Development from below: A Namibian case study
"Rebuilding societies from below: perspectives from Southern Africa" was the subject of a Research Forum organised by the Nordic Africa Institute in collaboration with the Seminar for Development Studies of Uppsala University. Thanks to generous financial support by the Wenner-Gen Foundation, which is herewith gratefully acknowledge, we were able to invite a prominent scholar to present the main lecture at this event. He was joined by two local discussants. Part of the intended debate focused on the tricky question of conceptualising society and its (local, national or super-national) boundaries, present day post-colonial societies, understood as being involved in a process of ongoing co-evaluation with the dominant capitalist countries, have to take into account the difficulties resulting from this context. At the same time, they have consider internal trajectories and constraints. The rather theoretical reflections were exemplified by research findings from Southern Namibia: the Withbooi festival among the Nama in Gibeon served as a case study and point of reference. As the social micro-cosmo outlined can claim to be similar to current challenges elsewhere, the lecture and comments (subsequently revised for publication) are herewith made accessible to a wider audience. They are another contribution to the efforts within the research project on "Liberation and Democracy in Southern Africa" (LiDeSA) at present being carried out at the Institute.