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Region and country information

Herero, a Bantu language, is spoken by about 160,000 people, ca. 7% of Namibia's current population (CIA 2000 estimation), mainly in the provinces of Kunene, Erongo, Otjozondjupa and Omaheke. After the genocide of the Herero and Nama by the Germans in the years from 1904 to 1907 and their subsequent reconstitution as an ethnic group (Gewald 1996, Werner 1998), the rural Herero remained extremely impoverished (but see Bollig & Gewald 2000 for a more differentiated view). Today, their main income generating activities center around extensive cattle farming on communal lands (former reserves) and some small-scale crop production mainly for subsistence and sale on local markets (Westphal et al. 1994: 17). The migration rate for work in the mines, on commercial farms or in urban business is high and leaves the communal areas mainly populated with the elderly, the women and the children (FAO 1995: 5, Iken 1999). The communal areas - the area where the study shall take place - are little developed, with poor infrastructure, low literacy, high infant mortality, and a 30% HIV/AIDS infection rate. Despite the efforts of the government over the past 10 years aimed at developing these areas, the situation has not changed substantially.

A Project of 
Volkswagen Foundation