Climate Change in Namibia - Voices of Ovambo Farmers

Anne-Sophie Schröder & Anja Skov Marcussen

Student thesis: Bachelor project


This thesis examines the issue of climate change in a Namibian context with the following problem statement as a starting point: Which perceptions of nature are evident in Ovambo farmers in Namibia’s expressions on weather and climate change, and how can these be contextualized with a postcolonial perspective? We have obtained a postcolonial epistemological approach given the colonial history of Namibia and the unequal vulnerability towards climate changes on a global scale. We have conducted fieldwork in Namibia, in the Otjodjondjupa and Omusati regions. Here, we attempted a decolonial methodology as we stayed with a local farmer for almost two weeks and were introduced to other farmers with different viewpoints on nature and the changes in weather. The conversations with Ovambo farmers in Namibia were the groundwork for a theoretical analysis including notions of Tim Ingold’s essay Globes and Spheres from The Perception of the Environment as well as Gayatri Spivak’s Can the Subaltern Speak and Frantz Fanon’s chapter The Pitfalls of National Consciousness in his book The Wretched of the Earth. Through this strategy we have aimed to foreground the voices of Namibian farmers as we see them as a valuable contribution to the debates on climate change. Our analysis shows a varying perception of nature and changes in climate where Tim Ingold’s terms ‘spherical’ and ‘global’ perception on the environment provided useful perspectives for understanding our interlocutors’ relationship with nature. Here, it was apparent that several of our interlocutors advocated traditional food and were furthermore reluctant towards imported food and in addition to this worried about the future to different degrees. This led to an analysis in their different conditions in life which have a great influence on their level of worry for the future. The notions of Gayatri Spivak and Frantz Fanon were included in a structural analysis on the postcolonial influences noticeable throughout our conversations and also contributed to a further discussion of the postcolonial order of the contemporary world. Here, we also discuss ‘Western’ responsibility in relation to the challenges inflicted by climate change that can be said to be unequally distributed. In conclusion, we argue that the voices of Namibian farmers should be taken into consideration when addressing the impacts of climate change in the Namibian context as well as the nation’s historical circumstances.

EducationsCultural encounter studies, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Bachelor
Publication date2019
Number of pages68
SupervisorsBjörn Hakon Lingner