"One Namibia - One Nation" : A Qualitative Study of the Official Nation-building Process and Experienced Participation among Rural San in Namibia.

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för samhälls- och välfärdsstudier


Namibia won its independence in 1990 after a long liberation struggle lead by the – since independence ruling party – SWAPO. There is an ongoing nation-building process in the multiethnic country ever since, with a vision about a unified nation. This study examines the relationship between the nation and one of its ethnic minority groups; the San. From a socio-economic perspective the San is the most disadvantaged ethnic group of contemporary Namibia. How do members of San experience national participation? How does the nation handle the ethnic diversity? This study illustrates that a national identity is promoted by the government and that the struggle for an unified nation is legitimized with the liberation struggle and its won independence. At the same time members of San seem to identify their living situation with ethnicity and are more concerned about the survival of their closest community than national participation. The discussion is based on qualitative interviews where experiences among San-members and one NGO-volunteer are analysed with inspiration of the method Grounded Theory, related to earlier research on the field and theories of nationalism and ethnicity.

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