A network for all who care about the conservation of our world and who want to see it achieved with justice, compassion, dignity and honesty.

“Authenticity,” Identity, and Humanity: The Hai//om San and the State of Namibia

A summary of issues regarding the conservation influenced resettlement of the Hai//om from Etosha National Park. Contributed by Robert Hitchcock and the Kalahari Peoples Fund.

"It would be useful if the Namibian government followed international declarations and protocols on the rights of indigenous peoples to land and to free, prior, and informed consent regarding resettlement policies and programs. It would also be beneficial if both the government of Namibia and the Hai//om Traditional Authority employed an approach to decision-making based more on consultation and consensus building, and less on top-down directives. This is in the spirit of democratic governance and will help ensure that the goals of building a strong, peaceful and successful society will succeed."

Abstract: The Hai//om are the largest and most widely dispersed San population in Namibia. Like many other San peoples in southern Africa, the Hai//om were dispossessed, marginalized, and discriminated against by other groups and by the colonial state. In 1949, the South West African administration appointed a Commission for the Preservation of the Bushmen, chaired by a former Stellenbosch University professor, P.J. Schoeman, one of the architects of apartheid in South Africa.  When the final report of the Commission was published in 1953, the Hai//om were ignored, in part because Schoeman did not see them as “real” or “authentic” Bushmen.  The Hai//om were removed from their ancestral homeland in what was designated as Etosha National Park in 1953-1954.  This paper examines the efforts of the Hai//om to seek land and resource rights and political recognition from the 1980s to the present. The Namibian government appointed a Hai//om Traditional Authority, David //Khamuxab, in 2004, established a San Development Office in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in 2005, and in 2007 began purchasing commercial farms for purposes of resettlement of Hai//om.  Statements by Namibian government officials underscore the importance of humanity and compassion in the ways in which the Hai//om San issue has been addressed.  It remains to be seen, however, whether the Hai//om of Etosha will be treated the same way as other Hai//om and other historically disadvantaged or marginalized communities in Namibia.

- - - - - - - - -

In 2001, James Suzman, who helped coordinate a Southern Africa-wide study of San peoples, made the following observation: 

For San in Namibia, land dispossession has been more extreme in both extent and form than for San elsewhere in southern Africa. The apportioning of the country under apartheid into freehold commercial farms, “tribal” communal lands and wildlife conservation areas meant that by 1976 fewer than 3% of the Namibian San population retained even limited de jure rights to the lands they had traditionally occupied. Close to half lived on freehold land owned by white farmers, for whom they worked and on whose employment they depended to retain basic residential rights (Suzman 2001a:11).

The Hai//om are the largest San population in Namibia, numbering some 15,000 people, and they are some of the most widely distributed San people in the country (Barnard 1992; Longden 2004; Dieckmann 2001, 2003, 2007a, b, 2008). Hai//om are found primary in north-central and central regions of Namibia, stretching from the Oshikoto Region in the north south to Outjo and beyond to areas around Otjiwarango (Widlok 1999; Suzman 2001b; Dieckmann 2007a).  Sizable numbers of contemporary Hai//om reside on commercial farms and in the informal settlements in some of the towns of Namibia.  A number of Hai//om also work in the mines of Namibia, South Africa, and Zambia.  

Most Hai//om today pursue mixed economic patterns, combining a small amount of foraging with agriculture, pastoralism, small-scale businesses, and wage labor. The history of the Hai//om has been one where they experienced being removed from their ancestral lands through such processes as the creation of commercial farms, the enlisting of laborers for farm and other work, the establishment of colonial police posts (e.g. ones at Namutoni and Okaukuejo), and the declaration of the game reserves in the early part of the twentieth century (Berry 1997; Widlok 1999; Dieckmann 2001, 2003, 2007a, b; 2008). Most of the Hai//om who lost their lands ended up working on commercial farms while some were retained as trackers, scouts and laborers by Nature Conservation in the game reserves. 

Over time, the Namibian economy underwent significant transformations. Along with changes in the livestock economy and commercial farming, the labor force on commercial farms shifted. There was a reduction in the numbers of ‘generational' farm workers (those who lived and worked full-time on farms and were totally or mostly dependent on the farm owner) and a shift to the use of more migrant and shorter-term seasonal laborers. Whereas in the past, some commercial farms may have had as many as 50-70 Hai//om living on them, the numbers declined over time.  With the introduction of a minimum wage in the agricultural sector Namibia in 2003 many commercial farmers opted to reduce the number of farm workers.  May of the Hai//om who had to leave the farms moved to the informal settlements surrounding towns such as Outjo, Otjiwarongo, Tsumeb, and Otavi. 

