The Fine Line That Separates Us : Processes of Namibian Identity Making andEthnicity in a Border Region
Abstract: This paper investigates how an administrative border affects the identity making of peopleliving in the border region of Rundu, situated in northern Namibia adjacent to Angola. Thepurpose of the study is to investigate how ethnic and national identity is dependent on thespace it is fostered in. The focus has been on the state boundary from a micro level; to seehow the Namibians living in the area perceive their ethnic belonging and how they look uponthe border, hence taking an interest in the narratives of the people. It applies Social IdentityTheory in order to investigate the process of identity making, both in regard of a nationalidentity and ethnic identity, which goes well in hand with the angle of borders having a binarydistinction e.g. here and there, inclusion and exclusion. Thus, the study draws on theoriesfrom both cultural geography, social anthropology and social psychology. The result of thestudy indicate that people in Kavango have a national identity which is superior to their ethnicidentity, but it is fragile and they easily turn to their ethnic identity. The result also shows thatthe people have accepted and emphasise the differences between Namibia and Angola, whichwas first imposed as a strategic act from the colonials, and this indicates that the border actsas both an institution and a process.
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