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Institutskolloquium mit Christian A. Williams: Defining and Aiding "the Namibian Refugee"

Wann 12.11.2019
von 18:15 bis 19:45
Wo Institut für Ethnologie, Werthmannstr. 10, 1.OG
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Defining and Aiding “the Namibian Refugee”:

A History of the Chaplaincy to Namibians in Exile, 1974-76


Christian A. Williams

(Department of Anthropology, University of the Free State)


This paper presents a history of the Chaplaincy to Namibians in Exile, focused on how the Chaplain’s first leader, Salatiel Ailonga, and his Finnish missionary wife, Anita Ailonga, defined and aided “the Namibian refugee.” The article discusses how Southern African liberation movements and host governments generally used the term refugee before tracing the Ailongas’ particular intervention on behalf of displaced Namibians in mid-1970s Zambia and their entanglement with SWAPO’s internal politics during that period. By presenting this history, the author illuminates a pivotal moment in Namibia’s exile past, during which SWAPO officials established a more centralized and hierarchical aid regime. Also, the author suggests the value of biography for pushing beyond nationalist discourse on Southern African struggle era humanitarianism and for developing historical perspectives on “refugees” more broadly.