Materialist conception of history context of the National Resistance

Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro

One may agree or disagree that the National Resistance which eventually on March 21, 1990, heralded Namibian independence, freedom, liberty and sovereignty, was not an end and could not have been an end in itself. But imperative as a first step towards the end, this end being the Second Phase of the African (Namibian) Revolution. But the question that must have been bugging and begging is, if indeed Namibia, with the attainment of her freedom and independence on March 21, 1990, is whether actually Namibia has embarked on the Second Phase of her National Revolution? And if, what the nature of this Second Phase of the African (Namibian) is and whether it has indeed begun, and when?

Therefore there’s a need to reflect and make some deductions about and on what the motive driving powers and/or motivation (s) of and for the National Resistance may have been. If only to discourse on whether the National Resistance was intrinsic to itself, to politically and territorially regain the Mother and/or Fatherland without consideration and/or consciousness of the natural resources the land was and may have been and may still be endowed and enriched with.

Many a historic narratives of the colonisation of South West Africa by imperial colonial Germany, foremost, predominantly, and particularly by Germanic historiographers, and Western ones at large, the concept of Liebensraum (Living Space) rang a common bell and expected thread as the main if not only reason for colonisation. The materialist conception of history, with the means of production forming the base of superstructure, received scant treatment, if not downplayed and hidden somewhere in the narratives altogether, if not all together missing.

Resultantly the National Resistance struggle narrative came to be cast and/or narrated or posited in purely nationalistic patriotic terms. Thus, with the completion of the Democratic Revolution with the attainment of political independence, National Resistance seems to have been considered an end in itself. Without any fundamentally visionary radical transformation and reconstruction pan. “The right to misgovern ourselves” assumed to be the sacrosanct slogan. Giving rise to the absence and/or bankruptcy of a robust national debate as to the essence and meaning of self governance, freedom and independence.

But such belies the historic materialist conception of the Democratic Revolution as a first step to the Second Phase of the African (Namibian) Revolution. One needs not look further to see that the Namibian Revolution has been materialist in essence than to the rational for German penetration and occupation of the land (territory), and same to the rational for anti-penetration and occupation resistance spirit and drive of the indigenes.

It is a historical fact that the Namibian coastline was discovered by the Portuguese explorer Diogo Cao. His exploration expeditions, and that of fellow, were driven by the quest to find a trade route to India and China. Thus as early as the late 1400 century, the motivation was thus trade, and thus commercial and ultimately capital or capitalist if you wish.

It is also an established historical fact that colonial agitation in the late 1800 century Germany was driven predominantly by trade and commercial interests, buttressed by missionaries with the Reich initially cautious. Each of the three groups had its own interests albeit with patriotism seemingly the chief motive.

The colonisation of South West Africa by Germany was precipitated by the purchase of land by Franz Adolf Lüderitz, a merchant from Bremen when he bought Angra Pequena from Chief Josef Frederick of Bethanie in 1883. This opened the floodgates for more acquisitions and eventually through dubious treaties, confiscation of the land of the indigenes, parallel to rustling of their cattle. These were formalised and entrenched by the Berlin Conference in 1884. The objectives of the statutes of the German Colonial Company for South West Africa may be instructive: … “to buy the lands and rights being under the protection of the German Reich which have been acquired by Hern F.A.E. Lüderitz in South West Africa, and to expand them through other acquisitions; to investigate the estates and mining concessions by means of expeditions and researches; to prepare for industrial and commercial undertakings as well as for German settlements; to establish and carry one, by itself or through others, suitable industrial plants of
all kinds; and to utilise private property; and finally to take over the exercise of state sovereignty, as far as that can be transferred to the company on behalf of it territories.”

“The decision to colonise in South West Africa could after all mean nothing else but this, that the native tribes would have to give up their land on which they had previously graze their stock in order that the white man might have the land for the grazing of his stock,” a German historian is quoted in the Annotated Report of the 1918 Blue Book in the context of Great Britain agreeing to Germany’s bid to annex South West Africa.

Although a combination of factors have been cited as having agitated and spurred the Ovaherero and Nama into resisting German colonialism and imperialism, with patriotism portrayed as the motive driving power, it cannot be denied that the confiscation of their land, plunder of their livestock stock through deceitful trade and treaties, compounded by ill treatment, was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Thus patriotism could not have been the sole objective of the National Resistance, the First Phase of the African (Namibian Revolution). Meaning national independence achieved through National Resistance was never and could never have been intended by the fathers and mothers of the National Resistance as an end in itself. Hence also national independence, freedom and sovereignty cannot and is not the end in itself. Hence the essence of the dictum by the likes of Kwame Nkurumah of the political kingdom first. And Koma’s The Second Phase of the African Revolution Has Begun. What does this mean for Namibi
a? “Revolutionary transformation is a thorough-going process. It entails a fundamental change in the structural basis of our entire system: economic, social,political and religious. Any other type of change can only be cosmetic, reformist or evolutionary, and therefore superficial and inadequate,” writes C.S. Banana, former president of Zimbabwe.

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