Materialist conception of history is the real context of the National Resistance


The National Resistance, which eventually on March 21, 1990, heralded Namibian flag independence was not and could not have been an end in itself. But was an imperative first step towards the end, this end being the Second Phase of the African (Namibian) Revolution.

Therefore, the question bugging and begging is whether Namibia, with the attainment of her independence on Indeed did and has actually embarked on the Second

Phase of the National Revolution? As such there is a burning need to reflect on what the primary driving powers and/or motives were for National Resistance. Was National Resistance intrinsic to itself – aimed at political and territorial regain of the Mother and/or Fatherland only, the rich natural resources of the land, notwithstanding?

Many a historic narratives of the colonisation of South West Africa by imperial Germany, foremost and particularly by Germanic historiographers, and Western writers at large, the concept of Lebensraum (Living Space) expectedly rang a common thread as the main if not the only reason for colonisation. The materialist conception of history, with the means of production at the centre, received scant treatment, or at best downplayed and hidden, or at worst altogether missing in the narratives.

Resultantly the National Resistance struggle narrative came to be cast in purely nationalistic patriotic terms.

Thus, with the completion of the Democratic Revolution as encapsulated in the attainment of political independence, National Resistance seemed to be considered an end in itself. Without any fundamentally visionary radical transformation and reconstruction plan. “The right to misgovern ourselves” touted as sacrosanct. Thus giving rise to the absence of a robust national debate on the essence and meaning of self governance, freedom and national sovereignty.

Such an approach belies the historic materialist conception of the Democratic Revolution, an imperative step in an ongoing permanent revolution that would translate into a fundamental transformation of the basic and grounding tenets of the Namibian society in all its entirety.

One needs not look further to see that the Namibian Revolution has been materialist in essence given the rationale for German penetration and occupation of the land (territory), and the consequent triggering of the resistance movement of the indigenes.

The exploration expeditions of the Portuguese like Diogo Cao, historically falsely credited with the discovery of the Namibian coastline, and others, were driven by the quest to find a trade route to India and China. Thus, as early as the late fifteenth century, the motivation was trade, and therefore, commercial and ultimately capitalist, if you wish. It is also an established historical fact that colonial agitation in the late nineteenth century Germany expansionism was driven predominantly by trade and commercial interests, buttressed by missionaries with the Reich initially cautious.

Each of the three groupings had its own interests, albeit with patriotism seemingly the paramount 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 purportedly bought Angra Pequena from Chief Josef Frederick of Bethanie in 1883. This opened the floodgates for more acquisitions through dubious treaties, confiscation of the land of the indigenes, parallel to rustling of their cattle ultimately. 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 on the Ovaherero and Nama into resisting German colonialism and imperialism, and patriotism portrayed as the motive driving power, it cannot be denied that the confiscation of their land, plunder of their livestock through deceitful trade and treaties, compounded by their ill treatment, was the laststraw that broke the camel’s back.

Thus patriotism could not have been the sole driving force of the National Resistance. Meaning national independence achieved through National Resistance was never and could never have been the sole intention of the fathers and mothers of the National Resistance, and an end in itself. Also national independence, freedom and sovereignty cannot is not and cannot be the end in themselves.

Hence the essence of the dictum by the likes of Kwame Nkurumah of “seek ye the political kingdom first”. And Dr Goabamang Kenneth Koma’s “The Second Phase of the African Revolution Has Begun”. What does this mean for Namibia?

“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,” Namibia may be implored take a cue from C.S. Banana, a former president of Zimbabwe.

But is this and could this be the common ideology underpinning Namibian independence?

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