Namibia’s Emergent Transculturalism: Dissolving Boundaries and Contestation in the African Global Borderlands


Gloria Anzalduá’s (1999) idea of ‘borderlands’ is stated representationally as “the lifeblood of two worlds merging to form a third country—a border culture.” This depiction extends conceptualisations expounded in ‘third space’ postcolonial studies, and has interesting implications for countries like Namibia on the western edge of the southern African continent, which are beginning to share global cultural spaces. Namibia gained independence from apartheid South Africa in 1990. Actual and symbolic violence along with the relative ‘isolation’ of the colonial period, both geographically and in social and cultural senses, has through media communication technologies instigated transformations of local space resulting in a rapid cultural ‘opening up’ of the society. Namibians have in little more than a decade come to – or to have the potential to – cautiously enter the global hinterlands at the limits of their formerly restricted local world. Studying both the reception and negotiation of what they find there, makes the country an interesting case in establishing specific cultural markers of this sharing of new cultural space. Equally of interest is the noting of emergent cultural contestation behaviours of traditionalists or anti-cosmopolitan Others against open cultural access, virtual transgressions or perceived ‘illicit’ crossing of cultural borders. This paper is sympathetic to Rantanen’s (2005) mediagraphic method which considers how people connect and disconnect via media and communications both within local and global contexts.

Author Information
Thomas Fox, University of Namibia, Namibia

Paper Information
Conference: ECCS2014
Stream: Media Studies

This paper is part of the ECCS2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon