1887

n Historia - Vita Tom, 1863-1937 : 'n navorsingsperspektief

Volume 39, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X
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Abstract


Born in Otjimbingwe (Namibia) as the son of a Tswana man and a Herero woman of noble birth, Vita (or Oorlog) Tom was bestowed with traditional authority. In about 1871 he moved as young lad, together with his father, from Omaruru to Humpata (Southern Angola). The Portuguese authorities recognised the leadership qualities of both father and son and around the turn of the century Vita Tom became an ally in several Portuguese expeditions against resisting and troublesome tribes along the Angola-SWA border - as did Afrikaner immigrants from the Transvaal. During his 45 years' stay in Angola he established a formidable following and influence, strengthened by extensive marital relationships. But he also had to cope with internal dissent by Himba and Herero factions amongst his subordinates. Vita finally moved to Otjiyanyasemo in Kaokoland in 1917, where the new South African administration expected of him to keep peace and order. Deterioration of traditional structures, the increasing role of officials, ongoing ethnic dissent and finally Vita's ill-health, led to the installation of a limited tribal council system.
Vita's life presents a useful case study illustrating aspects of the interplay between tradition, divergence, individuality and colonial systems.

Gebore op Otjimbingwe (Namibië) as die seun van 'n Tswanaman en 'n Hererovrou van adellike afkoms was Vita (of Oorlog) Tom met tradisionele gesag beklee. In ongeveer 1871 het hy as jong seun saam met sy vader vanaf Omaruru na Humpata (Suid-Angola) verhuis. Die Portugese owerheid het albei se leierskapshoedanighede raakgesien en random die eeuwending was Vita Tom 'n bondgenoot tydens verskeie Portugese ekspedisies teen stamme wat weerstand gebied en onrus veroorsaak het langs die grens tussen Angola en Suidwes-Afrika - soos ook Afrikanerimmigrante vanaf Transvaal. Gedurende sy 45-jarige verblyf in Angola het Vita 'n aansienlike gevolg en invloed opgebou, wat deur uitgebreide huweliksverbintenisse versterk is. Hy het egter ook met interne onenigheid onder Himba- en Hererofaksies onder sy onderdane te doen gehad. Vita het uiteindelik in 1917 na Otjiyanyasemo in Kaokoland verskuif, waar die nuwe Suid-Afrikaanse administrasie van hom verwag het om vrede en orde te handhaaf. Verswakking van die tradisionele strukture, 'n groter rol van amptenare, voortgaande etniese onmin en uiteindelik Vita se swak gesondheid het tot die instelling van 'n beperkte stamraadstelsel gelei.


Vita se lewe bied 'n nuttige gevallestudie waarin aspekte van die wisselwerking tussen tradisie, variansie, individualiteit en koloniale stelsels geïllustreer word.

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/content/hist/39/1/EJC37816
1994-05-01
2016-12-11

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