattle and fat-tailed sheep. Eventually they followed the San across the Orange River and in so doing renewed the age-old struggle between two irreconcilable enemies for available waterpoints and hunting rights, a struggle that now involved the Damaras. Trapped between the better organised Namas in the south and the fierce Hereros in the north, the San and the Damaras were soon reduced to a fugitive, pariah existence.

   Piecing together the available threadbare fabric of folklore, explorers’ reports and anthropological data relating to the Damara’s turbulent history begets a tapestry gapingly incomplete. It would seem probable however that the acculturation of the Damaras and their consequent change-over of languages came about as a result of their relatively benign relationship with the San Bushmen. The process of transition appears to have been well advanced by the time the rapacious Namas made their presence felt. Furthermore, studies done in the earlier part of this century revealed that it was only in the Nama-dominated south of Namibia that the Darnaras spoke pure Nama whereas in the northern parts, where at that time they still lived undisturbed in the old way, they spoke the dialect of the San.

   The speculation surrounding their evolution is viewed by the average Damara with supreme indifference. Today, as in the past, their concerns are fixed firmly in the present. The matter at hand has always been the fundamental need to survive in troubled times and out of adversity they have created their own recipes for endurance.[274]

Reardon writes of how,

[i]n order to catalogue a profile of all the rhinos sighted, Garth [Owen-Smith] and [Karl] Peter [Erb] worked in conjunction with Blythe Loutit, whose husband Rudi was warden of the Skeleton Coast Park, to photograph individual animals and note their sex, estimated age, the shape and size of horns and other distinguishing physical characteristics such as scars or ear nicks[275].

At the time of Reardon’s visit, Owen-Smith’s ‘field assistant and right hand man’ was Elias Hambo, [44] a former hunter/’poacher’[276].

At Kamanjab, Reardon writes of Garth Owen-Smith reporting how the mechanic carefully monitors his ‘comings and goings’ because ‘he’s one of the district’s principal poachers and everybody around here knows it. He likes to think of himself as a lion hunter but he’ll pot anything he gets in his sights. There’s no shame in being a poacher in these parts, quite the contrary. These rural folk always lived off the land and old customs die hard’; Reardon commenting that ‘[i]n tiny country communities law enforcers and law breakers often keep the same company and just as often there is a blurring of the line dividing the two – in some precincts the police have earned for themselves notorious reputations as poachers’.[277]

Beyond Kamanjab they travel ‘parallel to Etosha’s western boundary fence’ and stop ‘to watch three young bull elephants that had broken outof the park cross the road and with ponderous precision step over the metre-high stock fence’:

[w]e left the main road through a service gate that should have been locked but which someone had forced, “as someone always does, whenever the padlock is replaced”, Garth said angrily. “Poaching was epidemic in this area. Rhino have been completely exterminated and elephant considerably reduced. And still it’s going on. It’s going to take heavy duty chains and locks to keep intruders out although it probably won’t take long before security police and army patrols shoot those off as well.”

   Our track followed the course of the Otjovasandu River in an area known as the Five Farms [now Hobatere]; land which had been bought from white ranchers at the time of the establishment of tribal homelands and included in Damaraland. The intention is to proclaim it a conservation unit but in the absence of a resident ranger the supervision that exists is nominal, and the only meaningful concession to its proposed status is the provision preventing its reallocation as ranchland to prospective Damara tenants. Nonetheless game trails winding down to the river were stippled with spoor [40] mountain zebra, giraffe, kudu, gemsbok and elephant although at that time of the year surface water had dried up and most of the game had been forced to vacate.    
In the riverbed’s soft sand we came upon lion pugmarks, not fresh, but the first we had seen and the discovery pleased us. “Probably not more than twenty left in the whole Damaraland,” Garth said, “but lions are resilient and if left alone they’ll make a comeback.”[278]

Passing through Khamdescha vet fence gate they note from the book that only two-three cars a month go through here at this time[279]. Reardon remarks that,

[t]he broad riverbed [Ombonde-Hoanib] demarcates the political boundary between Damaraland and its northern neighbour Kaokoland, although with the drought Herero pastoralists have filtered south in search of new grazing and have let it be known they would fight any effort to send them back.[280]

In the Ombonde River they encounter a hunted/poached giraffe, considered to have been hunted by Herero, prompting the following reported discourse from their assistant Elias Hambo:

[i]n this area the hunters are sure to have been Hereros and they eat all the meat on a giraffe. They also cut the legs off at the knees to get at the bone marrows. In the old days they used the hide to make sandals but now only cut strips for sjamboks (whips). … Beef is our favourite meat but zebra and giraffe were also considered delicacies. We hunted them with dogs and our bows and arrows. There is some meat we will not eat such as that of the ostrich – it stinks too [44] badly. But now I have heard that even ostrich is being eaten – it’s because of the drought. Once there was enough; now Hereros eat whatever comes to hand. Some even eat donkeys, which they never did in the past. …[281]

They are joined by the late Chris Eyre, then conservator based in Khorixas, and his assistant the late Lucas Mbomboro, [45] and trace the culprits to a village 12 kms away from the carcass reportedly called Otokotorui (‘the place of subterranean water’) that ‘had recently been settled by several Herero families attracted by the permanent water supply a government-sunk wind-pump provided’[282]. Reardon notes that ‘the rifles that the pastoralists have come by are the result of a misguided scheme on the part of the South African army to arm local tribesmen in the unfounded hope that they would use them to repel Swapo guerrillas’[283]. Two hunters are charged – the lead is called Adam Tjikwara: ‘Listening to the details of his impending fate, Adam stared at me with old eyes smiling the saddest smile I have ever seen. Then his gaze dropped from my face to a point on the ground just in front of his feet where he stared fixedly, wistfully smiling all while’[284]:

Garth and I visited their headmen Keefas Muzuma and Joshua Kangombe to brief them on what had happened. The case had particular relevance to both chiefs as the young hunter was Joshua’s nephew and, by Herero custom, his heir – and he had also been in charge of a herd of Keefas’s cattle at the time of the shooting. “It is crucial if we are to get the support of the chiefs and through them their people, to inform and involve them fully in a case like this,” Garth said as we ploughed down the Ombonde. To often in the past the chiefs’ authority was ignored which they naturally resented and so withheld their co-operation. It led to a ‘them’ and ‘us’ situation and a great deal of ill will. Ultimately the key to controlling poaching will lie not so much in arresting the people responsible as in educating them. Prove to them that they too have a vested interest in conservation and can directly benefit from it and You will have solved your poaching problem. The hunting that the white man now calls ‘poaching’ has been around for a long time and it would be ridiculously short-sighted to regard the death of the Ombonde giraffe as morally reprehensible. Legalities aside, there are no rights or wrongs in that case quite simply it boils down to competition for the same resource. From the comfort of our well-padded perspective we enthuse over the aesthetic value of wild animals whereas Adam, living a lot closer to the cutting edge of deprivation, thinks they should be turned into Herero hamburgers. Different points of view arrived at through different economic circumstances.

   During my patrols I make a point of keeping in touch with local residents and establishing friendly relations, Garth continued. “That way I get to know them and, equally important, they get to know me. In any extension programme among a rural and therefore conservative people, the slow and time-consuming task of gaining their acceptance is vital. If we were to rush in as strangers and start telling them what they should be doing we wouldn’t get anywhere. Worse – if suspicion was once aroused it would take a lot longer to get them to accept us and our ideas …

[Keefas Muzuma later states that] he was sorry to hear what had happened but that he fully supported Chris’s [Eyre] actions. He had warned his people against hunting and if they persisted they must bear the consequences. He knew both the men involved very well and it surprised him that such normally reliable fellows should flout the law in the wa they had.

   [49]Joshua Kangombe was equally understanding even though it was a favourite

nephew that was at that moment being arraigned. He made a small speech to an assembly of elders and concluded by saying: “The law against killing game comes not from the white man but from your headman. It is our wish to protect the game for the good of our people. If we kill it all now there will be nothing left for the future.”

   His positive attitude was enormously gratifying and amongst the others there seemed a genuine acceptance of the need for conservation. One old man remarked, “Everyone knows there is a law against hunting without a permit they do it when they are hungry. When the stomach growls laws are disregarded. In the past the law was not so strict, perhaps because there was so much game. The young people who are without employment are the main poachers. If the government could provide employment it would help the situation.

   Unemployment, together with the loss of most of their livestock during the drought, added to the failure of the village’s entire maize crop that year, were the underlying causes of much of the poaching taking place. It is no use telling local populations not to hunt and expect them to comply without providing an alternative.

   Acting on that presumption Garth devised a plan that would create limited jobs and at the same time directly involve the local population in the conservation of their own areas – a major objective as it was the best way to ensure the long-term conservation of wildlife in that region. It was decided that the chief, using his own discretion, would recommend suitable men to work for the Trust as auxiliary game guards. They would stationed in areas where Garth knew poaching to be particularly bad and would be responsible for making game observations as well as for reporting any poaching incidents that occurred. As they had an intimate knowledge of the area and the people living there, little could happen without their knowing.

   Once it was passed by the Trust’s management committee the plan was put into operation and has since proved to be one of those low key, low budget success stories.[285]

The two hunter/’poachers’ ‘were each sentenced to fine of twelve hundred rand[286] or twelve months in jail’ and were granted six weeks to raise the money[287].

**add images?

Of the ‘desert elephant’, Reardon writes that,

[t]he term ‘desert elephant’ refers to about seventy surviving animals whose home range lies west of the somm isohyet (rainfall line) that extends from the Otjihipa Mountains in the north to near Twyfelfontein in the south. East of the line there are about another 120 elephants that make up what is known as the ‘transitional’ population, whose dry season movements bring them west into the desert. The balance of approximately 150 elephants constitute the 'eastern' population, members of which move to and from the Etosha National Park. Contrary to the opinion of some commentators, intensive studies have shown that the desert elephants occupy definite home ranges within the desert and do so throughout the year. They do not, as has been suggested, only occupy the desert on a temporary seasonal basis, nor do they feel compelled to extend their range eastwards to the Etosha National Park. Not that there is anything to prevent them moving east should they wish to do so. There is, to this day a corridor free of human activity that extends right through to Etosha and which is extensively used by elephants from the eastern population.[288]

Observing elephants in the area of Wêreldsend/’Keigams’ [Kaiǁgams], and continuing a trope of emptying the landscape of peoples’ presence and history, Reardon writes,

I gazed about at the vast wilderness all around; no sign of man, no mark or sound for hundreds of kilometres. This land has never been settled. At best it was put to seasonal use by nomadic pastoralists and hunter-gatherers who left little enough evidence of their passing. lt was once part of the Etosha Game Reserve [from 1958-1970] and is today still too arid to support year-round ranching.[289]

   [62] As Slang Viljoen has pointed out, the possibility that the desert elephants represent a new, unique ecotype or subspecies is not the main criterion when considering their conservation. What is important is the unique combination of the animals and their environment and that they comprise an ecological population that is irreplaceable. …The desert elephants have already been eradicated from much of their former range. One of their last strongholds is the Hoanib River, where some twenty cows adult subadults and about six bulls live a precarious existence. Wandering elephants still … [64] occasionally range as far east as Khowarib, where the Hoanib cuts through stark towering limestone mountains to form a canyon flanked by precipitous cliffs. It is rugged beautiful country harmonious and remorseless and utterly incomparable. Only a decade ago, elephant herds regularly patronized the spring that rises close to where the Hoanib emerges from the gorge. To have seen elephants here was to have seen them in one of the most spectacular settings in Africa.

   On my first visit to the western reaches of the Hoanib, Garth brought me to a disintegrating elephant skeleton that floodwaters had not yet flushed away. It had been gunned down a year before. All that remained of that once vital life force was a cracked hollow-eyed skull, the splintered staves of its ribs, bleached knuckles and scraps of petrified hide. There was nothing to be said; in the ringing dread silence that stalks wild places from which all the wild animals have gone, we were both of us left alone with our thoughts.

   Retreating still further westwards, we came to where the Ganamub River joins the Hoanib, and here, for the first time, we encountered live elephants. A mature bull, with small tusks, had joined two adult cows and an eight year old subadult bull in hiding-out in a low salvadora thicket. It has become the custom of the Hoanib elephants to withdraw into cover on hearing the clatter of an approaching vehicle and to remain out of sight until the intruders have passed.[290]


The DRA reportedly wished to keep the former ANVO Hunting Safaris concession ‘free of permanent human settlement’, considering ‘future tourism in the region as being an important vehicle for rural development’[291]. The DRA’s DEC, with agricultural officials Johan Oosthuizen and Marthinus Boshoff, ‘drew up plans to develop the area of Damaraland that had previously been part of Etosha’ [for how many years? 12??], as well as the five, fenced-off farms in the homeland’s northeastern corner [= Hobatere], as tourist attractions under their authority’, but this is blocked by the DNC on the grounds that tourism development is ‘a central government responsibility’[292]. The DRA thus decide ‘to lease out the area to tourism operators, which they were legally entitled to do’, and to ‘build a tourist lodge on the site of the old ANVO hunting camp at Palmwag, which was done by using materials and labor "borrowed" from other line ministries within the second-tier authority’[293]. Through these leases, which only give the lessees ‘the right to restrict other commercial tourism activities within them’ and not to restrict local people or livestock movements within the concessions, the DRA is able to both ‘support wildlife conservation and benefit from it through tourism activities’[294].

The DNC takes over the auxiliary game guard network with continued support by EWT[295] after Garth Owen-Smith in March loses his funded and thus his job with the Namibia Wildlife Trust,

because the colonial authorities claimed he was “a [xv] dangerous Swapo supporter who was confusing the communities”[296].

