By STAFF REPORTER
A new face book page describing the history of the then Eastern Caprivi, now Zambezi region has been launched this month to give an insight to the readers with an interest to know more about the events and stories of the past.
It is called “History of the Zambezi Region / Eastern Caprivi”, this face book page is hosted by Ms Lieneke de Visser, a Netherlands born national.
Ms de Visser is a PhD candidate at the Amsterdam Free University in the Netherlands. As University lecturer her academic focus is on conflicts, especially in Africa. For the past eight years she has studied the Namibian war for liberation in the Zambezi Region.
Asked why this region holds a special interest for her, she explains: “The Zambezi Region represents a crossroads of cultures and languages, but also of colonial state making. The region was therefore of strategic importance especially during early years of the Namibian struggle, a fact that is often overlooked in histories dealing with the liberation war.”
During years of research Ms de Visser gathered an impressive amount of data. Much of her information is found in archives such as the National Archives in Windhoek, as well as the South African National Archives and the military archives of the South African Defence Force in Pretoria.
She however, visited the Basler Afrika Bibliographien in Switzerland, where a collection of all SWAPO publications can be found.
This researcher often visits Southern Africa each year during the winter months to conduct field work in Namibia and South Africa, and sometimes Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Her interviews with residents from the Zambezi Region range from Sangwali to Singalamwe to Ihaha and beyond.
In South Africa she tracks down former military and police members who were deployed in the Eastern Caprivi during the war. “I am not sure of the total distance covered, but I have travelled to meet people in Windhoek, Swakopmund, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Potchefstroom, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and many places in between; and in total I have held interviews with over two-hundred people.”
The idea of a face book page came to Ms de Visser last year. “I am always pleased to find that young people in the Zambezi Region are extremely interested in their history. Since these days they all have face book accounts, I thought this would be a perfect platform to share what I have learned.”
The launch of the face book page has been chosen to coincide with the forty year anniversary of the PLAN attack on Katima Mulilo on 23 August 1978. In a series of posts Ms de Visser will memorize this event and will also present previously little-known facts that she gathered from archival material and interviews. According to Ms de Visser “both people of the Zambezi Region and South Africans who lived through that night are still in awe of the immensity of the attack. I think it will therefore be of interest to many, including former military who were involved on either side, but also civilians, many of whom were children at the time.”
Ms de Visser’s face book page can be accessed on https://www.facebook.com/LienekeDeVisser/