n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Durchs wilde Südwestafrika
Gerhard Seyfrieds

Volume 41, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1273



Gerhard Seyfried's historical novel (2003) about the colonial war between Germany and the Herero people in South-West Africa (1904-06) has been criticised as a continuation of colonialist writing with regard to the representation of the Other as well as its narrative structure. Moreover, it allegedly denies the Herero-genocide. This paper argues that despite the novel's obvious shortcomings, the criticism has been too general and polemic. Although its narrative structure caters for a popular mainstream taste, Herero is neither a continuation of the colonial novel nor is it apologetic in respect of the colonial period. Instead, it has clear anti-colonial and even post-colonial characteristics in its representation of the Other. In giving the Herero and Nama a voice - albeit an imagined one - Seyfried is able to represent the genocide from the other perspective, that is the victim's without canonising them.

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