Patrols start going further west of the junction of the Achab and Uniab rivers only in this year (previous to which ‘[t]he majority of rhino sightings … were still chance sightings acquired while driving or walking in the area’):

[t]he majority of rhino sightings in the early eighties were still chance sightings acquired while driving or walking in the area. Patrols only started going further west of the junction of the Achab and Uniab rivers in 1985. By the mid-eighties the method used today to locate rhino, by using local knowledge to track fresh spoor from where a rhino drank the night before, began to be used extensively across the area and increased the accuracy of population estimates. This method proved to be more efficient and cost effective than flying or vehicle based patrols. Armed patrols by the MET's Wildlife Protection Services started at this time [14] and strong law enforcement from MET staff in the area, notably Rudi Loutit and Tommy Hall, led to further key convictions in the area[297]. 

Few cases of elephant poaching are reported after this year, attributed to law enforcement by Chris Eyre and later SNCO Tommy Hall[298].


The Namibian trophy hunting market is estimated at 12% of the African market[299].


The former ANVO hunting concession is split along the Palmwag-Sesfontein road [becoming Palmwag and Etendeka concessions to the west and east respectively], with the ‘uninhabited desert’ [?? habitation/human presence and histories consistently minimised] between the ‘Uchab' River [=Ugab/!Uǂgab?] and the vet fence as a third concession area. The Palmwag Concessions consists of 582,622ha of communal land, leased to Grutemeyer by the Damara Representative Authority, i.e. 2nd Tier Authority post-Odendaal[300]. The ‘area around Palmwag Lodge (between the Grootberg Range in the northeast [??], the Aub (ǂGâob) River in the west and the Achab (ǂAxab) River in the south) was kept as an “open area” for Palmwag guests and anyone wishing to visit it’[301].

Karl-Heiz Grutemeyer, who then ‘ran occasional 4x4 safaris [Desert Adventure Safari Tours - DAS] through the west of Damaraland’ is leased the western concession of 582,622ha of communal land by the DRA, and Palmwag Lodge opens in July, while Louw Schoeman who ran Skeleton Coast Fly-in Safaris took on the southern concession[302]. From Palmwag, the DRA derive an annual lease fee and small levy charged to people going into the ‘open area’, collected by the Lodge on their behalf and encouraged through signs at entry points quoting a 1928 law ‘requiring persons driving off proclaimed roads on State Land to obtain a permit from the “Secretary for South West Africa”’, although ‘the validity of this old law was never tested in court’[303].


Six further CGGs are appointed in Damaraland ‘by the traditional leaders [Joshua] Kangombe and [Goliat] Kasaona of Warmquelle, as well as Otto Ganuseb[304] (Sesfontein) and Gabriel Taniseb (Khovarib)’[305].


Supported by a grant from the New York Zoological Society, Garth Owen-Smith with Sakeus Kasaona and assisted by Duncan and Ruth Gilchrist, John Paterson and Des and Jen Bartlett, carry ‘out the first rhino census by individual identification’, ‘refining the tracking method now widely used for monitoring’, and later handing over the records to Blythe Loutit of Save the Rhino Trust who worked with Simson !Uri-ǂKhob and local trained community trackers to maintain regular monitoring, as is still carried out today[306].

The Damara Community and Regional Authorities and Paramount Chief and Headman Ordinance 2 governs the administration of traditional justice of the Damara[307].

Margie Jacobsohn conducts research in the Purros area and observes that,

the local community had an undignified [27] relationship with tourists. Tourists often took photos without asking permission and sometimes without even extending any form of greeting. She comments that the people were angry with the tourists but had no mechanism to regulate tourist activities in their area.[308]

The Besieged Desert is published by Mitch Reardon, highlighting the impacts of war on wildlife in north-west Namibia[309]. There are reportedly between 100 and 200 elephant in Kaokoveld in this year, down from an estimated 3,000 in 1962[310], and black rhino number 45 in Damaraland and Kaokoland, “where they are facing local extinction due to poaching and debilitation by drought”[311].  

Linguistic research on Khoekhoe dialects is carried out in Sesfontein and with ǂAonin (‘Topnaar-Nama’) on the lower Kuiseb River[312].


Following an approach by Margie Jacobsohn, then conducting archaeological research in Purros, Dr John Ledger, EWT Director from 1985, visited the northwest to evaluate circumstances there, after which he ‘re-instated EWT financial support for NGO activities in the region’. A ‘small pilot eco-tourism project is set up at Purros’ requiring ‘all tourists on Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) tours to pay a fee to the local community as caretakers of their natural resources, including land and wildlife’, an initiative that Schoeman’s Skeleton Coast Fly-In Safaris later joins[313].

The Purros project has three components:

- A tourist levy: The levy is paid to the Purros community by tour operators. The levy is charged on a per head basis, and it is paid directly to the community for their role as caretakers of wildlife.

- A craft market. Local materials such as palm fronds are used, and the impact of palm frond harvesting is monitored by local women.

- The Purros Conservation Committee: The Committee has been established to represent the interests of the community. This local institution works in consultation with the local community to solve problems related to the distribution of the tourist levy. The committee also discusses problems related to tourists with tour operators.

[it also creates] … an incentive for the local community to become involved in the CGG Program. It channels the benefits that accrue from wildlife conservation (increased tourism) back into the hands of the Purros community. The project has used conservation and tourism to broaden the Purros community's economic base and thereby change their attitudes towards wildlife.[314]

Owen-Smith and Jacobsohn summarise the achievements of the Purros Project as follows:

Local residents now link wildlife to tourism and to the benefits they receive, and are positive towards nature conservation. In recognition of this, Purros was chosen by the Ministry of Wildlife, Conservation and Tourism as one of the areas for a wildlife restocking program in 1990 and again in 1991, with 29 gemsbok and 20 giraffe being translocated there from Etosha.

The communities’ economic base has broadened beyond subsistence farming, with more than 35,000 rand (US$6130) being earned from the tourists since 1987.

The semi-nomadic settlement pattern, whereby stock is moved away from permanent water as soon as rain comes has been restored. This has occurred because the tourist levy - unlike random handouts to pose for tourist’s cameras - is distributed to all members of the community regardless of whether they meet tourists or not.[315]

The DRA’s DEC offers ‘the “Five Farms” in the northeast of Damaraland (now Hobatere) as a trophy hunting concession to Jan Oelofse of Mount Etjo Game Ranch’[316], on a 50/50 basis although given investment in infrastructure the lessees claimed to have made no profits in the first three years of operation.


The last of the Skeleton Coast Park lions is killed by Herero stockowners from Sesfontein[317].


Drought causes the Warmquelle headmen Joshua Kangombe and Goliat Kasaona to initiate discussion with Garth Owen-Smith and NWT regarding moving their livestock across the Hoanib/Uniab watershed, which he deflects because Palmwag Lodge opened the previous year and tourists had started to visit and asks them to look for alternative grazing such that ‘no Herero livestock were taken into the western tourism concession area until after Namibia’s independence’[318]. Meanwhile, ‘two Damara stockowners from Sesfontein [Moses & Petrus Ganuseb? Jan |Awiseb] move their cattle across the watershed and down the main road to the Otjorute [= Otjerate / !Nao-dâis] spring (about 20kms north of Palmwag)’ and

Rudi Loutit, the new Principle NCO for Damaraland, and Mr Simpson Tjongarero (MEC of the DRA) visited these farmers and gave them permission to stay until the first good rains fell. However, when the drought broke, this agreement was not enforced and these stockowners have remained south of the watershed.[319]

Additionally, the DRA gives Headman Josef Japuhwa of Omuramba in SE Kaokoland permission ‘to take cattle into the Palmfontein area of the eastern tourist concession’ which had not been allocated and no tourism was taking place there, and these ‘Herero stockowners’ have remained despite its inclusion in the Etendeka concession leased by Denis Liebenberg in 1990[320].


SNCO Marcellus Loots and Garth Owen-Smith propose ‘a limited amount of common game species be harvested’ for consumption by ‘the local community’ and following agreement by the DNC and DRA ‘120 springbok, gemsbok and zebra, were cropped by second-tier government officials and the meat distributed through the traditional leaders at Warmquelle and Sesfontein’[321].

Chief Jeremia Gaobaeb takes over the Sesfontein leadership from Theofilus ǁHawaxab due to the latter’s ill-health, ‘[t]herefore according to the tradition inherited from Late Captain Simon Petrus ǁHawaxab all the ethnic groups were under the leadership of Chief Jeremia Gaobaeb’[322].

Linguistic research on Khoekhoe dialects is carried out in the Karasburg district with the !Gamiǂnûn (‘Bondelswarts-Nama’)[323].

Late 1980s

Some 36 Himba chiefs have been named (from the 3 that were named and recognised by the South African authorities from 1917), each controlling ‘smaller tracts of land with some hundreds to thousands of people’ although ‘where their rights and obligations are exactly located is hard to tell’[324].


Owen-Smith starts guiding safaris to South Africans and some international tourists (approx. 250 in total), arranged by the EWT in Johannesburg and backed up logistically by DAS, through the then unallocated eastern concession (now Etendeka) to Sesfontein then Purros and back to Palmwag Lodge through the western concession[325].


Kaokoland inhabitants are the only communal area community in Namibia to benefit directly from a local culling program[326].


A similar ‘game harvest’ to that enacted in 1987 is carried out with the hunting done by DNC officers under Tommy Hall[327]. Viljoen estimates ‘the number of elephants remaining after the onslaught of commercial hunting in the Kaokoveld to be around 600–1000 animals, implying a decline in numbers of 60–80%’[328]. The Game Capture Team headed by Louis Geldenhuys translocate giraffe from Etosha West to the lower Huab River[329]. Rossing Uranium Mine contributes funds for rations and cash allowances to support the auxiliary game guard network[330]. The coffee table book Kaokoveld: The Last Wilderness is published[331].

Linguistic research on Khoekhoe dialects is carried out on ‘the north-eastern periphery of the Damara/Haiǁom and ǂĀkhoe dialects, ranging from Etosha Pan to Mangetti and Ghaub[332]. The interviewed ǂĀkhoe originally lived at Otyolo in eastern Owambo


The International Labour Organisation establishes a Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples[333].

Cease-fire in the war for independence[334] leading to the first universal election held under UN supervision[335]. Justus ǁGaroëb becomes leader of UDF, winning vote three times with especially Damara votes in Khorixas and Sesfontein constituencies[336]. The SADF withdraws from areas that were the focus for conflict, for example Caprivi, an effect being a reduction of income for those employed as trackers by the SADF[337] (for example Khwe in West Caprivi and some Damara / ǂNūkhoen in Battalion 10[338]). Khaudum National Park is proclaimed in the north-east of the country[339]. Khoekhoegowab-speaking ǂĀkhoe are moved from Otyolo in ‘eastern Owambo’ to farm Hedwigslust near Namutoni ‘where they had been accommodated by the Ombili foundation together with Haiǁom and !Xû’, ‘because of population pressures and a dearth of water’[340].


A Rehoboth resident shoots five rhinos in Damaraland (two in the Palmwag concession) and SNCO Rudi Loutit plus DNC vet Pete Morkel undertake crisis management through ‘the first ever de-horning of wild rhino in vulnerable areas south of the cordon [vet] fence’[341]. Owen-Smith reports that 10 rhino (three from Etendeka, seven from the old Odendaal farms[342]) are translocated to Waterberg Plateau Park[343].

Beinart points out within the context of the politics of colonial conservation in Southern Africa that:

[c]onservation interventions, intertwined as they were with other state imperatives, cut across African ecological ideas and practices because they so often presupposed different assumptions about how land should be settled and used. Both colonial and African practices saw land as to some extent divisible by its function. But colonial ideas, drawn from an industrialised and capitalist Europe, laid far more stress on rigid spatial division between land set aside for different purposes. This applied at the national level so that certain areas could become reserves for exclusive functions like forestry, or game reserves, or farming, while multi-purpose common land greatly diminished. Colonial ideas could then simultaneously accommodate the transformation or destruction of former ecosystems on private land, while attempting to preserve or reconstruct them in pockets of state land…. African conservation practices, sometimes recognised by missionaries and officials, were not, however, often used as the basis for development. The social darwinist attitudes in which science came to be embedded made it difficult for outsiders to accept that local practice was also a form of science - the result of extensive experimentation in specific environments. In the minds of officials, technical wisdom and African practice tended to become separated. This tendency became emphasised because so often conservation initiatives were inseparable from broader state land and labour policies.[344]


Haacke et al. later write of their concern that in this year school books continue to repeat the ‘popular assumption that the Negroid Damara adopted the language of the Nama while they were the “slaves” of them’, stating too that Vedder himself – to whom this claim is often attributed – refuted this assertion[345].


Hon. ||Garoeb served as a member of the Constituent Assembly, from November 1989 to March 1990, which drafted the first Namibian Constitution, after the United Nations Transitional Assistance Group (UNTAG) observed Elections in Namibia, won by SWAPO with a 2/3 majority[346].


Namibia gains its independence on the 21st March 1990, becoming the Republic of Namibia. The new constitution is notable for its inclusion of both livelihood concerns and environmental care (Article 95):

The State shall actively promote and maintain the welfare of the people by adopting, inter alia, policies aimed at the following …

j. consistent planning to raise and maintain an acceptable level of nutrition and standard of living of the Namibian people and to improve public health.

l. maintenance of ecosystems, essential ecological processes and biological diversity and utilization of living natural resources on a sustainable basis for the benefit of all Namibians, both present and future …[347]

Cultural heritage concerns are also foregrounded in Article 19:

[e]very person shall be entitled to enjoy, practise, profess, maintain and promote any culture, language, tradition or religion, subject to the terms of this Constitution and further subject to the condition that the rights protected by this Article do not impinge upon the rights of others or the national interest[348].

Article 16(2) of the Constitution ‘forms an initial basis for possible land redistribution by making provision for the expropriation of land as property by the State in the public interest, subject to appropriate compensation’[349]. It provokes ‘volatile reactions from different interest groups: on the one hand, European owners of such property are anxious for the protection of their interests; to the opposite extreme, groups such as the Swapo Youth League (SYL) maintain that such compensation would not be justified because all land owned by Europeans was ‘robbed’ from indigenous Namibians and thus constitutes 'possession and use' of this land and not lawful ownership’[350]. Article 102(5) of the Constitution states that a Traditional Leaders Council be established for the purpose of advising the State President regarding land use and allocation in the communal areas[351].

