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Vol 40 No 17

Published 27th August 1999


Namibia

A hammer to a nut

Caprivian rebels and the government both wield weapons to disturb the peace

The Namibian government reacted with a heavy hand in early August when Caprivian secessionists mounted an armed raid on the region's capital, Katima Mulilo. The Caprivi Strip has always been poor, neglected and ethnically complex (AC Vol 40 No 1). Britain allowed Germany to add it to its territory of South West Africa in 1890 (in a swap for Heligoland and Zanzibar) because the Berlin government believed, absurdly, that it could start a trans-African steamship service on the Upper Zambezi. This was a response to London's dream of a railway from Cairo to the Cape (a dream Sudan interrupted, both then and now). The result was to divide between German and British rule the domains of the old Lozi kingdom; some people in the Strip named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck's successor and a few Zambians still dream of reuniting the Barotse peoples

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