The Dispossession of the Hai//om from Etosha

In 1949, the South West African administration appointed a two-person Commission for the Preservation of the Bushmen. It was chaired by a former Stellenbosch University professor, P.J. Schoeman, who was later to become the Chief Game Warden in Etosha, South West Africa’s most significant protected area (Dieckmann 2007a:53). Schoeman was also one of the architects of apartheid (Gordon 2007). Schoeman, through his writings, including Hunters of the Desert Land (Jagters van die Woestylnland ) (Schoeman 1951), helped popularize stereotypes of San as pristine hunter-gatherers and as people capable of surviving in marginal environments. 

Schoeman and the commission produced an interim report in September, 1951 in which two “Bushmen” reserves were recommended:  one for Khaung (!Kung) and another for the “Heikom” (Hai//om).  When the final report came out in 1953, however, there was only one Bushman reserve recommended, that of “Bushmanland” which was where the Ju/’hoansi lived (now Tsumkwe District in Otjozondjupa Region). 

As Dieckmann (2003:59-60; 2007a:186, 189-191) notes, in the final report of the Bushman Commission, the Hai//om, the largest San population in the country, were not to be given a reserve.  There were several reasons behind this decision, some of them relating to the labor needs of commercial farmers and to the fears of some people in Nature Conservation that Hai//om might have a significant impact on the wildlife populations in the reserve. There was also the assumption on the part of Schoeman that the Hai//om were not “real” or “authentic” Bushmen because of the fact that many of them wore western clothing, kept livestock, worked on commercial farms, and because of the language that they spoke (they speak Khoekhoegowab, which is similar to the Nama and Damara languages) (LeRoux and White 2004:112-114). 

In 1954, all but 12 Hai//om families who worked for Nature Conservation were told that they would have to leave the Etosha reserve. The rest either had to resettle in Ovamboland or on white commercial farms south of the reserve (Widlok 1999:25-27; Gordon and Douglas 2000:165; Dieckmann 2003:59-60, 2007a:186ff.). The Native Commissioner of Ovamboland told the Hai//om that they “had to leave the reserve for the sake of the game,” and would be allowed to return only if they were in possession of a permit (Dieckmann 2007:192). The similarity to the discourse used by the government of Botswanain the Central Kalahari Game Reserve case in the period between 1986 and 2002 could not be more striking (Sapignoli 2012). 

In the mid-1950s, the Bushmen and other peoples in Namibia were under the administrative oversight of the Department of Bantu Administration and Development (Marshall 1976:13; Marshall Thomas 2006:279).  Prior to 1953, as Lorna Marshall (1976:13) points out, Bushmanland was considered “Crown Land” which meant that it was “closed to white settlers and Bantu.” In 1954, the issuing of the South West African Native Affairs Administration Act laid out the bureaucratic structure under which Bushmen and other “native peoples” fell.  In this system, the Bushmen had no right to self-representation, they had no leaders recognized by the South West African Administration, and they had no say about what could be done with regard to the land (Biesele and Hitchcock 2011:9). 

The political and land situations of the Hai//om got even more complex after the removals from Etosha. When the Odendaal Commission recommended the creation of “Bushmanland” (now part of Otjozondjupa region) along with other ethnic “homelands” (e.g. Hereroland, Damaraland), in the early 1960s, the Hai//om were omitted. As a consequence, many Hai//om were left, for all intents and purposes, largely landless.  It is this history of dispossession and marginalization that has led to post-independence Namibian government’s decision to provide the Hai//om with land and development assistance. 

Etosha National Park is part of the traditional ancestral territory of the Hai//om (Dieckmann 2003:76).  At 22,270 sq km, Etosha is one of the larger parks in the country and is the one that hosts the largest number of international visitors (some 220,000 people per year) (Berry 1997; Mendelsohn, Jarvis, Roberts, and Robertson 2009).  Hai//om have lived in Etosha from ‘time immemorial” as they put it, and they were there at the time of Etosha’s establishment as a game park in 1907. The removals of the Hai//om in the 1950s are seen by the Hai//om as a major blow to Hai//om well-being and as an example of the unfairness of apartheid.   

Oral history evidence suggests that Hai//om who were not workers or their families continued to visit the park quietly after their removals from the park in the mid-1950s up to recent times (Longden 2004; Wolfgang Werner, Ute Dieckmann, personal communications, 2011). They went in to the park to see relatives, to collect wild resources, to visit sacred sites, and go to the graves of relatives and friends.  There have been efforts to identify and map the traditional areas used by the Hai//om inEtoshaNational Park (Vogelsang 2005; Dieckmann 2009). Hai//om elders identified the location of some 40 of their original settlements inside Etosha (Dieckmann 2009). 