At independence, a critical concern is the inherited pattern of unequal land distribution:

44% of the land area is delineated as roughly 6,292 freehold farms of which 6,123 are white-owned and support some 4,200 commercial farmers, while 43% is designated communal land and is home to an estimated 120,000 black households[352].

Communal areas in the southern and central parts of the country are additionally located in areas with the poorest agricultural potential: thus for the former ‘homeland’ of ‘Damaraland’ 2.4 million of 4.5 million hectares ‘are considered agriculturally unusable die to aridity’[353]. The remaining land area includes proclaimed conservation areas, the Diamond Area of the Namib, and other State land[354].

Control over land at independence. Source: ACACIA Project E1 2007 online  

The ethnically-based second-tier authorities are dismantled through repeal of the 1980 Representative Authority Proclamation and subsequent proclamations, creating unclarity regarding who the north-west concessionaires should pay their leasing fees to[355]. One analysis writes that ‘local authorities have suspended action pending directions from the centre; the centre, unaccustomed to dealing with the perplexing problems of small farmer and communal area development has itself been waiting for inspiration and direction from elsewhere’[356].

Bollig reports that a major meeting takes place in this year convening ‘all the chiefs of Kaokoland’ to discuss ‘new grazing regulations’ including ‘[a]ll the major political figures in Kaokoland’ who ‘vowed to work for a sustainable management of pastures’[357].

The southern concession[?] is not renewed, and the open area around Palmwag falls away so that the western and eastern concession boundaries move to along the Palmwag-Sesfontein road[358]. Denis Liebenberg, takes on the eastern concession in Damaraland, in partnership with Wilderness Safaris. Hobatere is converted into a tourism concession and granted to Andries Ferreira and Steve Braine[359]. Around six mobile four operators are visiting Damaraland and Kaokoland at this time[360].


The Grootberg Farmers Union is formally founded having operated in the area since the 1970s[361].


The Purros community-based project, support by EWT, is renamed Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC), ‘a Namibian NGO … later registered as a Trust’[362]. Himba: Nomads of Namibia[363] is published.  

Shortly after independence, the glossonym (language name) ‘Khoekhoegowab’ is ‘officially reintroduced for the language that had become known as ‘Nama’ or ‘Nama/Damara’, ‘a dialect continuum with Nama as southernmost and Damara, Hai
ǁom and ǂAakhoe as northernmost dialect clusters’[364]. Linguistic research on Khoekhoe dialects is again carried out on ‘the north-eastern periphery of the Damara/Haiǁom and ǂĀkhoe dialects, ranging from Etosha Pan to Mangetti and Ghaub[365].

Mamili National Park is proclaimed in north-east Namibia[366].


No rhino are poached in Kunene in these years, but ‘both black and white rhinos are still killed in other regions of northern Namibia, areas where poaching had not previously occurred’, implying that ‘[p]erhaps the overly sensational, massive, and often inaccurate publicity about dehorning, both local and international, may have caused poachers to shift actions away from the Kunene Province to areas where only horned rhinos occur’[367].


The government initiates a village resettlement programme for Khwe San in Caprivi following SADF withdrawal, implemented by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) and providing 4ha plots per Khwe family, distributing cattle and providing solar-powered boreholes, health posts and training – simultaneously conservation in Caprivi Game Park is reinvigorated and a ‘socioecological survey’ is conducted here recommending CBNRM ‘as a conservation strategy for the area[368]. IRDNC starts working here, employing Khwe CGGs and community resource monitors although the Game Park status means that Khwe are ‘prohibited from hunting wild animals or defending themselves, their crops, and bushfood from elephants’[369].


Hon. Justus ||Garoeb serves as a Member of Parliament (MP) for more than 20 years between 1990 and 2015[370].


Early 1990s

Five ‘wandering rhino’ are moved to Hardap Recreational Area and Etosha NP[371].

Elias Xoagub, the farmer allocated land at Twyfelfontein / |Ui-ǁaes in 1976, uses revenue from tourist visits to the rock art to create the Aba-Huab Campsite[372].


In 1991 the government engaged in a process of 'national consultation' regarding the land issue, culminating in the National Conference on Land Reform and the Land Question[373] to form the foundation on which the Namibian government developed its land reform programme.[374] As Sullivan summarises,

[o]f the resolutions drafted at the Land Conference for consideration by Parliament as part of a Land Reform Bill, the following formed the basis for recommendations for affirmative action regarding land redistribution... :

  • foreigners, who in 1991 owned 6% of farmland, should not be allowed to own farmland;
  • underutilised freehold land should be reallocated;
  • land belonging to absentee landlords should be expropriated by the


  • 'very large farms' and/or ownership of 'several farms' should be


  • disproportionate support to commercial farmers should be redressed; a land tax should be imposed on commercial land and subsidies to commercial farmers withdrawn to ‘encourage’ land owners to place their farms on the market;
  • the veterinary cordon fence which separates the northern communal areas from the southern commercial areas should be removed as soon as possible to enable northern farmers to participate in the commercial livestock [3] market;[375]
  • the redistribution of commercial farmland, mainly on the basis of willing seller–willing buyer, with the government having preferential rights to purchase farmland for resettlement purposes;
  • and in the communal areas (the former reserves), situated mainly in the northern regions and offering minimal rainfall for cultivating the land, disadvantaged communities (in particular the San) “should receive special protection of their land rights”.[376]

Different perspectives are expressed to the Land Conference by different interest groups with town-dwellers and commercial farmers alike viewing communal tenure as an ‘obstacle to development’ whereas the majority of communal farmers wish to retain this system, The division of these groups along lines of political affiliation makes clear the deeply political nature of land reform[377]: ‘broadly speaking, and as indicated above, the commercialisation of communal land is strongly favoured by the political right including supporters of the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), the Herero leadership represented by Chief Riruako, wealthy farmers on communal land anxious to establish rights to ‘economic units’ and commercial farmers’[378]:

  • the Herero Chief Riruako calls for ‘the immediate surveying, ... and fencing of eastern and southern Kaokoland into economic farm units’[379];
  • the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) state that ‘peasant farmers must be encouraged to become commercial farmers’ and favour ‘the enclosure of land and the allocation of land to individuals, families and cooperatives’[380];
  • The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) is in favour of a scheme based on cooperative farming, involving the establishment of ‘community land companies’ within a single national land market and operating under one law. In communal areas these land companies would be based on ‘making communal farmers shareholders with tradable rights over specified resources, and subject to market discipline and high input centralised management structures similar to commercial companies’[381].[382]
  • ‘[f]urther towards the political left, the socialist oriented South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO) was inspired by the villagization programme of Tanzania as ‘the most efficient way of utilizing scarce and costly items and limited expertise', as well as being perceived as a scenario 'consistent with African values' (SWAPO, 1991). Tribal Land Boards, modelled on the experience of Botswana, and leasehold tenure models were also considered with the proviso that 'customary land tenure systems are not inherently incompatible with agricultural modernisation' and therefore 'a significant element of community control over land should be retained' (SWAPO, 1991).’[383] 
  • ‘[t]he traditionalist United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Damara 'King' Justus ǁGaroëb who, despite the currently waning role of the traditional leadership in the post-Independence administration, retain strong political support among the majority of Damara-speaking farmers in the former Damaraland, appealed for the retention of traditional systems of communal land allocation and management (Rohde, 1994: 13). UDF, for example, stated that ‘chiefs should continue to have the rights and power to allocate communal land’ and that ‘as trustees and custodians of all communal land, … should be allocated with specific land for individual ownership’ (UDF, 1991: 4 emphasis added). This statement appears to conform closely to the view that individual wealthy farmers should be encouraged to farm on delineated holdings, while the subsistence production of small-scale farmers, with varying degrees of commercial activity, is maintained within a communal land tenure system. This perspective is supported by Chief ǁGaroëb who, even with popular support, is facing the reality of declining government sympathy for traditional leadership. His views are crystallised in his statement that 'the traditional leadership should manage the communal land according [10] to their (i.e. Damara) tradition and culture in close consultation with the Government Administrative machinery' ( ǁGaroëb, 1991).’[384]
  • ‘there was a strong appeal by organisations representing communities such as Aukeigas and the Sorris-Sorris Communal Farmers, the Spitzkoppe Farmers Union, and Aminuis, Bethanie and Bondelswarts community representatives, for the reclamation of their ancestral lands and a redressing of the wrongs of colonial dispossession. It is likely that a number of these organisations left the Conference disappointed that more was not achieved in this direction’[385].[386]

While it is clear that a national land policy is needed, as the Prime Minister asserts at the 1991 Land Conference, ‘many of the solutions to these highly specific land issues can be generated only at the local level’[387].

Sullivan writes further that ‘[i] the absence of a clear land reform strategy, and in recognition of the ‘welfare function’ currently performed by the communal areas, the Conference concluded that the communal areas should for the present be retained, developed and expanded where necessary'[388]. She outlines, ‘some of the various land redistribution scenarios discussed at the Conference’[389]:

Freehold farms could be purchased by the government and made available to larger herd owners in communal areas, through offering financially favourable terms as an incentive to participate in this scheme. This is reminiscent of the incentives offered earlier this century to European farmers during the Resettlement Program of the South African Administration (Rohde, 1993: 61). A variety of interest groups favoured this proposal:

i. white politicians from the opposition who, as farm-owners, consider the introduction of rich black farmers into their community as an optimal solution to the 'unfortunate necessity' of land redistribution;

ii. black business men and politicians who perceive the scheme as an opportunity for themselves to own farms;
[4] iii. small-scale farmers who are affected by the impact of large-scale farmers on local resources;

iv. conservationists who view the control of livestock herds on fenced farms as a solution to perceived environmental degradation on communal land.

   Two major problems are likely to affect the success of this scheme. First, is the issue of how to ensure that wealthy communal farmers, and not business men or officials from elsewhere, are targeted. If the scheme benefits the wrong target group it will have no posítive effect in terms of reducing pressure on either poorer farmers remaining in the communal areas, or the environmental resources in these areas. Second, in view of the fact that communal farmers currently enjoy free grazing and other services, and are not taxed on their farming activities, there will need to be extremely good incentives for them to enter this scheme. Related to this is the possibility that such farmers will continue to graze their livestock in communal areas, thus conserving grazing on their farms to which they can move their herds when necessitated by shortages on communal land.

   Partial implementation of this option has occurred and the Agricultural Development Bank has been established as the most appropriate channel through which such loans are administered. By 1994, however, only two such loans had been taken up by communal farmers in Damaraland, who apparently continued to use communal grazing, thereby negating a primary reason for instituting this scheme (Rohde, 1994: 10-11). This has also proved a problem in southern Namibia where, as the Farmers’ Interleague Solidarity Action (FISA) group of the Namibian Community Cooperatives' Alliance (NCCA) complain, ‘large farmers from communal areas who obtained loans and bought commercial farms under the previous administration still receive our leaders' permission to graze their herds in the communal areas (FISA, 1991: 1). Since 1992, ‘middle farmers’ have also been targeted for loans of N$10,000 for the purchase of livestock, although by 1994 only 20 from 95 applications had been approved (Rohde, 1994: 10-11).

   The second option discussed is almost the opposite of the first, i.e. the relocation of the poorest households to commercial farms purchased by the government, through using the existing division of farms into several fenced camps as the basis for the settlement of individual 'family units'. This is essentially the model on which the redistribution of commercial land to communal farmers following Odendaal was based. From a government perspective, the main problem with this scheme is the high cost that is associated with establishing poor families in new areas and then maintaining services to these farmers. This is illustrated by current rhetoric surrounding widely perceived problems of dependency by communal farmers on government, and accompanying development initiatives which attempt to increase accountability for services among these farmers (cf. Africare, 1993). Concern regarding this option is also expressed by the environmentalist lobby who fear the effects of continuous grazing pressure on farm-camps, the possibility of initially high herd growth-rates following movement to a new area, and perceived low herd off-take rates by communal farmers. Unfortunately, these negative perceptions exist in a near vacuum of empirical evidence from the existing experience of the communalization of commercial land, regarding both the use and management of local resources, and environmental resilience under these production systems.

   [5] It is possible that the existing communal areas could simply be expanded through the acquisition of farms adjacent to communal area boundaries. Similarly, commercial farmland could be purchased for use by communal farmers on a cyclical basis, for example during drought years. This approach was in fact implemented in drought periods by the pre-lndependence government, during which the movement of cattle from communal areas was orchestrated by the relevant Regional Authorities. Unfortunately, the benefits of this approach are directly proportional to the numbers of livestock, primarily cattle, owned by communal farmers. It therefore acts to promote the wealthy while neglecting inhabitants of communal areas who own little or no livestock.

