Social History of the Bakwena and Peoples of the Kalahari of Southern Africa, 19th Century

Author: Okihiro, Gary
This volume is a pre-colonial economic history drawn from field research that benefits from the debates within southern African history arising from the literatures of dependency, peasantization, and articulation of the 1980s and from the more recent critique by the social and cultural historians of the 1990s. It is an excavation of historical knowledge and production undertaken two decades after the initial fieldwork and theoretical readings that inform this study, and is thus not only an exemplar of the intellectual debates of the 1970s, but an important critique of that period and its projects and a reminder of the distinction among varieties of history that emanate from their historical and social locations.


". . . central focus is on the genealogies of the Bakwena and Kalahari peoples of the desert, their social formations and interactions with other ethnic groups in Southern Africa. More specifically, the manuscript attempts to present a comparative analysis of these two very complex and hierarchical ethnic groups against the backdrop of Colonialism, and Apartheid in Southern Africa. . . . while very complex, Chapter 2 reveals the author's insights into genealogy research, which are based on intensive interviews, and participant observation. These are particularly interesting. . . . does an excellent job in Chapters 3-4 of analyzing the interface between the Bakwena, Kalahari peoples, and immigrants with respect to local structures and processes that have an impact on their social, cultural and economic interactions. . . another important contribution is the emphasis on the role of social differentiation in this particular region of Southern Africa with a view of eschewing dichotomous class categories. . . . Okihiro's rich and sensitive analysis of the social history of the Bakwena and Kalahari peoples will make a fine contribution to the literature." -–Meta K. Townsend

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:

1. the Bakwena of Molepolole

2. connecting with the Ancestors

3. The Social Formation

4. The Peoples of the Kalahari

5. Other Contexts

Appendices; Bibliography; Index