There has been a transformation over time in the ways in which the Hai//om have related to the land both in the park and outside of the park.  As is the case with other San in Namibia, the Hai//om have sought to obtain land and resource rights in various ways, including moving to areas and establishing themselves in he hopes that they could gain customary rights, asking traditional authorities, government officials and land boards for plots of land, and making connections with development and faith-based organizations who might be willing to obtain plots of land for them. 

Unlike some other San such as the Khwe, the Hai//om have not yet gone to court in an effort to obtain land and resource rights. They have, however, engaged in direct action in order to raise public awareness about the situations that they faced. In January, 1997 Hai//om demonstrators blocked the entrances to two gates into Etosha National Park and 73 people were arrested (Dieckmann 2003; Suzman 2004:221-222). This incident brought international attention to the issue of Hai//om land rights. 

There are efforts by Hai//om in various parts of Namibia to get land allocated to them over which they can have secure title. This land struggle is part of the Hai//om identity revitalization that is on-going. Some of these processes are playing out on a set of farms south of Etosha National Park which were purchased by the government of Namibia for purposes of resettling Hai//om, some of them from Etosha as well as elsewhere in the country. 

Statements by Namibian government officials underscore the importance of humanity and compassion in the ways in which the Hai//om San issue has been addressed.  It remains to be seen, however, whether the Hai//om of Etosha will be treated the same way as other Hai//om and other historically disadvantaged and marginalized communities in Namibia. A meeting of the Inter-ministerial Technical Committee on the Hai//om that was held on August 7th, 2007 identified the need to ascertain how many households might be involved in a Hai//om Resettlement Farms effort. The participants in the meeting vowed to “Engage in a consultative process with intended beneficiaries, stressing the importance of the ownership of the process by the people.” Two new conservancies for San were designated in 2007 as part of an agreement between the Hai//om people and the Namibian government. 

In late 2007 arrangements for purchases of commercial farms for the Hai//om began, with funds provided by the government of Namibiato the San Development Office (SDO) in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM). Arrangements were made for purchasing the farms by the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement (MLR). In September, 2008, the first of the resettlement farms to be purchased, Seringkop, was handed over to the Hai//om. 

Additional resettlement farms were purchased in the period between 2008 and 2011. On the 14th of November, 2011 a handing over of Toevlug took place. A consultancy was carried out in November, 2011 and a draft report on the Hai//om Resettlement Farms and Livelihoods Support Plan was circulated and a presentation made to some of the members of the National Technical Committee on Hai//om Issues (Lawry and Hitchcock 2011). By November, 2012, 7 resettlement farms had been purchased and there were 610 residents living on 4 of them (Lawry, Begbie-Clench, and Hitchcock 2012). 

In the process of upgrading the housing and enhancing the facilities in Etosha National Park for park employees, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism had to confront the issue of what to do about the Hai//om living in the park.  

At present there are some 340-450 Hai//om in Etosha National Park, residing in several locations including Okaukuejo, Namutoni, Halali, Ombika, and Von Lindequist Gate  Some of the Hai//om in the park are employees of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR).  Many of the park employees have extended family members living with them.  The numbers of Hai//om in Etosha national Park fluctuate over time, depending in part upon environmental, social, and economic conditions, and on the numbers of children coming to the school near Okaukuejo.  Table 1 shows the numbers of Hai//om who were residing in the park in June, 2010.

Table 1. Numbers of Hai//om resident in  EtoshaNational Park in June, 2010


Senior Staff Housing

Junior Staff Housing




Ombika Gate









Von Lindequist Gate






Note: Data adapted from Aurecon (2010:11, Table 4) 

The numbers of family members living with relatives in Etosha vary on a day-to-day, monthly, seasonal, and annual basis, depending on a number of different factors such as the timing of salary payments, the school calendar, pension payments, short-term job opportunities, and environmental conditions. For example, flooding in northern Namibiai n 2008 resulted in an influx of people to the Etosha National Park. In September, 2011, huge fires in the Etosha area that resulted in the deaths of large numbers of wild animals including elephants, rhinoceros, and giraffe, affected Hai//om population movements. The fires also affected the reputation of the Hai//om, since some government officials blamed Hai//om on the commercial farms for engaging in charcoal production which were said to be the source of the fires. In fact, the majority of the charcoal production is in the hands of white Namibians and South Africans. 

