‘Othering’ and Structural Violence in Former Settler Colonies: Liberation Movements as Governments in Southern Africa

  • H Melber


This article revisits the mental legacies of settler-colonial rule in Southern African societies under liberation-movements-as-governments. It critically assesses the limits to liberation as mirrored in the dominant mindsets manifested in the exclusivist national discourse and its effects. It is argued that the ‘we-they’ divide under postcolonial governance is putting control and the absolute power of definition over and above a tolerant democracy, which would have allowed space for dissenting views without intimidation and marginalisation. Rather, structural violence in combination with ‘othering’ is among the common means for eliminating challenges to the dominance of the erstwhile liberation movement now in power. In the context of a comparative perspective, the article draws on various examples, with a special focus on Namibia, which is widely considered to be a success story in terms of
democratic governance.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1995-641X
print ISSN: 0256-2804