Hunter-Gatherers, Herders, Agropastoralists and Farm Workers: Hai//om and Ju/’hoansi San and their Neighbors in Namibia in the 20th and 21st CenturiesHunter-Gatherers, Herders, Agropastoralists and Farm Workers: Hai//om and Ju/’hoansi San and their Neighbors in Namibia in the 20th and 21st CenturiesAA00442310
The history of the Hai//om and the Ju/’hoansi San of Namibia over the pastcentury has been a constant series of challenges -- from the state, the environmentsin which they live, and from their San and non-San neighbors. Both Hai//om andJu/’hoansi experienced removals from their ancestral lands in the 20th and 21stcenturies at the hands of the colonial and post-colonial states. More recently, theyhave had to cope with incursions of other groups moving into what remained oftheir traditional areas.Today, the Hai//om, the largest and most widely distributed of the San ofNamibia, are largely landless. Substantial numbers of Hai//om are farm workersand their families, some of them working for Ovambo, Herero, Kavango,Germans, and Afrikaaners. Progress has been made in recent years (2007-present)in providing commercial farms for Hai//om settlement by the San DevelopmentOffice of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister with financial assistance frominternational donors. The Hai//om resettlement farms, which are adjacent to EtoshaNational Park, are in the process of being occupied, with several hundred peoplehaving moved there from the park. Other groups, including Herero and Europeans,own some of the neighboring farms, and they have provided assistance to theHai//om on the resettlement farms including giving technical advice and livestock.The interactions between the Hai//om and their neighbors and the Namibiangovernment could potentially change as a result of a collective action lawsuit filedin October, 2015 seeking rights to the benefits from Etosha National Park.In the case of the Ju/’hoansi San of Nyae Nyae, the second largest group ofSan in Namibia, interactions with neighboring groups, such as the Herero, aremore recent, occurring especially in the 20th and 21st centuries, although they haddealt with Herero since the 19th century, largely assisting them as herders anddomestic workers. The Nyae Nyae Ju/’hoansi recently experienced what theyconsidered an invasion of their land by 32 Herero with 1,300 head of cattle, whocut the “Redline” veterinary cordon fence in 2009 and entered the Nyae Nyae areaAs a result, relationships between the two groups have not been as cordial as theywere in the past. Ju/’hoansi-Herero relationships became even more complicatedin July, 2015 when legal charges were laid against four illegal Herero grazers inthe Nyae Nyae Community Forest.This article explores the complex relationships between the Hai//om andJu/’hoansi and their neighbors, with particular reference to the Herero. It is arguedthat resolution of the many outstanding issues on land, water, and naturalresources will require negotiations and decisions by state, non-governmentorganizations, community-based organizations, and Traditional Authorities abouthow best to handle competing demands.