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Title:Chief Hosea Kutako: a Herero royal and Namibian nationalist's life against confinement 1870-1970
Author:Gewald, Jan-BartISNI
Book title:Strength beyond structure: social and historical trajectories of agency in Africa
Geographic term:Namibia
Subjects:traditional rulers
biographies (form)
About person:Hosea Kutako (1870-1970)
Abstract:Seemingly destined to a life of obscurity on the fringes of history, Chief Hosea Kutako (Herero name: Katjikurume) has come to occupy centre stage in the history of 20th-century Namibia. Born in precolonial Hereroland in 1870, Hosea Kutako died in the South African colony of South West Africa in 1970. During his life, he experienced the transition from independence to colonization and the destruction of Herero society. Although administrations consistently attempted to downplay Kutako's role, his personality was such that he overcame the limitations of race and ethnicity that were placed upon him, and gave form and direction to African opposition to South African colonial rule in Namibia. This overview of Hosea Kutako's life pays attention to his youth, the war of 1904-1915, Kutako's stay in Windhoek (1915-1925), his installation as headman and his role in politics, the issue of the native reserves, and post-World War II politics. It illustrates how the dialectical relationship that existed between Kutako as an individual and Kutako as a person was determined by a variety of structures from precolonial Herero society to Cold War geopolitics. It also illustrates how, in history, structure is not all explanatory and, similarly, how an over-reliance on individual agency obscures more than it illuminates. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]