   Various forms of group or cooperative ranching were also suggested, based primarily on models from Kenya and Botswana. The former involve the joint management of one or more delineated farms by a group of communal area stock owners. Problems experienced by this approach are associated with making ‘corporate management decisions’. This is exemplified by the Maasai Group Ranches of Kenya, where patterns of herding continue to be based along long-standing lines of alliance and involve extensive movement of livestock between different ranches. The latter approach is based on the translation of livestock into shares within a cooperative from which owners receive dividends, and the management of this cooperative as a single corporate unit by a paid manager. This could be conceived as appropriate for stock owners in formal employment who do not herd their animals themselves but wish to continue investing in livestock. It is likely to remain theoretical for a number of reasons, however, including the importance of the non-cash value of livestock ownership, and the fact that a considerable number of family members and employees may derive daily sustenance from a herd in the absence of its primary owner.[390]

The Land Conference consensus document follows the example of Botswana, stating that ‘Land Boards should be introduced at an early date to administer the allocation of communal land’ and ‘should be accountable to the government and their local communities’[391]. Sullivan writes that these Land Boards,

would be coupled with the creation of a Council of Traditional Leaders for the purpose of advising the President with regard to appropriate regulation and control of communal land use. This plan was reiterated by the government’s report of the Technical Committee on Commercial Farmland (TCCF) which calls for the establishment of a national system of Land Boards with administrative powers to 'control and allocate future communal land in a standardized manner' (TCCF, 1992: 182 in Rohde, 1994: 14). A second principle that has emerged is that land ownership in general should be vested in the State which will have powers to allocate land on a leasehold, rather than a freehold, basis (Prime Minister, 1991: 17).[392]

Melber comments in retrospect that:

expectations were confronted with some sobering realities. The conference clearly stated: “Given the complexities in redressing ancestral land claims, restitution in full is impossible” (Office of the Prime Minister, 1991: 24). But restitution was not implemented at all. Meanwhile, another process of rural transformation unfolded in the communal areas. Local headmen and chiefs privileged members of the new political and administrative elite from their regions by transferring exclusive individual rights over land and resources to them. This often included state financed infrastructure built as relief measures during drought emergencies. By illegally fencing in the allocated land, the beneficiaries de facto privatised it as a form of “elite land grabbing” (Odendaal, 2011). Between 2012 and 2015, close to 300 cases of illegal fencing of land in communal areas were recorded in five of the country’s fourteen regions (Tjitemisa, 2018a).[393]

Law Reform and Development Commission Act, no. 29, as amended, ‘stipulates as one of the Commission’s tasks to make recommendations on the reform and development of the law of Namibia with regard to the integration or harmonisation of customary law with the common and statutory law’.[394] 

Following a gap since 1988, six animals of five species are, at high cost, ‘cropped by MET officers from Damaraland and Etosha and distributed to all the communities bordering the concession areas’[395].

The MET conducts the first black rhino census in north-west Namibia, in conjunction with the Save the Rhino Trust, other NGOs and private people that volunteered to help[396]. More black rhino are dehorned by personnel of the MWCT[397]. Three rhino are translocated to Hardap (one each from Wereldsend, old farms/’Poacher’s Camp’ and ‘Khowarib plains’)[398].

No Herero households are registered in Kowareb in 1991 census[399]. The 1991 census records 26,176 people in ‘Kaokoland’[400].

The !Ao-ǁAexas Community is established on 1st of May, especially to represent the displaced community of Aukeigas / !Ao-ǁAexas [meaning ‘people from the neck’] at the first National Conference on Land Reform takes place in Windhoek from 25 June – 1 July[401].


Conservation biologists Joel Berger and Carol Cunningham, at the time with the ‘Program in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology’, University of Nevada, study ‘economic and biological implications of [black rhino] horn removal’ [see 1989, 1991] in Etosha National Park and the west of the former ‘Damaraland’ (Springbok River, Doros Crater and ** areas)[402]. They find that,

- ‘horn regrowth is rapid, averaging nearly 9 cm of total horn per animal per year, … [suggesting] that ‘new horns on an average animal are worth $1775-7750 one year after dehorning’;

- ‘poachers fail to discriminate between large- and small-horned rhinos’ so ‘recently-dehorned animals may not be immune from poaching’;

- ‘neither horned nor hornless rhinos differed in their vulnerability to poachers more than four years after the initial dehorning’;

- female rhinos vary ‘naturally in horn length’, and ‘calf age and not horn size affected responsiveness to dangerous predators such as lions (Panthera leo) and spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta)’[403], with calf-deaths corresponding with predator presence rather than dehorning, implying that ‘demographic viability’ may not necessarily improve with dehorning[404];

- ‘poachers do not discriminate among rhino horn sizes’, confirming the observation by Archie ǂGawuseb, Berger and Cunningham’s Damara / ǂNūkhoen research assistant who had formerly been ‘convicted of felony rhino poaching’ that ‘preferences for horn size trophies do not exist’ and suggesting that ‘even animals with small regrown horns are as likely to be killed as animals who have not been dehorned’[405].


Bollig and Heinemann argue that a process of ‘indigenisation’ – ‘of making a social group an indigenous people within the global discourse’ – accelerates in this decade with the Himba becoming the “indigenous group” of Namibia[406].


New administrative regions are drawn up that dismantle the ‘homeland’ structure and integrates ‘Damaraland’, ‘Kaokoland’ and parts of ‘Owamboland’ and western commercial farming areas into Kunene Region[407], meaning that technically speaking the homeland names are no longer in use. The area formerly designated as Kaokoland is now constituted by the Epupa and Opuwo Constituencies of Kunene Region. Regional Councillors are elected to Regional Government offices for the first time[408]. First state of emergency is declared in independent Namibia due to severe agricultural drought[409]. The Rural Conservation Committee of the Welwitschia Agricultural Union and the Damara Kings Council, in a document written in this year, invoke need for,

the development of a regional land use strategy that incorporates the need for wildlife conservation with livestock production[410].

The Riemvasmaker community that had been moved to Bergsig area in ‘Damaraland’ in 1974 are refused the right to register for the Regional elections in November of this year, on the grounds that they are not Namibian citizens, although press coverage of this issue prompts the granting of these rights[411].

The then Ministry of Wildlife, Conservation and Tourism (MWCT – now MET) ‘develops first draft of new policy providing for rights over wildlife and tourism to be given to communities that form a common property resource management institution called a "conservancy"’[412], but does not make provision for NGOs as stakeholders per se[413]. The first complete rhino census of the entire range area is carried out, involving SRT, MWCT and the Community Game Guards[414].

The Agricultural Bank of Namibia (AgriBank), on behalf of the then Ministries of Agriculture and of Water and Forestry, implements an Affirmative Action Loan Scheme (AALS) for the redistribution of ‘state-acquired farms to previously disadvantaged Namibians in order to get them involved in commercial farming’[415]. Subsidised loans of between N$400k-500k, repayable over 25 years with a three year grace period, are available to applicants with at least 150 cattle or corresponding small-stock, and initial capital of N$150k, with AgriBank loaning 85% of purchase price and government guaranteeing to pay 35% of the loan[416].

The first socio-ecological survey is conducted in March by the MET involving Topnaar in the Namib-Naukluft Park in which a delegation of MET representatives, government and NGO representatives and Topnaar leaders visit 10 of 13 Topnaar settlements ‘to discuss natural resource use, conservation and future development’ within the Park[417]. The aim is to produce ‘management proposals ... which integrates the needs and aspirations of the Topnaar people with the needs and objectives of conservation within the Namib-Naukluft Park’[418]. Requests made by the ǂAonin during this survey included: the removal of at least some problem animals (jackal and hyaena); the distribution of benefits from conserving wildlife to local people through receiving meat from culled wildlife and a percentage of Park visitor’s fees, and through the involvement of ǂAonin people as tourism guides; and the recognition of land rights allowing development within the ǂAonin settlements in the Park, and preventing detrimental effects from external sources on the !nara fields[419]. It is agreed that the Topnaar are ‘to become equal partners with the MET in the co-management of the Park’ and that they will benefit from living in the Park[420].

Ferreira withdraws from partnership at Hobatere tourism concession[421].

Regional Councillors are elected to Regional Government offices for the first time[422].

In this year a large-scale movement of livestock away from the western and southern Odendaal farms takes place towards better grazing in the east and north and along the Ugab, Huab and Omaruru Rivers[423]. At the same time the Aukeigas (!Ao-ǁAexas) community, who had been forcibly moved to the farm Sorris-Sorris in 1956, expressed their disgust at the marginal and drought-affected conditions under which they were constrained to live by moving to and squatting outside their ancestral lands near Windhoek (now Daan Viljoen Game Reserve)[424].

In association with Save the Rhino Trust, anthropologist Sian Sullivan (University College London) begins ethnobotany and resource-use field research in west Namibia at Kowareb on the Hoanib River, which develops into PhD research in 1994-1996 [see 1998] and post-doctoral research in 1999-2000 in multiple locations in the former ‘Damaraland Homeland’ / southern Kunene Region.


The new Government of the Republic of Namibia (GRN) decides that the tourism concessions of the northwest should fall under the Directorate of Tourism in the MET, with Palmwag Lodge, the western and estern concessions and Hobatere renewed annually until 1995[425].

A five-year Living in a Finite Environment (LIFE) project, based on bilateral agreement between the Namibian government and USAID[426], brings major donor funding (WWF and USAID) to the CBNRM project in Namibia, permitting the emergence of a ‘national programme’ ‘involving partnerships between government, NGOs and rural communities’ – extended in 1999[427]. WWF is awarded a ‘leader with associate’, a ‘cooperative agreement’ for the NGO to provide technical assistance to Namibian counterparts[428].


Chief Control Warden, Danie Grobelaar, approves ‘the cropping of 900 animals (of six species), that would be carried out by the local hunters appointed by their traditional leaders’, with monitoring at hunting camps by MET officers and support from IRDNC for ammunition and transport to enable distribution of meat[429]. Thus by this year,

the trust between the MET and the Kaokoland community improved so greatly that the Kaokoland community was permitted to conduct its own annual cull in the form of species-regulated hunting during a stipulated hunting season … [a] conservative estimate of the value of meat distributed to communities after the 1993 hunt was 147868 Namibian dollars (US$25900).[430]

Namibia’s Black Rhino Custodianship Program (BRCP) begins on 14 April, ‘when the first six animals [from national parks] were translocated to a freehold farm under a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the farmer and MET [presumably then MWCT]’[431]. On 29 July five more black rhino are moved to a second farm, these two farms having a combined area of 29,300 hectares (72,400 acres)[432]. Black rhinos are state-owned but ‘white rhinos are not part of the custodianship program because they can be privately owned’:

[t]he concept of the Black Rhino Custodianship Program is that breeding nuclei of the animals be relocated as free-ranging populations to suitable habitat on farmland and communal conservancies where the landholders are willing and able to undertake the responsibility of providing basic care and security to them.

   Other prerequisites for the BRC Program are that the applicant must be a bona fide landowner; the property must be appropriately fenced for black rhino; the property must be at least 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres) and financially sound; and the applicant must be willing to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism [covering ownership, care, monitoring, research and filming, etc.].[433] 

Applying properties are assessed and scored ‘by senior MET officials and the Protected Resources Division of the Namibian Police’[434].

Topnaar representatives from Walvis Bay and Windhoek establish a fishing company and secure a fishing quota[435].


A prominent Gobabis rancher in the Omaheke is ‘caught in a police sting operation in South Africa with forty-two elephant tusks and six rhino horns’ and one of the three farms he sells so as to pay his fine is Skoonheid which becomes a resettlement farm for Ju|’hoansi[436].

Anthropologist and environmental historian Rick Rohde (University of Edinburgh) begins masters and then doctoral field research in the former ‘Damaraland’, focusing especially on Okombahe [see 1997].


Justus ǁGaroëb becomes ‘King of the Damara’[437]. The People’s Land Conference is held in Windhoek in September[438]. Namibia’s second democratic election is held in November.

Walvis Bay is re-integrated into Namibia through Transfer of Walvis Bay to Namibia Act, 1993 [No. 203 of 1993][439], meaning that Topnaar of the Lower !Khuiseb have to change their national identity from South Africa to Namibian, causing a loss of income because of lower pensions in Namibia[440]. In January Seth Kooitjie and some of his Councillors invite private company Olympia Reisen to the lower !Khuiseb ‘to investigate the potential for a joint tourist venture in the area’[441], through securing ‘a concession which will allow Namib Naukluft Holiday Resorts (Pty) Ltd to act as sole tourist operator in the Namib Naukluft Park’[442].

By this year, community-based conservation approaches in Kaokoveld contexts are vulnerable to lack of promised reciprocity by state depts. (e.g. MWCT not fulfilling understood commitments to drill boreholes in return for Etunga community’s protection of wildlife) and [33] the community in southern Kaokoveld that implemented a culling program in 1993 does not consider it has the capacity to do so again[443]. Some people move southwards from Opuwo to Omatendeka due to drought in this year 1994, did not return, even after the rains came in 1995 and in 2004 are considered to have permanently settled in the area[444]. Three rhino are poached in the north-west this year[445].

Following a ‘socioecological’ survey conducted by the MET in north-west Kunene in 1994, which included presentation of the concept of natural resource management under a locally-controlled conservancy, an interview-based survey was conducted among a small (n = 28) but broadly representative sample of Damara-speaking members of the Sesfontein ‘community’. This survey indicated that, of the people interviewed, none attended the discussion meeting in Sesfontein, and the vast majority had not been informed of the meeting nor that they had a right to be present[446].

Map with general language group locations indicated in red – notice how Etosha National Park is positioned here within Kunene Region. Source: from Stolls 1994, p. 26, reproduced in Mans and Olivier 2005, p. 17.

The Draft UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is finalised ‘after years of discussion and negotiation between and among indigenous groups and UN representatives’[447].

In 1994, the north-eastwards pattern of movement of 1992 is to some extent reversed, with farmers from the drought-stricken Khorixas and Kamanjab areas moving south towards the Ugab River[448].


Anthropologist Michael Bollig (University of Cologne) begins oral history and ethnographic research in especially the Epupa area on the Kunene of northern Kaokoveld’ with Herero-speaking peoples of north-western Namibia and south-western Angola ([7] which include Hakaona, Thwa (who specialise ‘as smiths, potters and magicians’), Zemba, Kuvale, Koroka (who ‘gain some income from … the treatment of individuals who are possessed by spirits from neighbouring ethnic groups’), Ndimba, Tjavikwa and Tjilenge)[449]. He finds here a ‘system of CPR [Common Property Resource] management … to be fairly settled and successful’ (revising this perspective in 2004-2005 after finding little of this ‘stability’ remained[450]).

Anthropologist Sian Sullivan (University College London) begins ethnographic and ‘ethno’/ecology research in localities of the Damaraland Communal Land Area for a PhD in Anthropology, building on several months field research in the vicinity of Kowareb on the Hoanib River, and in north-central Namibia, in 1992[451].  


