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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Prophet's 'War against Whites': Shepherd Stuurman in Namibia an South Africa
Author:Dedering, TilmanISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic terms:South Africa
biographies (form)
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/183392
Abstract:This article deals with the political activities of the Khoekhoe prophet Shepherd Stuurman in Namibia and South Africa in the early 1900s. His life story shows that Christian ideas played a crucial role in the resistance of Africans against European rule in southern Africa. Shepherd Stuurman alias Hendrik Bekeer wandered from the eastern Cape to German South West Africa in 1904. His millenarian message of the impending end of white supremacy contributed decisively to the outbreak of the Nama war against the Germans. A price was put on Stuurman's head, and an attempt was made to have him killed even after he had returned to the Cape Colony. The prophet, who had abandoned the struggle in Namibia because his military incompetence aroused suspicion among the Nama, reappeared in the northern Cape under the name of Hendrik Bekeer. There he incited several African workers to kill their white foremen in order to unleash all-out 'war against whites'. He was caught in September 1906 and sentenced to death in 1907. Despite his frequent references to his 'Hottentot' identity, the prophet formulated ideas of anticolonial resistance which extended beyond Africa, thus imagining the reversal of the power relations between colonizers and colonized on a global scale. Notes, ref., sum.