3. THE PRE-COLONIAL PERIOD: THE MISSIONARIES
3.2 THE MISSIONARIES INTERFERE IN LOCAL POLITICS 1842-1883
|Early 1840s||Namaland undergoes a rapid social
change in the first half of the 18th century, from a kinship-based, pastoral,
self-sufficient society, to military oligarchies supported by European missionaries, which
are dependent for production on a destructive trade network of European traders and
hunters. These dependencies lead to increased "underdeveloping qualities".
Natural resources are irreparably destroyed (between 1760 and 1880 immense populations of
seals, elephants, rhinoceroses and even giraffes in southern and central Namibia are wiped
out) old, well established skills such as the digging of wells with hard labour (or the
manufacturing of household utensils) are lost with resulting dependencies on springs and
fountains which again lead to the closure of whole settlements.
The destructive trade network with the Cape Colony drains the country of assets and productive resources and receives nothing comparable in exchange. This is in spite of the fact that the Orlam Afrikaners and their allies do issue certain controls in order to keep in check the trade links with the Cape.
New diseases are introduced from the Cape Colony, i.e. smallpox, venereal diseases and alcoholism.
The social and historical distinctions between original Nama groups and the Orlams as well as the old group structures have all but vanished by the time these polities emerge.
From now on mission stations are planned as military centres, even the churches.
The missionary campaign to christianise Africa not only converts "heathens" into Christians, but also tries to convert Africans into Europeans. Many of the African (and Namibian) traditions disappear not so much because of theologically-based criticism, but rather because of the cultural imperialism of the early European missionaries.
Historical and anthropological studies show that the advent of Christian mission change the cultural imagination of Africans fundamentally. The efforts of Christian missionaries are decisive in the imposition of a new mode of being, the reconstruction of religion, aesthetics, knowledge, bodily representation, sexuality, gender relations, social institutions, such as marriage and the family, and indeed most of aspects of peoples living. Thus, the cultural implications of Christian missions cause a cardinal reconstruction of identity and the social space.
For instance, most missionary societies in Namibia are most fervently opposed to traditional life styles such as "pagan customs". The two Lutheran missionary societies, the Rhenish and the Finnish Missionary Societies are especially strict..The Anglican and Roman Catholic churches are much more permissive in terms of allowing indigenous customs and cultural expressions such as the Efundula, the traditional wedding in Ovamboland. But these two churches also contribute little to the preservation and survival of such customs.
Particularly Carl Hugo Hahn from the Rhenish Missionary Society tries later to establish a politically and economically autonomous mission colony in Otjimbingwe by "Mission through colonisation".
Adam Kraai, a "dependant" of Jonker Afrikaner, lives with his followers in Rehoboth, to where he had moved from the upper Fish River area.
Captain William Messum lives near Cape Cross and the Brandberg.
|1841||The Chief of the Kai|khauan, Amraal Lambert, initiates a peace treaty with ||Oaseb, the leader of the Kai||khaun.|
|1842||Missionaries Franz Heinrich
Kleinschmidt (October 1842) and Carl Hugo Hahn (December 1842) of the Rhenish Missionary
Society arrive in Windhoek at Orlam Afrikaner's request.
Tjamuaha settles at Otjipuna (present-day "Pokkiesdraai", named as such because missionary Wilhelm Eich had to return there when smallpox broke out in Windhoek).
Jan Boois (or Jan Frederiks), eldest son of Kobus Frederiks, is a wealthy leader of the people living at Bethany until 1846.
The early missionaries are not very successful with their Christian mission. The Rhenish missionary Johann Jakob Irle reports later that the first Omuherero is baptised in 1858 (25.07.1858).
|06.10.||Kleinschmidt starts working in
Windhoek (until 03.10.1844). Kleinschmidt reports on road building activities by Jonker
Afrikaner in the Auas Mountains, south of Windhoek. Jonker levies tolls to use these
Philippus Katjimune, who speaks not only Otjiherero but also Nama and Dutch, becomes Kleinschmidts interpreter in the 1840s, and later interprets for Andersson and Galton as well.
|03.11.||Hans-Christian Knudsen, together with Johannes Hendrik Bam, brother of Johann-Heinrichs Schmelens second wife, starts work as a Rhenish missionary at Bethany, supported by Jan Boois. Knudsen produces the first legal code for the Nama of Bethany, Berseba and Rehoboth.|
|09.12||Hahn starts working in Windhoek (until 03.10.1844). He calls Klein-Windhoek "Elberfeld" and Groß-Windhoek "Barmen".|
|24.12.||The Ovaherero Tjamuaha (born ca. 1790) and Maharero (born 1820) settle in Windhoek on Jonkers demand. The two Ovaherero groups under their leaders Oove ua Muhoko Kahitjene and Tjamuaha form an alliance with Jonker Afrikaner (Christmas Peace 1842).|