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4 Responses

  1. Thank you Richard and Jeroen.

    The change of discourse was it the chief only or from your research were there other people who sided with the chief?

    In the communities counter-narrative did they also draw upon the negative consequences on local communities such as the Kariba Dam experiences?

    1. Dear Everisto,

      Thank you very much for the comment. If memory serves me correct, there was a handful of members that sided with Chief Kapika. However, that he had been replaced by a relative shows to me that not the entire community was happy with his decision.

      During the Epipa debate in the 1990s and early 2000s, the International Rivers Network and the OvaHimba did, in their submissions before the World Commission on dams mentioned other experiences, and again if memory serves correct, the Kariba Dam saga was one of them.

      Kind regards,


  2. Thanks for the insightful but sad story. Indeed mental models and perceptions are key for governance, and certainly not stable. I write this on the day that Donald J Trump made a 180 degree turn on the issue of wearing masks and now call it patriotic. So are those who can influence the narrative most likely benefit in a conflict situation? What is the influence of social media, and has social media played a role in this dam project?

  3. Dear Marco,

    Thank you very much for your questions. During the Epupa Debate debate in the 1990s and early 2000s, social media, especially Internet websites as channels of communication did play a role. Facebook and Twitter did not yet exist. The main media communication channel by the interest groups was indeed the Internet. They posted everything on their websites and one could easily navigate from one website to the other via links created in documents. I came to the conclusion in my earlier research that had it not been for the Internet, the plight of the OvaHimba would not have been so visible. The Internet also ‘shrunk’ the communication channels between the OvaHimba and other interest groups and between them and the government. With the Baynes project, the social media exposure around the dam shrunk considerably, compared to what happened during the Epupa debate. So, the OvaHimba and OvaZemba resorted, this time around, to more traditional forms of voicing their concerns, such as protest marches. It would be interesting to see to what extent the OvaHimba and OvaZemba uses social media channels, like Twitter, in far flung Kaokoland to communicate and raise concerns.

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