Local communities in northern Kaokoveld are contesting government plans to build a large hydro-power project at Epupa Falls on the Kunene, with leaders travelling to Norway and Sweden to voice their concerns[452].


Namibia’s Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act No. 6 (ACLRA) is passed by Parliament in March, including proposals for ‘redistributing farms fenced for freehold tenure and commercial production by European farmers, to farmers from … communal areas’, an eventuality for which Namibia has historic precedents through the Odendaal reforms ‘which included the incorporation of commercial farm-land into the communal areas of … Damaraland and ... Namaland’[453]. The Act becomes the most important legal tool dealing with land reform in Namibia, with several amendments since its commencement in 1995, indicating its inadequacies as a blueprint for land reform. The purpose of the Act, as set out in the preamble, is to:

Provide for the acquisition of agricultural land by the State for the purposes of land reform and for the allocation of such land to Namibian citizens who do not own or otherwise have the use of any agricultural land, and foremost to those Namibian citizens who have been socially disadvantaged by the past discriminatory laws or practices; to vest in the State a preferential right to purchase agricultural land for the purposes of the act; to regulate the acquisition of agricultural land by foreign nationals, to establish a Land tribunal and determine its jurisdiction; and to provide for matters connected therewith.[454]

Regarding land distribution, and as summarised by Sullivan,

[t]he purpose of the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act is to provide stated mechanisms to enable the Minister of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (MLRR) to acquire, with appropriate compensation, agricultural land under free- or leasehold tenure, and to reallocate this land to Namibian citizens with ‘inadequate’ agricultural land. The imposition of a land tax to be paid by owners of agricultural land as stated in Section 76, can be anticipated to act as an incentive to at least some land owners to place their land holdings on the market.

   Under the Act, a Land Reform Advisory Commission is to be established for the purposes of advising the Minister in all matters related to land acquisition and allotment. This Commission is comprised of two officers from both the MLRR and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development (MAWRD), nominated members of designated organisations involved in agricultural affairs', one person nominated by the Agricultural Bank of Namibia, and five 'suitably qualified' persons, including at least two women, who are not employed in the public sector (Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act, 1995: 8-9). Each member shall be appointed by the Minister with approval of the National

Assembly to hold office for three years, and may be re-appointed on the expiry of this term of office. A Lands Tribunal is also established under the Act to mediate conflict between recommendations [6] made by the Minister in consultation with the Advisory Commission, and the owners and lessees of agricultural land.

   The categories of agricultural land available for possible acquisition, as described in Sections 14(2) of the Act, include:

  • land offered for sale, to which, as stated in Section 17, ‘the State shall have the preferent right to purchase’ at the price specified by the owner intending to alienate such land [although negotiations may be entered into if the purchase price is considered too excessive, p. 18] (Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act, 1995: 17). The legal rights of the owner, their heirs, co-owners and trustees are explicitly protected by the Act;
  • land considered by both the MLRR and the MAWRD as inadequately or under-utilised for agricultural purposes and, following classification as such, may be acquired at a value determined by the State;
  • similarly, land holdings exceeding two economic units as defined for different agro-ecological zones may be acquired by the State either in their entirety or as portions of land holdings.

   Section 20 of the Act states that in the latter two cases ‘if the Minister, acting on the recommendation of the Commission, and the owner of such property are unable to negotiate the sale of such property by mutual agreement, the Minister may, subject to the payment of compensation ..., expropriate such property’ (Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act, 1995: 20-1).

   Land owned and acquired by the State may be allocated to Namibian citizens considered to have access to inadequate land for farming purposes. Section 38 makes provision for the subdivision of land acquired under the Commercial (Agricultural) Land Reform Act into surveyed holdings for small-scale farming purposes (Commercial (Agricultural) Land Reform Act, 1995: 37). These holdings will usually be offered for lease with the option to purchase the farming unit after five years from the commencement of the lease. Notification of the availability of this land is to be made in the area in which the land is situated, including information regarding the delineation of farming units, the terms and conditions attached to allotment, and the minimum qualifications required of applicants, as stated in the ‘allotment plan’ prepared for land in question by the Advisory Commission. Under the conditions attached to the allotment of agricultural land as laid out in the Commercial (Agricultural) Land Reform Act lessees are required to use the land for farming purposes only, except with permission from the Minister to embark on other ventures, and are expected to maintain certain standards with regard to farming practices and maintenance of farm improvements (Commercial (Agricultural) Land Act, 1995: 42-3).

   When viewed in the context of the possibilities for land redistribution discussed at the Land Reform Conference of 1991 [see 1991] …  this Act can be seen to be following a path somewhere in the middle of the first two options described above. For [7] example, while not specifying the level of ‘wealth’ necessary to qualify for land holdings in this scheme, the term ‘minimum qualifications’ indicates possible exclusion of the poorest communal farmers, particularly if allotments are available under leasehold tenure only. The emphasis on individual land holdings also appears to preclude the option of simply enlarging the existing communal areas, and may possibly hamper the development of group or cooperative ranching efforts as a means of effecting appropriate livestock management strategies and incorporating absentee herders within the communal pastoral system.[455]

Also in this year,

a draft of the long-awaited Draft Communal Lands Bill indicates that land allocation and management in the communal areas will be vested in Regional Boards comprised of representatives of the MLRR, local authorities and traditional leaders, community members and government extension workers (Draft Communal Lands Bill, 1995: 4). These Regional Boards will thus have the power to allocate land rights under customary law in Communal Land falling under its jurisdiction, to cancel these rights, to allot land, and to demarcate land into economic holdings (Draft Communal Lands Bill, 1995: 6). A land tax will be imposed on all communal land to be paid annually to the Government, at least part of which will be allocated to the Land Development Fund, established for purpose of development and improvement of communal lands (Draft Communal Lands Bill, 1995: 42-4, 50).

   Provision for the subdivision of communal land into alienated land holdings is made in various ways. First, for example, any person or group of persons holding recognised rights to communal land is 'entitled to convert such holding into a leasehold tenure of one hundred years', providing this takes 'into consideration local customary law' (Draft Communal Lands Bill, 1995: 30). Similarly, vacant communal land may be delineated and allotted by a Regional Board as economic land units, subject to approval of the Minister. Approved allotments would then be publicised and allocated in a procedure similar to that described above for commercial land acquired by the State. Also set out in the Communal Lands Bill is the establishment of a Lands Adjudication Commission for the purpose of mediating any dispute arising with regard to Communal Land.[456]

The Namibian government publishes its first National Development Plan, focusing on economic progress and growth and increasing the quality of life for all Namibians through industrial development[457].

Traditional Authorities Act no. 17 passed in parliament placing TAs under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Regional and Local Government and Housing (MRLGH) and reducing their former status as political leaders by disallowing the simultaneous holding of political and traditional offices, thereby emphasising their judicial and cultural roles[458]. Nonetheless, each TA is entitled to two seats in the Council of Traditional Leaders which advises the President[459], cf. of the 36 chiefs recognised in ‘Kaokoland’ prior to 1990 ‘only 2 were acknowledged by the new government’[460], cf. of the 36 chiefs recognised in ‘Kaokoland’ prior to 1990 ‘only 2 were acknowledged by the new government’[461].

Exceptional rain year in west Namibia.


An MET position paper is produced on ‘Wildlife management, utilisation and tourism on communal land: using conservancies and wildlife councils to enable communal area residents to use and benefit from wildlife on their land’, describing conservancies on freehold land as:

A group of farms on which neighbouring landowners have pooled their resources for the purpose of conserving and utilising wildlife on their combined properties. The conservancy concept does not have to be restricted to the commercial farming areas, but can be extended to communal land as well.[462]

Cabinet passes the Wildlife Management, Utilisation and Tourism Policy of 1995[463] in Namibia makes it possible to implement suitable institutional conditions that allow the implementation of conservancies on communal land[464]. The aim of this policy in Namibia is to promote the development of rural communities that live close to the wildlife, along with the legal and sustainable use of that wildlife, and other natural resources outside unsettled protected areas. The objective is to demonstrate the positive role that wildlife, and its habitat, can have in land-use planning for socio-economic development at local, regional and national levels.[465] The Act proclaims that:


·           the right to utilise and benefit from wildlife on communal land should be devolved to a rural community that forms a conservancy in terms of the Ministry’s policy on conservancies;

·           each conservancy should have the rights to utilise wildlife within the bounds of the conservancy to the benefit of the community. Once a quota for each available species has been set, the conservancy members may decide how these animals may be utilised. They may decide to allow hunting by members of the conservancy, culling of game for meat, the sale of animals for trophy hunting, or the live sale of game;

·           the conservancy should be able to enter into a business arrangement with private companies to carry some or all of these activities;

·           the conservancy would also have the right to establish tourism facilities within its boundaries or engage in a commercial agreement with a registered tourism operator to act on its behalf.[466] 

Conservancies on communal land are thereby defined as,

a community or group of communities within a defined geographic area who jointly manage, conserve and utilise the wildlife and other natural resources within the defined area.[467]

The policy states that,

residents should have clearly defined physical boundaries (e.g., a physical description of geographic boundaries or a map sketch must be appended to the conservancy application), a representative management body elected from the community, and a constitution in order for the conservancy to be registered. … [and] requires that the neighbouring communities and conservancies must have accepted the conservancy boundaries before it can be registered. Thus establishing conservancy boundaries is a complex social process that requires consensus and negotiation among rural residents. … [although often] described as aligning with pre-existing community territories.[468]

Policy on the Promotion of Community-Based Tourism is also published,

[t]his policy provides a framework for ensuring that local communities have access to opportunities in tourism development and are able to share in the benefits of tourism activities that take place on their land. The policy recognises that where tourism is linked to wildlife and landscapes, the benefits to local communities can provide important incentives for conservation of these resources. The policy document states that MET will give recognised communal area conservancies concessionary rights to tourist lodge development within conservancy boundaries.[469] 

Namibia’s Environmental Assessment Policy for Sustainable Development and Environmental Conservation is published, advising that all development projects should incorporate an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA): designed to ensure that all environmental issues (ecological and social) are examined carefully to ensure that potentially adverse effects (costs) are minimized or mitigated whilst positive effects (benefits) are maximised; plus no development should proceed where unacceptable adverse impacts are likely to occur[470].

The lessees to the northwest tourism concessions are given 5-year concessions, ‘with the option of a five-year renewal’[471]. The Palmwag / western concession ‘excluded the area north of the Uniab watershed and east of the lower Hoanib gorge, but was extended to the river’s north bank (previously the middle of the river) in the gorge’[472].

The Etendeka [eastern] concession lease is renewed with the Palmfontein area excluded (i.e. ‘to include only the area from the Grootberg southwards to the Vet. Cordon Fence’[473]) (Palmfontein - a former Afrikaans settler farm** - now inhabited by Headman Josef Japuhwa of Omuramba in SE Kaokoland, see above) and ‘[s]ubsequently, many more cattle-owners from Omuramba, Otjikovares and Warmquelle’ move into this ‘original eastern concession area’[474].

A second ‘community game harvesting operation’ is carried out[475]. One rhino is poached in the northwest in this year[476].

Further north, in Kaokoveld towards the Kunene, boreholes in Epupa-Okangwati area facilitate the expanded use of dry season pastures and also foster southwards mobilities leading to new areas becoming named settlement places (e.g. ‘Oheuva, Outjova and Ovizorombuku) and other temporary places settled becoming settled more permanently (e.g. Omuhandja and Eyao)[477]. Bollig observes that ‘[e]nvironmental degradation was already severely felt in sedimentary basins in 1995’, such as the Omuhonga and Hoarusib basins (although he had not worked in these areas prior to the mid-1990s), [58] although notes that herders ‘related vegetational degradation to the imponderability of rainfall and had rejected the idea that the phenomenon was related to high livestock numbers’[478].

‘Pastoral tenure and mobility in 1995’ - boreholes in north Kaokoveld (Epupa-Okangwati area) facilitate the expanded use of dry season pastures and also foster southwards mobilities. Source: scan from Bollig 2006, p. 45.

Elias Xoagub acquires a PTO to the land of the Aba-Huab campsite and surrounding areas he has established in the preceding years, thereby strengthening his land use rights and becoming attractive to family and friends who become his employees at the campsite and Twyfelfontein rock art, including a Peter Ukongo(?) who leaves following disagreement over the distribution of tourism revenue[479]. Ukongo gains permission from the TA (which?) to settle on a nearby farm (which?) and becomes regional councillor for Uibasen following the conservancy legislation.


It is observed that ‘nothing has changed’ regarding the outcomes promised in the Topnaar-Namib-Naukluft socio-ecological (1992)[480]. Here, Kooitjie and community are increasingly wary of commercial company Olympia Reisen taking control and ownership of tourism developments in the Namib Naukluft Park and turn down the proposal made in 1993[481]. Topnaar leaders instead establish ǂAonin Fishing and secure a fishing concession potentially worth millions of dollars with a Board of Directors ‘comprised of three Topnaar representatives and an unknown number of non-Topnaar businessmen’; with a trust in Kooitjie’s name to be created through which a 10% share of the profits would be directed to heads of households in Topnaar settlements, who would ‘be expected to distribute their share equally among families in their settlement’, although research indicates limited awareness of the company, or of the Olympia Reisen proposals above[482].

An exceptional rain year in west Namibia. Sian Sullivan becomes first Research Associate of DRFN and is awarded a grant of N$3,000 to construct exclosure plots for studying impacts of herbivory pastures in the vicinity of Sesfontein-Warmquelle-Kowareb[483].


‘[S]ome Herero cattle owners also crossed the Hoanib/Uniab watershed’[484].

Chief H. Kapika [see 1983, 2001] gains in reputation in the fight against a hydropower station at Epupa Falls

The South African San Institute (SASI) lodges a ǂKhomani land claim in South Africa ‘under the legal framework of the post-Apartheid constitution’, led by lawyer Roger Chennels[486].


