(This is a post from the Sunday Scholarship series, where I summarise academic articles into something a bit more easy to read. Overview here, other posts here.)

Title: China and SWAPO: the Role of the People’s Republic in Namibia’s Liberation and Post-Independence Relations

Author: Ian Taylor

One-sentence summary: China was not a prominent ally of Swapo, because Swapo already had links with Russia, and Russia was in a conflict of China. But China kept supporting Swapo (mostly verbally), and maintained a good relationship until the Russia conflict fell away and they could deepen their ties to SWAPO.

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I’ll be reading and posting a lot about China in Namibia soon, because it’s an issue that has come up in the news a lot lately. Xenophobia seems to be on the rise, while the newspapers and some politicians seem to be quite happy to encourage it. So this week I’ll cheat and write a few words about a book that is technically non-academic, but should still be on the top of anyone’s reading list on the topic.

Title: China’s Second Continent: how a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa.

Author: Howard W. French

One-sentence summary: French travels across the continent and speaks to ordinary Chinese migrants on the ground – farmers, traders, businesspeople. This contrast to the many other books on the topic of China in Africa, which focus on the state, allows for a lot of insight and a fresh perspective. Book info here.

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be a winner

All images in this post are from the article linked below. These players were identified as ‘Tambo’ (Ocean Spurs) and Justice Basson (Rickets). I wonder whether/how much they were paid.

(This is a post from the Sunday Scholarship series, where I summarise academic articles into something a bit more easy to read. Overview here, other posts here.)

Title: Visualizing African football in apartheid Namibia: photography, posters and constructions of consumers and nationalism.

Author: Giorgio Miescher, Dag Henrichsen

One-sentence summary: Posters and photographs of football can reflect changes in Namibian society. First, ads reflected a “separate but equal” ideology; around independence they promoted multiracial images to sell their products to a new and growing black business class. I really recommend reading the full article here, if you can get your hands on it.

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(This is a post from the Sunday Scholarship series, where I summarise academic articles into something a bit more easy to read. Overview here, other posts here.)

Title: Political Homophobia in Postcolonial Namibia.

Author: Ashley Currier

One-sentence summary: The attacks on gays and lesbians by Swapo politicians in the 1990s had several political purposes: they were supposed to intimidate opposition, remind Namibians of Swapo’s power, and aimed at promoting one specific view of history. Full article here.

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from the Mattia Fumanti chapter discussed here.

from the Mattia Fumanti chapter discussed here.

This is a post from the Sunday Scholarship series, where I summarise academic articles into something a bit more easy to read. Overview here, other posts here.

Title: “I Like My Windhoek Lager”: Beer Consumption and the Making of Men in Namibia. Chapter in this book, which is entirely dedicated to discussing beer in Africa.

Author: Mattia Fumanti

One-sentence summary: This article follows a group of young men as they party in Rundu, and look as how their identity as men is related to the way they drink and talk about drinking.

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This is a post from the Sunday Scholarship series, where I summarise academic articles into something a bit more easy to read. I explain why here.

Title: Apartheid’s Transnational Soldiers: The Case of Black Namibian Soldiers in South Africa’s Former Security Forces (article here)

Author: Lennart Bolliger

Field: History

One-sentence summary: In the most common version of Namibian history (which is also the official SWAPO version), SWATF and Koevoet soldiers are seen as traitors and perhaps enemies, and we often view the conflict as centred around Namibia. But these soldiers’ version of history tells a different story.– and also reminds us of the complex, international nature of the war.

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From tomorrow, I’m starting a new series where each Sunday morning I will post a summary of an academic article about Namibia.

These articles will be from across the social sciences – I’ve got history and sociology lined up, and have anthropology and political science next.

Most people won’t read an academic article in their life. The academic world is seen as elitist, which it is true both in terms of the escalating costs of higher education but also because of the language which we use. Most people would struggle wading through the jargon to get to the meaning of your average academic article. Some complexity is necessary when talking in-depth about issues, but the truth is that many academics are simply poor writers.

A lot of people think so: there was a “bad writing” award for academic writing for a while, and many essays have discussed the various causes and solutions for this problem (or contested the conventional wisdom).

I’m doing this because people are doing some really interesting research on our country, and I think it’s a shame that most of it doesn’t reach (m)any Namibians. I have no illusions that my blog will change that on a grand scale, but through this and twitter I might get an interesting paper or two into the hands of a person or two who might appreciate it.

This exercise will also help me: it’s an excuse (and structure!) to read more widely. And I’ll practice writing clearly. Hopefully it’s interesting to folks out there.