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n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Namibiadeutschland in den 1980er Jahren - Ost- und westdeutsche Erzählungen uber den Schauplatz Südwestafrika : Jürgen Leskien und Dietmar Beetz (DDR), Immo Vogel und A. E. Johann (BRD)
Namibia-Germany in the 1980s. East and West German narratives about Southwest-Africa
Dating back to the beginning of the armed struggle of the Namibian liberation movement, and culminating in the almost simultaneous achievement of national independence in the African country and the reunification of Germany, the "shared history" (pace Larissa Förster) of the two countries has from the mid-1960 until 1989/1990 actually been a threesome arrangement including Namibia, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the GDR. In essence, the relation(s) between the two Germanies and the actors involved in the Namibian theatre of liberation war were contradictory. While the communist East German state clearly championed the cause of Namibia's SWAPO and PLAN, the stance of the FRG, its élites, political decision makers and societal stakeholders was more ambivalent, ranging from diplomatic, humanitarian and other types of aid for the independence movement in Namibia to a repudiation of the movement's tenets and covert or overt support of the South African apartheid regime by conservative politicians and parts of the industry. A look at the 25 year-old chapter in Namibia-Germany's "shared history" therefore reveals a criss-cross pattern of changes (in the plural) of power. The two caesuras of 1989/1990 include the downfall of that respective societal/political system which had established connections with the respective prevailing societal/ political system in the other country, Namibia. Repercussions of these crosswise changes of power can up to the present day be identified in the field of German-language literature. This article highlights examples from prose fiction which had been produced immediately before 1989 in the two Germanies. The texts under discussion comprise the works by former GDR authors Jürgen Leskien and Dietmar Beetz, and West-German writers A.E. Johann and Immo Vogel.
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