The Nature Conservation Amendment Act no. 5 of June 1996 (the ‘communal area conservancy legislation’) is passed, amending the 1975 Nature Conservation Ordinance, stopping subsistence hunting under the control of traditional leaders in favour of annual quotas for trophy and ‘own-use’ hunting being applied for by ‘registered conservancies that had wildlife management plans approved by the MET’[487]. Thereby extends to communal area residents the state’s authority over ‘(conditional) ownership rights over wildlife, previously only granted to private landowners’[488], allowing for the formation of Communal Area Conservancies that gives consumptive and non-consumptive utilisation rights to wildlife to communities in rural areas. The legislation recognises ‘the tourism concession areas as leases that could not be included within the boundaries of a conservancy’[489]. Thus,

[i]nstead of using fencing and the size of farms as conditions for gaining ownership over huntable game and the right to use other species, the Nature Conservation Amendment Act sets conservancy formation as the condition upon which ownership and use rights over game are granted to communal area residents. The act uses conservancies as the means by which limited rights to manage and benefit from wildlife and tourism are given to a specified group of people living in communal areas.[490] 

The Act also extends possibilities for wildlife us by freehold land owners[491].

Combined with Amendment of Regulations Relating to Nature Conservation ‘to clarify certain issues relating to the formation of conservancies and Wildlife Councils’, and requiring ‘a conservancy committee to provide a register containing the names, identification numbers and addresses of the members of the [207] community to be represented by the committee’ and specifying ‘certain issues which must be covered by the conservancy constitution’[492].


The new Government of the Republic of Namibia (GRN) decides that the tourism concessions of the northwest should fall under the Directorate of Tourism in the MET, with Palmwag Lodge, the western and eastern concessions and Hobatere renewed annually until 1995[493].

In November year Safari Club International’s Pretoria-based ‘African Chapter’ publishes an almost 200 page report dedicated to ‘Africa’s “UNSUNG HEROES,” professional hunters, safari operators and amateur hunters’[494]. This Strategic Plan For Africa set out to identify ‘what actions will be necessary to see Africa remain the greatest hunting grounds in the world as we enter into the 21st Century’[495]. Intended as a ‘road map’ for securing these hunting grounds the report advocated expansion of trophy hunting entrepreneurship under SCI’s auspices. It argued that the role of SCI African Chapter and SCI International as ‘the market place for trophy hunting’ should be boosted, and that trophy hunting should be promoted ‘as a tool for conservation, wildlife management, economic and rural development’[496].

Grootberg Farmers’ Union (ǂKhoadiǁhoas) adopts a Forum for Integrated Management (FIRM) approach, to integrate donor activities in the area, particularly connected with NAPCOD, SARDEP (Sustainable Animal and Rural Development Programme), Communal Area Water Supply (CAWS) and LIFE[497].

So-called ‘traditional authorities’ have to re-register themselves[498].

Sian Sullivan publishes an analysis for UNAM’s Multi-disciplinary Research Centre on how former freehold farms in west Namibia were redistributed to qualifying Damara herders in the process of establishing the ‘Damaraland Homeland’: entitled The ‘communalization’ of former commercial farmland: perspectives from Damaraland and implications for land reform[499]. This MRC Research Report aims ‘to inform current debate concerning the possible “communalization of commercial land” through an analysis of the experiences of communal farmers on several farms in the old communal area of Damaraland’[500]. She reviews in detail documents and policies related to the 1991 Land Conference, the Commercial (Agricultural) Land Reform Act (1995) and the Draft Communal Lands Bill (1995), commenting in relation to communal land tenure reform as a development strategy that:

[i]nextricably tied up with the huge disparity in land distribution [at independence], is an equally large gap in wealth between many communal farmers and farmers in the commercial sector. The success of development strategies targeting the communal areas is thus seen as intimately related to the success of land reform policies. In the same way, dominant thinking within Namibia regarding what development means in the context of communal livestock farmers, can be expected to dictate the type of land tenure reform that is formulated in both the Commercial (Agricultural) Lands Reform Act, and the forthcoming Communal Lands Bill.

   As stated by Adams and Devitt (1992: 14), and as has been the case throughout dryland Africa, official thinking on the development of communal areas managed for livestock production remains firmly fixed on one path; that of ‘transforming traditional stock keepers into commercial farmers and replacing customary forms of land tenure with freehold or leasehold title’ through ‘the subdivision of communal land into fenced holdings’. The basis for this perception is the belief that ‘traditional’ livestock production systems and their accompanying tenure arrangements are mutually exclusive with improvements in productivity and the commercialisation of activities. It is held despite evidence from pastoral societies throughout Africa that the privatisation of communal land increases poverty and landlessness, widens the gap between rich and poor livestock owners, and contributes to environmental degradation.

   Within the Namibian context, the view that considers titled farms a necessity for development is extremely important because it automatically sets the agenda and tone of possibilities for communal land reform, perhaps prior to the adequate exploration of alternatives. Thus, while the existing focus on the subdivision of land acquired under the Commercial (Agricultural) Land Reform Act may be appropriate in situations where crop cultivation is the primary source of subsistence, evidence from both within Namibia and elsewhere in Africa suggests strongly that it may be inappropriate for livestock production systems under arid or semi-arid conditions. Also significant is the fact that it exists in the near absence of any systematic information regarding management strategies adopted by livestock farmers coping within, and modifying, the constraints and opportunities presented by the existing Namibian communal areas.[501]

She observes further that:

[s]ince the Land Conference, pressure to clarify land tenure in the communal areas has been expressed by those anxious to implement development or entrepreneurial activities but find it impossible to do so under the present ambiguous tenure situation. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), for example, which aims to promote wildlife conservation through concepts of ‘community ownership’ of wildlife as valued resources, maintains that the lack of clear tenure arrangements is ‘a disincentive to long-term planning and the sustainable use of resources’ (Jones, 1993: ii, 42). Both the MET and the Ministry of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation would like to see clear ‘land-use plans’ emerging for the communal areas which prioritise types of land-use, including wildlife conservation, according to the productive potential assessed for different areas. … The shape of future communal land tenure reform is dominated by centralised policy thinking based on the commercialisation of production activities, the standardisation of land and resource allocation procedures, and the division of both newly acquired commercial land and communal land into leased economic units. Analysis of land and resource management practices at local levels could usefully inform these perspectives by illuminating the different land management options utilised by individuals and families in communal lands, existing disparities in wealth within communal areas, and the realities of regional diversity. Following Biesele et al (1991: 2), “the real challenge is to balance Namibia’s new democratic ideology with ethno-economic realities”.[502] 

Sullivan’s report on the ‘communalisation’ of former freehold settler farms redistributed to Damara farmers through the creation of the Damaraland Homeland aims to:

i. to construct a picture of the 'on-the-ground' management of land and resources by communal farmers within the old commercial farm-land of southern Damaraland;

[11] ii. to place this picture within the context of current land reform debate

and the historical legacy of settlement in this area.[503]

Building on previous fieldwork by her in this area, field research (semi-structured, detailed interviews) is carried out ‘with household representatives at five farms on the Aba-Huab River, south-west of Khorixas’ at Blaauport 520, Malansrust 519 (known by Damara / ǂNūkhoen residing there as Nerida) and Malansrust-pos[504], Rietkuil 518, Driekrone 516 and Bankfontein 523,

to learn about local production systems, and particularly the enactment of communal management of resources by a relocated population within an area where, superficially at least, the landscape geography has been radically affected by its division into commercial

farming units.[505]

In this research, the term 'household',

is used here to describe groups of individuals who normally eat food prepared at the same fireplace. … there is a great deal of heterogeneity within households, as well as fluidity through time regarding household members. Generally speaking, however, household groupings are comprised of individuals normally related by kin, who both share an interest in, and benefit from, resources managed by the household group.[506]

At the time of study, ‘archival records exist for only two of the study farms, Rietkuil 518 and Driekrone 516, and restrictions are placed on public access to documents dated from 1965 on’[507].

In positioning this report Sullivan writes that:

[c]urrent perspectives regarding communal areas tend to be rather negative, both with regard to the environmental effects of settlement and land use in what are regarded as marginal areas, and the ability of communal farmers to appropriate for themselves the opportunities and resources presented by these new farming areas. UDF (1991: 5), for example, states that 'environmental catastrophe (is) imminent in most of the communal areas', while Adams and Devitt (1992: 7, 11), assert that 'these areas are profoundly impoverished and degraded' due to the increasing concentration of people around boreholes, and portray farmers as the mere passive recipients of forced removal who remain dependent on resources subsidised by the State.

   It is worth introducing a note of caution in response to these perspectives. First, such assertions regarding environmental degradation are made in the absence of empirical evidence and, as a visit to the Kunene Region following the rains of early 1995 dramatically emphasises, fail to take into account the importance of rainfall-driven, rather than livestock-controlled, primary productivity. Second, ... they overlook the fact that farmers also participated actively in the process of resettlement, and over the last two decades have evolved functioning systems of land, infrastructure and livestock management within a geographic pattern of settlement not of their creation.[508]


The estimated human population of Kunene Region is 64,000, with around 6,000 people living ‘close to the rhino range, dispersed in small villages and at natural water points occurring on the periphery of the rhino range’[509]. The Traditional Authorities Act no. 13 registers the Damara as one community - the Royal Damara House under a supreme leader (gaob) or ‘Paramount Chief’, Justus ǁGaroëb, even though this office is not recognised under original TAs Act (no. 17 of 1995), nor the later Act (no. 25 of 2000), with several Chiefs as Senior Traditional Councillors under this leader[510].

Haacke et al. publish a map of ‘approximate dialect areas of Khoekhoegowab’:


Approximate dialect areas of Khoekhoegowab. Source: Haacke et al. 1997, p. 129. 

Haacke et al. observe, for example, that although it is customary ‘in the literature’ to tag Haiǁom as “Bushmen”, in their opinion,

this is an unwarranted label, not withstanding the sero-genetic classification of i.a. Trevor Jenkins (1986, 1988). As reliable as his sero-genetic analysis may well be, it is only one aspect next to socio-economic and linguistic aspects. During interviews the Haiǁom consistently regarded themselves to kinshipwise be closer to the Damara, in particular the northern ǂAodama, than to their Saan neighbours (!Xû). Intermarriage between Damara and Haiǁom is said to be common.

   [131]It is noteworthy that the Haiǁom still maintain a custom by now lost among the Damara, but never practised among the !Xû: that of passing on the family name from mother to son and from father to daughter. (As Pastor Eiseb explained, this custom ensures the survival of both family names.

   Haiǁom informants were interviewed from mainly Namutoni (|Nammob) in the Etosha pan (where they work for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism) to Mangetti (Farm 6) in the north, and Tsintsabis and farm Choantsas (No 292) along the Omuramba Owambo (Haiǁom: ǁGâseb). This river is considered to be the traditional border between the Haiǁom and !Xû territory. Regrettably, no Haiǁom from Owambo could be interviewed (in the settled times before independence). The Haiǁom of Tsintsabis identified two further dialect groups next to themselves: the Xomkhoen (lit.: Thicket-people) or Xomhaiǁom of the Etosha Pan, and the |Gom(ai)khoen (lit.: Mangetti-people) in the Mangetti area [see 1913 for listed Haiǁom dialects]. Southwards the Haiǁom reach into the expanse of the |Gaiodama between Otavi and Otjiwarongo, and westwards into the region of the Auridama between Outjo and Otjikondo.[511]        

Through research in the triangle between Tsumeb, Grootfontein and Otavi (on farm Ossa and the old mission farm Ghaub) ‘in a territory where Damara, Haiǁom and !Xû converge’, Haacke et al. also recognise ‘Ghaub Damara’ as ‘a dialect distinct from Haiǁom and Central Damara[512]. 

Haiǁom, under the leadership of the desingated chief Willem |Aib demonstrated at the gates of the ENP to claim Etosha as their ancestral land and prevented tourists from entering the park. 73 Haiǁom were placed in custody, bailed out later on. The fate of the Haiǁom achieved national and international recognition, also due to the violent measures taken by the police.[513]

An evaluation of the Namibian CBNRM programme concludes that the conservancy legislation has caused a shift in emphasis for Kaokoveld communities ‘from protection of the wildlife resource linked to the receipt of a few financial benefits to sustainable use and management of the resource in order to realise substantial benefits’[514], the implications being that:

The CGGs will continue to carry out similar functions and they will continue to be an expression of communities' commitment to wildlife conservation. However, the information they gather will increasingly be geared towards assisting the conservancies in the sustainable management of wildlife and tourism.

The CGGs will be the professional wildlife managers of the conservancy, and will be required, for example, to use their knowledge of game numbers and distribution to advise the conservancy committee on setting quotas for utilization.

Another implication of the conservancy formation is that where headman once played a prominent role in the appointment of CGGs, and the game guards reported to the headmen, the CGGs will in the future be responsible to conservancy members as represented by the conservancy committee.[515]

UK anthropologist Rick Rohde (University of Edinburgh) completes his PhD entitled Nature, Cattle Thieves and Various Other Midnight Robbers: Images of People, Place and Landscape in Damaraland, Namibia[516].

With 10 oral testimonies from mostly elderly (over 70 years) Herero-speaking men in northern Kaokoveld[517], Bollig publishes a map of the positioning of Herero-speaking peoples in north-west Namibia and south-west Angola (no locations of past or present Khoekhoegowab-speaking peoples are included):

‘Ethnic Groups of North-Western Namibia and South-Western Angola’. Source: scan from Bollig 1997, p. 8.


Rhino census finds that numbers have doubled since 1982, ‘calculated from animals identified in 1986/7’ (see above)[518]. The lions resident in the eastern concession area survive ‘until the mid-nineties’[519].

[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 this document 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] Joubert 1984, p. 12, author translation from Afrikaans with help of Google Translate 30 August 2020.

[4] Boois 2017, p. viii.

[5] Lau / Andersson 1987, viii.

