!Nara harvesters of the Northern Namib

13th September 2018 at 19H00 at the lecture hall at the Museum

Sian Sullivan (Bath Spa University and Gobabeb Research and Training Centre) and Welhemina Suro Ganuses (Save the Rhino Trust Namibia) will talk about “!Nara harvesters of the Northern Namib”.

The talk will be in English.


!Nara harvesters of the Northern Namib”

The endemic plan !nara (Acanthosicyos hurridus Welw. Ex Hook.f.) of arid south-western Africa has been associated with use, exchange and cultural values for Khoe-speaking peoples in the !Kuiseb River valley in Namibia.

Oral histories recorded since the 1990s in the Namib north of the !Kuiseb, however, indicate that !nara harvesting and husbanding were also important for Khoe-speaking peoples in this more northerly area. Memories of places, life events and livelihood practices in the western reaches of ephemeral rivers north of the !Kuiseb have now been documented through returning with senior people to localities of past dwelling in these areas.

These are places from which people were progressively excluded, as access to the coastal areas of this northern part of Namibia became restricted for diamond mining (in the 1950s) and latterly due to the establishment of the Skeleton Coast National Park (in 1971). This paper presents material from on-site oral history research in remembered localities now closed to their former inhabitants.

In doing so it considers the significance of returning to past places in prompting recollections and re-imaginings of pasts often only present as faint traces (if at all) in formal historical record.

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