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To Kunene from the Cape:
A Historical Sequence of References to Peoples and Places of West Namibia
a living document of sources and perspectives, compiled by Sian Sullivan

For the sake of the present and the future it is important to know where we are coming from[1].


Each heading below will take you to a collation of sources and observations for each time-period. These documents are being updated on an ongoing basis, as new sources are read and integrated. References in the footnotes are detailed in 'the full list of references'. Many of the places and encounters mentioned in the reviewed texts have been mapped online. The documents below come alive most when these places are visited virtually on the accompanying map. Impressions from a recent journey from Cape Town to Kunene Region in Namibia to visit some of the places documented here have also been recorded using instagram.

Introduction and method

‘Pre-history’ to 1500




Detail for journey by Capn. James Edward Alexander 1836-37

(northwards from Cape Town to through southern southern and central Namibia, to Walvis Bay)

Detail for journey by Francis Galton and Charles John Andersson 1850-51

(Walvis Bay in land and northwards to Etosha Pan and Owambo)

Detail for journey by James Chapman 1855

(eastwards from Kalahari to Walvis Bay)



Detail for journey by Capn. Peter Möller 1895-96

(southwards through southern Angola, west of Etosha Pan, through Omaruru and west to Walvis Bay)

Explorations of ‘Kaoko-Feld’ 1894-96 by Dr Georg Hartmann, accompanied by Eberhard Rosenblad in 1895-96

(west from Grootfontein area to 'Kaoko')



Detail for journeys by Major Charles N. Manning 1917, 1919

(from Ondangwa via Outjo and Sesfontein through Kaoko)




Specific themed chronologies:

* Khoe flute music

* !Nara use records in archaeology and history

* !Khuiseb historical habitation

* Kunene Conservations - historical references to biodiversity issues and policies in north-west Namibia

* Key historical events for west Namibia, prior to Namibian independence in 1990

* Damara lineages, literature review

Dammann Archive research (Khoekhoegowab collection), Basler Afrika Bibliographien:
* Correspondence Table for manuscripts, sound recordings and images in the Dammann-BAB Khoekhoegowab collection
* Transcription history for the sound recordings in the Dammann-BAB Khoekhoegowab collection

Full list of references

Full list of abbreviations

Additional online timelines that may be of interest:

- South African History Online - Namibian Timeline

[1] Kameeta, Z. 2004 Preface, pp. vii-viii in Silvester, J. and Gewald, J-B (eds.) Words Cannot Be Found: German Colonial Rule in Namibia. An Annotated Reprint of the 1918 Blue Book, 2nd Edn. Leiden: Brill.

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