[6] Timm 1998, p. 145.

[7] ǁGaroes 2022.

[8] Botha 2005, p. 180.

[9] Joubert 1984, p. 14.

[10] Tinley 1971, p. 14.

[11] Hall-Martin et al. 1988, p. 62. Heydinger (2021, p. 75) writes that this report was commissioned in 1969.

[12] Tinley 1971, p. 14.

[13] Tinley 1971, p. 3.

[14] Tinley 1971, p. 6.

[15] Tinley 1971, p. 3.

[16] Tinley 1971, p. 4.

[17] Tinley 1971, p. 4, also pp. 6-7.

[18] Tinley 1971, p. 4.

[19] Tinley 1971, pp. 4-5.

[20] Tinley 1971, p. 5.

[21] Tinley 1971, p. 11.

[22] Tinley 1971, pp. 11, 13.

[23] Tinley 1971, p. 13.

[24] Tinley 1971, p. 5.

[25] Tinley 1971, p. 6.

[26] Heydinger 2021, p. 78.   

[27] Tinley 1971, pp. 7-11.

[28] Heydinger 2021, p. 77.   

[29] Heydinger 2021, p. 77.   

[30] BAD 1970[**?], p. 15 in Heydinger 2021, p. 80.  

[31] Lee and Hurlich 1982, p. 333.

[32] see e.g. Gordon 1992; Lee and Hurlich 1982, pp. 185-192; Sharp and Douglas 1996.

[33] Dieckmann 2007a, p. 177.

[34] Joubert 1971, p. 37.

[35] Kambatuku 1996, p. 5**.

[36] Sullivan 1996, pp. 19-20.

[37] Kambatuku 1996, p. 4.

[38] Kambatuku 1996, p. 4, also see Sullivan 1996 for more detail on this process.

[39] Paksi and Pyhälä 2018, p. 201, after Boden 2009.

[40] Bollig 2009, p. 331.

[41] Bollig and Heinemann 2002, p. 294.

[42] Bollig 2006, p. 43.

[43] Powell 1998, p. 23.

[44] Stamm 2016, p. 111 and references therein.

[45] Jacobsohn 2019, p. 8.

[46] Moritz 2015, p. 7.

[47] Also Moritz 1970, p. 83f.

[48] ǁGaroes 2022.

[49]  ǁGaroes 2022.

[50]  ǁGaroes 2022.

[51] From Kambatuku 1996, p. 5**.

[52] ANVO for ANke and VOlker Grellmann.

[53] Jacobsohn 1998(1990), p. 16.

[54] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 29.

[55] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 32. Nb. detail on relationships between Tjimba and and Herero in 1952 suggests more complexity than this, SWAA.2513.A552/1, Minutes of meeting held at Ohopoho, 7-16 April 1952.

[56] Owen-Smith 1972, pp. 36-37.

[57] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 32. This assertion seems contradicted by Van Warmelo’s 1947 observations, as well as by more recent oral history research, Sullivan et al. 2019a, b.  

[58] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 33.

[59] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 36.

[60] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 33.

[61] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 34.

[62] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 34.

[63] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 33.

[64] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 34.

[65] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 34.

[66] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 36.

[67] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 37.

[68] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 36.

[69] Owen-Smith 1972, p. 37.

[70] Reardon 1986, pp. 12-13, 16.

[71] Bridgeford 2018, p. 17.

[72] **ref?

[73], accessed 17 May 2022.

[74] ǁGaroeb 2022.

[75] ǁGaroes 2022.

[76] Bridgeford 2018, p. 17.

[77] Berry 1997, p. 3.

[78] Heydinger 2021, p. 88 drawing on Hoole and Berkes **.

[79] Heydinger 2021, p. 89.

[80] Germishuys and Staal 1979, p. 115.

[81] Jacobson 1981, p. 9.

[82] Wadley 1979, p. 24.

[83] Powell 1998, p. 23.

[84] Powell 1998, p. 23 after Owen-Smith 1983, p. 4, Hall-Martin 1988, p. 64, Owen-Smith and Jacobsohn 1991, p. 10.

[85] De la Bat 1982, p. 21.

[86] Hall-Martin et al. 1988, p. 62.

[87] ǁGaroëb 2017, p. v.

[88] Sullivan 1996, pp. 19-20.

[89] Hearn 2003, p. 4.

[90] Joubert 1974.

[91] Joubert 1974, p. 35.

[92] Bridgeford 2018, p. 15 – Bridgeford indicates the paper was published in 1975.

[93] Joubert 1974, p. 35.

[94] Taylor 2012, p. 73.

[95] Bridgeford 2018, p. 18.

[96] Powell 1998, p. 23.

[97] Mosimane and Silva 2014, p. 87.

[98] Quoted in Abbiati et al. 2013, p. 17.

[99]Abbiati et al. 2013, pp. 17-18.

[100] Hearn 2003, p. 8.

[101] Hearn 2003, p. 13 referencing Joubert and Mostert 1975.

[102] ref**

[103] Gruntkowski and Henschel 2004, p. 43.

[104] Budack, 1977, p. 4.

[105] Van den Eynden et al. 1992, p. 5; Botelle and Kowalski 1995, pp. 2, 18.

[106] ǁGaroes 2022.

[107] ǁGaroes 2022;, accessed 18 May 2022.

[108], accessed 17 May 2022;, accessed 17 May 2022.

[109] UN n.d. online:, accessed 17 May 2022.

[110] ǁGaroes 2022.

[111] Du Pisani and Jacobson 1985, p. 109.

[112] Du Pisani and Jacobson 1985, p. 110.

[113] Silva and Motzer 2015.

[114] Silva and Motzer 2015.

[115], accessed 18 May 2022.

[116] Gaob Cornelius Goreseb and successors Judas Goreseb, Hosea Goreseb and Gaob Dawid Goreseb are acknowledged as ‘witnesses to the genocide by the German Schutztruppe…’, Boois 2017, p. 2.

[117] Boois 2017, p. iii.

[118] Du Pisani 1986, p. 18.

[119] Hearn 2003, p. 13 referencing Viljoen 1982.

[120] Clements et al. 1984, p. 217.

[121] Indicative figures – Heydinger 2021, p. 92 after Owen-Smith 2010, p. 365.

[122] Schoeman 1983: 16.

[123], accessed 18 May 2022.

[124] Du Pisani 1986, p. 3.

[125] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 2.

[126] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 11.

[127] Boois 2017, p. iii.

[128] Accessed 6 April 2021 – Reardon (1986, p. 24) attributes his death to SWAPO saying that ‘they thought him guilty of seeking common cause with the Windhoek administration’.

[129] Duncan Gilchrist pers. comm. Nov2014.

[130] See accessed 1 October 2015.

[131] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 2.

[132] Duncan Gilchrist pers. comm. Nov2014.

[133] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 2. Later Grellman’s ANVO Hunting Safaris also works in the Nyae Nyae area of Bushmanland, hiring Ju|’hoansi as guides - see Biesele and Hitchcock 2011, p. 201.

[134] Wenborn et al. 2022, p. 48.

[135] Haacke et al 1997, p. 130.

[136] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 2.

[137] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 11.

[138] ǁHawaxab 2019, p. 2.

[139] Germishuys and Staal 1979, p. 117.

[140] Germishuys and Staal 1979, p. 117.

[141] Jacobsohn 1998[1990], p. 45.

[142] Owen-Smith 2002, pp. 2, 8.

[143] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 2.

[144] Garth Owen-Smith quoted in Reardon 1986, p. 36.

[145] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 8.

[146] Sullivan personal observation and fieldnotes.

[147] Owen-Smith 2002, pp.8-9.

[148] Jacobsohn 1998(1990), pp. 9, 16.

[149] Jacobsohn 1998(1990), p. 16.

[150] De la Bat 1982, p. 22.

[151] Cosburn, Amy 1980, p. 77.

[152] ǁGaroes 2022.

[153] ǁGaroes 2022.

[154] ǁGaroes 2022.

[155] Bridgeford 2018, p. 18.

[156] Hinz 2013b, p. 15.

[157] See last accessed 23 September 2020.

[158] Heydinger 2021, p. 89, drawing on Berry 1982.

[159] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 11.

[160] Reardon 1986, p. 17.

[161] Kinahan 2001[1991], p. 8.

[162] Budack 1980a, in Dieckmann 2007a, p. 173.

[163] Budack 1980b, in Dieckmann 2007a, p. 174.

[164] Bollig 2006, p. 55.

[165] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 8.

[166] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 8.

[167] Reardon 1986, p. 56.

[168] Jacobsohn 1998(1990), p. 45; Hearn 2003, p. 13.

[169] Cf. Jacobsohn 1998(1990), p. 45.

[170] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 2. Lucas Mbomboro later works with Tommy Hall as his chief assistant in the government-led investigation into rhino poaching (2014-2015).

[171] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 2.

[172] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 7.

[173] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 2.

[174] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 7.

[175] Clements et al. 1984, p. 217, after IUCN, 1982.

[176] Owen-Smith 2010, p. 11.

[177] Bollig 2006, p. 59.

[178] Sullivan 1996, p. 18 after NEPRU 1992, in Rohde 1993, p. 31.

[179] Botha 2013, p. 241.

[180] Botha 2013, p. 242.

[181] Botha 2013, p. 242.

[182] Powell 1998, p. 24 after Jacobsohn 1991, pp. 210-211.

[183] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 12.

[184] Botha 2005, p. 188.

[185] Stamm 2016, p. 109.

[186] ǁGaroes 2022.

[187] Reardon 1986, p. 55.

[188] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 3;  Owen-Smith 2010, p. 6.

[189] Clements et al. 1984, p. 215.

[190] Jacobsohn 2019, p. 6.

[191] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 3.

[192] Reardon 1986, p. 17.

[193] Hearn 2003, p. 13.

[194] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 3.

[195] Taylor 2012, pp. 41-42.

[196] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 2.

[197] Reardon 1986, pp. 32-33.

[198] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 3.

[199] The incidence has been related to me (Sian Sullivan) repeatedly by Nathan himself in the mid-1990s, and later by Welhemina Suro Ganuses: ‘Nathan and his wife were looking after Gabriel Ganaseb’s (a kin relation living in Kowareb) child who was 3-4 years old. A lion came into the kraal – Nathan heard the goats and went to see what was wrong. When he saw it was a lion he went back to the house. The lion came and bit his wife on the shoulder. She put blankets in its mouth and Nathan came from bnehind and pulled at its ears. He shouted to his wife to run away with the child. She picked up blankets thinking the child was in them but she wasn’t. Nathan hit the lion with a stick and eventually it ran away. When they had run away the child stood up and the lion killed her’ (personal fieldnotes).

[200] Reardon 1986, p. 33.

[201] Reardon 1986, pp. 33-34.

[202] Clements et al. 1984, p. 217.

[203] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 8.

[204] Clements et al. 1984, p. 217 = total animals are just over 70.

[205] Hearn 2003, pp. iv, 13 referencing Loutit 1988.

[206] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 3.

[207] Jacobsohn 2019, pp. 6-8.

[208] De la Bat 1982, p. 16.

[209] De la Bat 1982, p. 18.

[210] De la Bat 1982, p. 21.

[211] De la Bat 1982, p. 22.

[212] De la Bat 1982, p. 18.

[213] Schoeman 1983: 14.

[214] Eichhorn and Vogelsang 2007, p. 159 after Loutit 1991.

[215] Marais 1984, pp. 6-7.

[216] Marais 1984: 11.

[217] Marais 1984, pp. 21-22.

[218] Marais 1984, pp.27-28.

[219] Marais 1984, pp. 31-32.

[220] Marai 1984, pp. 37-39.

[221] Marais 1984, pp. 40.

[222] Marais 1984, pp. 45.

[223] Marais 1984, p. 46, see also pages134, 136, 137.

[224] **ref?

[225] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 4, also p. 7.

[226] Clements et al. 1984, p. 215.

[227] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 2.

[228] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 3.

[229] Owen-Smith 1983, p. 5 in Powell 1998, p. 5..

[230] Powell 1998, p. 25 after Owen-Smith 1983, pp. 2, 5.

[231] Lachlow et al.  1993, p. 23.

[232] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 3; Pellis et al. 2015, p. 12. This history tends to be misrepresented. For example, Pellis et al. (2015, p. 10) report that IRDNC ‘became active through a Community Game Guard programme in 1982’, without recognising that the CGG initiative was started through discussion with members of the NWT some years prior to the establishment of IRDNC. Both Joshua Kangombe and Goliat Kasaona were former headmen at Warmquelle: Owen-Smith 2002, p. 3; Pellis et al. 2015, p. 12.

[233] Powell 1998, p. 26 after Owen-Smith 1983.

[234] Powell 1998, p. 26, also after Owen-Smith 1983.

[235] Jacobsohn 1998[1990], p. 44; ; thus also ‘he [Owen-Smith] and local black leaders were pioneering a radical new approach to conservation that gave black rural people on communal land the same rights [?] to wildlife that white farmers on freehold land already enjoyed’ – Jacobsohn 2019, p. xv.

[236] Jacobsohn 1998[1990], p. 44.

[237] Jacobsohn 1998[1990], p. 44.

[238] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 4.

[239] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 4, emphasis added.

[240] The SANF was founded in 1968 by South African billionaire businessman Dr Anton Rupert. It later became the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF SA). See:; both accessed 1 October 2015.

[241] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 4.

[242] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 4.

[243] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 4.

[244] Schoeman 1983: 14, 16.

[245] Bollig 2009, p. 348.

[246] **ref?

[247] Fuller 1993, p. 65.

[248] ǁGaroes 2022;, accessed 18 May 2022.

[249] ǁGaroes 2022; see, accessed 18 May 2022.

[250] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 5.

[251] UNIN 1986, p. 264.

[252] Clements et al. 1984, p. 215.

[253] Clements et al. 1984, p. 215.

[254] Clements et al. 1984, pp. 216-217.

[255] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 5.

[256] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 5.

[257] Jacobsohn 2019, p. ix.

[258] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 2.

[259] Botha 2005, p. 187.

[260] Botha 2005, pp. 187-188.

[261] ǁHawaxab 2019, pp. 4-5.  

[262] Joubert 1984, p. 14.

[263] Joubert 1984, p. 14.

[264] Clements et al. 1984, p. 217.

[265] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 5.

[266] Clements et al. 1984, p. 217.

[267] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 5.

[268] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 11.

[269] Jacobsohn 2019, p. xiv.

[270] Taylor 2012, p. 42.

[271] Reardon 1986, pp. 11, 17-18, 20-21.

[272] Reardon 1986, p. 24.

[273] Reardon 1986, pp. 25, 27.

[274] Reardon 1986, pp. 27-28.

[275] Reardon 1986, p. 29.

[276] Reardon 1986, pp. 30, 44.

[277] Reardon 1986, p. 38.

[278] Reardon 1986, pp. 38, 40.

[279] Reardon 1986, p. 40.

[280] Reardon 1986, p. 41.

[281] Reardon 1986, pp. 43-44.

[282] Reardon 1986, pp. 44-45.

[283] Reardon 1986, p. 47.

[284] Reardon 1986, p. 47.

[285] Reardon 1986, pp. 48-49.

[286] Equivalent to at least NAD20,000 in 2021, according to

[287] Reardon 1986, p. 51.

[288] Reardon 1986, p. 55.

[289] Reardon 1986, p. 61.

[290] Reardon 1986, pp. 61-62, 64.

[291] **ref?

[292] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 6.

[293] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 6.

[294] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 12.

[295] Jacobsohn 1998(1990), p. 44.

[296] Jacobsohn 2019, pp. xiv-xv.

[297] Hearn 2003, p. 13.

[298] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 8.

[299] Botha 2005, p. 183.

[300] **ref?

[301] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 6.

[302] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 6.

[303] Owen-Smith 2002, pp. 6-7.

[304] The grandfather of Welhemina Suro Ganuses.

[305] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 3.

[306] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 7.

[307] Hinz 2013b, p. 15.

[308] Powell 1998, pp. 26-27, after Jacobsohn 1991.

[309] Reardon 1986.

[310] UNIN 1986, p. 264 citing IUCN 1982.

[311] UNIN 1986, p. 264 citing IUCN 1984 figures.

[312] Haacke et al. 1997, p. 126.

[313] Jacobsohn 1998(1990), p. 55.

[314] Powell 1998, p. 27.

[315] Owen-Smith and Jacobsohn 1992, p. 3 in Powell 1998, p. 27.

[316] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 6.

[317] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 8.

[318] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 9, emphasis in original.

[319] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 9.

[320] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 9.

[321] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 10.

[322] ǁHawaxab 2019, p. 2.

[323] Haacke et al. 1997, p. 126.

[324] Bollig 2009, p. 331.

[325] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 11.

[326] Powell 1998, p. 26 after IRDNC 1994, p. 1.

[327] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 10.

[328] Bollig and Olwage 2016, p. 65 after Viljoen 1988, p. 48.

[329] Tommy Hall pers. Comm. via Facebook post 24 August 2020. Two more lots of giraffe were dropped off at Puros around two years later, over two years (John Paterson pers. comm. Via Facebook 24 August 2020.

[330] Jacobsohn 1998(1990), p. 44.

[331] Hall-Martin et al. 1988.

[332] Haacke et al. 1997, p. 126.

[333] 24 March 2020.

[334] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 11.

[335] Suzman 2017, p. 182.

[336] Stamm 2016, p. 109.

[337] Paksi and Phyhälä 2018, p. 202.

[338] Personal fieldnotes.

[339] Mosimane and Silva 2014, p. 87.

[340] Haacke et al. 1997, p. 130.

[341] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 7; also Rachlow 1993, p. 23; Hearn 2003, p. 14

[342] Hearn 2003, p. 15.

[343] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 7.

[344] Beinart 1989, pp.158-159.

[345] Haacke et al. 1997, pp. 125-126, referencing Vedder 1934, p. 116-117.

[346] ǁGaroes 2022; 18 May 2022.

[347] Article 95, Namibian Constitution 1990.

[348] Article 19, GRN 2014[1990].

[349] Sullivan 1996, p. 3 after Republic of Namibia, 1991b: 11.

[350] Sullivan 1996, p. 3 after SYL, n.d., p. 2.

[351] Sullivan 1996, p. 9 after Republic of Namibia 1991b, p. 54; Hangula 1995, p. 1.

[352] Sullivan 1996, p. 2 after President of Namibia 1991, p. 4; Adams and Devitt 1992, p. 1.

[353] Sullivan 1996, p. 2 after NEPRU 1991, p. 147.

[354] Sullivan 1996, p. 2. .

[355] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 11-12.

[356] Adams and Devitt 1992, p. 17. 

[357] Bollig 2006, p. 49.

[358] Owen-Smith 2002, p.12.

[359] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 7.

[360] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 11.

[361] Stamm 2016, p. 111 and references therein.

[362] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 5.

[363] Jacobsohn 1998[1990].

[364] Haacke 2018, p. 133.

[365] Haacke et al. 1997, p. 126.

[366] Mosimane and Silva 2014, p. 87.

[367] Berger et al. 1993, p. 923.

[368] Paksi 2020, p. 25 and references therein.

[369] Paksi 2020, pp. 25-26 and references therein.

[370] ǁGaroes 2022.

[371] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 7.

[372] **ref?

[373] Republic of Namibia 1991a.

[374] Werner and Odendaal 2010, p. 3.

[375] Sullivan 1996, pp. 2-3 after Republic of Namibia 1991, pp. 23-34.

[376] Office of the Prime Minister 1991: 29, in Melber 2019, p. 75.

[377] Sullivan 1991, p. 8 after Prime Minister of Namibia 1991, p. 14.

[378] Sullivan 1996, p. 9 after Rohde 1994, p. 12.

[379] Riruako 1991, p. 5. 

[380] DTA 1991, pp. 3-4.

[381] Rohde 1994, p. 12.

[382] Sullivan 1996, p. 9 following especially Rohde 1994.

[383] Sullivan 1996, p. 9 and references therein.

[384] Sullivan 1996, pp. 9-10 and references therein.

[385] Sullivan 1996, p. 10.

[386] Perspectives summarised in Sullivan 1996, pp. 8-10, and references therein.

[387] Prime Minister of Namibia 1991, p. 16 quoted in Sullivan 1996, p. 10.

[388] Sullivan 1996, p. 3 after Republic of Namibia 1991a, p. 28.

[389] Also Adams and Devitt 1992.

[390] Sullivan 1996, pp. 3-5 and references therein.

[391] Republic of Namibia 1991, p.  31 quoted in Sullivan 1996, p. 7.

[392] Sullivan 1996, p. 7 and references therein.

[393] Melber 2019, p. 76.

[394] Gawanas 2013, p. xi.

[395] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 10.

[396] !Uriǂkhob 2019[2004] p. ** [section 2.3.4].

[397] Berger et al. 1993, p. 920; Lachlow et al. 1993, p. 23.

[398] Hearn 2003, p. 15.

[399] National Planning Commission 1991.

[400] Bollig 2006, 59.

[401] !Ao-ǁAexas Community 1991.

[402] Berger et al. 1993, p. 920.

[403] Berger et al. 1993, p. 920.

[404] Berger et al. 1993, p. 923.

[405] Berger et al. 1993, p. 922.

[406] Bollig and Hienemann 2002, p. 295.

[407] Bollig and Hienemann 2002, pp. 294-295.

[408] Botelle and Kowalski 1997, p. 137.

[409] Botelle and Kowalski 1997, p. 1.

[410] The Damara Kings Council et al. 1993, p. **.

[411] New Era, 1992, in Rohde, 1993, p. 20 cited in Sullivan 1996, p. 20.

[412] Taylor 2102, p. 204.

[413] Schiffer 2004 in Stamm 2016, p. 81.

[414] Hearn 2003, p. 15.

[415] Abbiati et al. 2013, p. 18.

[416] In Abbiati et al. 2013, p. 53..

[417] Botelle and Kowalski 1997, p. 7.

[418] Jones, 1992, p. 1.

[419] Jones, 1992, p. 2-5.

[420] Botelle and Kowalski 1997, pp. 7-8.

[421] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 7.

[422] Botelle and Kowalski 1997, p. 137.

[423] Rohde 1993, p. 50, 1997, pp. 266-267.

[424] Nærua et al. 1993, pp. 107-110; Devereux 1996, pp. 16-17.

[425] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 11-12.

[426] Stamm 2016, p. 81; also 25 March 2020.

[427] Taylor 2012, p. 204.

[428] Stamm 2016, p. 81.

[429] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 10.

[430] Powell 1998, p. 26 after IRDNC 1994, p. 6.

[431] Kötting 2020, online.

[432] Kötting 2020, online.

[433] Kötting 2020, online.

[434] Kötting 2020, online.

[435] Botelle and Kowalski 1997, p. 40.

[436] Suzman 2017, p. 59.

[437] Stamm 2017, p. 109.

[438] Botelle and Kowalski 1997, p. 8.

[439]  Jill Kinahan 2017, p. 298.

[440] Botelle and Kowalski 1997, pp. 7-8.

[441] Botelle and Kowalski 1997, p. 120.

[442] Olympia Reisen and Kooitjie 1993 in Botelle and Kowalski 1997, p. 124.

[443] Powell 1998, pp. 32-33.

[444] !Uriǂkhob 2020[2004], p. 65.

[445] Hearn 2003, p. 15.

[446] Sullivan 1995, p.  2, 2002.

[447] Gordon 2007, p. xiii.

[448] Pers. obs., Sian Sullivan.

[449] Bollig 1997, pp. 6-7; Bollig 2020.

[450] Bollig 2006, p. 40.

[451] Konstant et al. 1995; Sullivan et al. 1995; Sullivan and Konstant 1997.

[452] Bollig 2006, p. 61.

[453] Sullivan 1996, p. 1.

[454] Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act 1995, p. 2 quoted in Sullivan 1996, p. 3; RoN 2003, quoted in Dieckmann 2011, p. 158.

[455] Sullivan 1996, pp. 5-7.

[456] Sullivan 1996, p. 7 and references therein.

[457] As reviewed in Paksi submitted, p. 1.  

[458] Taylor 2012, p. 84; Stamm 2017, p. 109.

[459] Taylor 2012, p. 85.

[460] Bollig 2006, p. 62.

[461] Bollig 2006, p. 62.

[462] MET 1995, p. 4.

[463] MET 1995.

[464] Taylor 2012, p. 204.

[465] !Uriǂkhob 2019[2004], p.**[section 1.1].

[466] MET 1995, p. 2, summarised in !Uriǂkhob 2019[2004], p. ** [section 2.3.2].

[467] MET 1995, p. 6 quoted in Mosimane and Silva 2014, p. 90.

[468] Mosimane and Silva 2014, p. 90 after MET 1995.

[469] Taylor 2012, p. 106.

[470] GRN 1995.

[471] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 11-12.

[472] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 12.

[473] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 12.

[474] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 9, i.e. from his perspective the hypostasis of land here is as conservation land, which erases prior histories, cf. the battle of Grootberg, etc. Thus livestock in the concession areas is framed as an ‘abnormality’, rather than an historical norm. There is no mention at all of historical Damara presence in these landscapes. He also doesn’t say anything anywhere about prior European farming in the area - e.g. there is an old farmhouse at Palmfontein and dams near Soaub.

[475] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 10.

[476] Hearn 2003, p. 15.

[477] Bollig 2006, pp. 43, 48.

[478] Bollig 2006, pp. 56, 58 – as also observed by Sullivan (2000, 2002) in her research in southern Kunene on perceptions of environmental change and dynamics.

[479] Silva and Motzer 2015.

[480] Botelle and Kowalski 1997, pp. 8, 132.

[481] Botelle and Kowalski 1997, pp. 124-125.

[482] Botelle and Kowalski 1997, pp. 125-126.

[483] See Sullivan 2000b, 2002b.

[484] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 9.

[485] Bollig 2009, p. 348.

[486] Taylor 2012, p. 152.

[487] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 10; also Taylor 2012, p. 204.

[488] Taylor 2012, p. 206; Stamm 2017, p. 79.

[489] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 12.

[490] Taylor 2012, p. 206.

[491] Mosimane and Silva 2014, p. 87.

[492] Taylor 2012, pp. 206-207.

[493] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 11-12.

[494] Safari Club International African Chapter 1996, p. x.

[495] Safari Club International African Chapter 1996, p. x.

[496] Safari Club International African Chapter 1996, p. 1..

[497] Stamm 2017, pp. 113, 116.

[498] Corbett and Daniels 1996 in Pellis et al. 2015, p. 15.

[499] Sullivan 1996.

[500] Sullivan 1996.

[501] Sullivan 1996, p. 8.

[502] Sullivan 1996, p. 10 and references therein.

[503] Sullivan 1996, pp. 10-11.

[504] Where there is now a luxury lodge in Doro !Nawas Conservancy, charging upwards of £400pp/night: 14 May 2021.

[505] Sullivan 1996, p. 11.

[506] Sullivan 1996, p. 11.

[507] Sullivan 1996, p. 11.

[508] Sullivan 1996, p. 20.

[509] Hearn 2003, p. v.

[510] **ref?

[511] Haacke et al. 1997, pp. 130-131.

[512] Haacke et al. 1997, p. 131.

[513] Dieckmann 2007, pp. 321-322; Koot and Hitchcock 2019, pp. 62-63.

[514] IRDNC & WWF 1997, p. 8 in Powell 1998, p. 36.

[515] IRDNC & WWF 1997, pp. 8-9 in Powell 1998, p. 36.

[516] Rohde 1997.

[517] Bollig with Mbunguha 1997.

[518] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 7.

[519] Owen-Smith 2002, p. 8.