The Government of the Republic of Namibia said explicitly to the Okaukuejo Hai//om in November, 2011 that the Etosha Hai//om will not be required to move out of the park involuntarily.  The Namibian Government also said that it will consult with the Hai//om regarding the options available to them. The Minister of Environment and Tourism made this promise explicitly in a phone discussion with a group of Hai//om led by Kadison Khomob in Etosha in November, 2011 that (1) any moves of Hai//om out of the park will be totally voluntary, (2) the people working currently for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Namibia Wildlife Resorts would be allowed to remain in the park should they so choose. This policy is in line with international indigenous rights declarations such as the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and with the policies of international organizations such as the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the European Union, and the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.

However, in March, 2012, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism announced that those Hai//om who are not employed in the park or who are directly related to a current employee will have to move out ofEtoshaNational Park. The Ministry has said that they will support those that move out of the park by providing housing materials including corrugated iron sheets (known as “zincs” inNamibia), wood for frames, doors, and windows for construction of homes on the resettlement farms. As of November, 2012, fewer than 10 Etosha Hai//om households had made the move to the resettlement farms. 

The Hai//om of Etosha see the importance of having a choice about where they live as an issue of humanity.  From the government perspective, the allocation of commercial farms to the Hai//om for resettlement purposes is an example of a humanitarian gesture, one involving equitable treatment of Namibian citizens. 

Assistance is provided by the Namibia government to the Hai//om resettlement farm residents in the form of visits by agricultural extension officers, veterinary officers, health personnel, social workers, and representatives of the Hai//om Traditional Authority. The Hai//om on the farms are also being assisted through a Regional Hai//om Technical Committee, chaired by the Regional Administrator for Kunene Region.   

The Hai//om and their supporters, such as the Legal Assistance Center of Namibia, have examined government land tenure, resettlement, and traditional authority policies in detail (Republic of Namibia 2000, 2001, 2002, 2012) and have drawn lessons from other resettlement programs mounted by the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement and other organizations in Namibia (see Suzman 2001b; Republic of Namibia 2010). Questions remain about the degree to which local people in communal areas can have security of tenure over lands that they occupy. 

Based on assessments of the situations of the Hai//om on the resettlement farms in November, 2011 and August-September, 2012 (Lawry and Hitchcock 2011; Lawry, Begbie-Clench, and Hitchcock 2012), concerns of the residents of the farms relate to (1) land tenure, (2) political representation, and (3) self-government.  There are also worries about the availability of functioning  boreholes to provide water for domestic use (drinking, sanitation, bathing and clothes washing), for watering livestock, and for use in watering crops in gardens. Data on the numbers of people on the farms and the status of farm purchase as of September, 2012 are provided in Table 2.  People moving to the resettlement farms would like there to be greater numbers of employment and income generating opportunities on the farms so that they do not have to resort to having family members live in towns in order to find work. 

Another crucial area of concern for resettlement farm residents is having educational opportunities for their children. Education is vital in building the next generation of decision makers and leaders, and in giving wings to those who would like to have opportunities beyond those on the resettlement farms.  In the case of the Hai//om resettlement farms, there is only one school at present on the farms, one at Seringkop, the Dawid //Khamuxab Primary School. The numbers of students attending this school in 2010, according to the Annual Education Census Statistics of the Ministry of Basic Education and Culture were as follows: Grade 1a: 33 students (15 females, 18 males), Grade 1b: 41 students (16 females, 25 males) for a total of 74 students. Teachers are provided through the Ministry of Basic Education and Culture. Students receive assistance in the form of food and clothing from government. 

One of the on-going issues at the school in Seringkop has been the quality of the hostel, which for some time has consisted of a large tent. There have been outbreaks of disease among students; as a result, the cooking of good quality and safe food for the children has been a major issue. The German development agency GIZ has agreed with the government to support the upgrading of the hostel as part of its support to the Hai//om under the Namibian-German Special Initiative Program.  Parents of children on the other resettlement farms are concerned about having their children go all the way to Seringkop for school, and some of them have recommended that there be schools at each farm, something that the government thus far has been unwilling to support.  

The regional educational office in Korixas and the Ministry of Gender and Child Welfare (MGECW) have recommended greater attention to orphans and vulnerable children, of which there were 111 at Seringkop in 2010 (31 females and 80 males).  Social workers are concerned about the issue of vulnerable children; in some cases on the farms there are child-headed households, as the parents have either died or gone to town or to other farms or Etosha to work. 

Much of the work of the Namibian Government’s San Development Office and the Regional Technical Committee on the Hai//om San deals with issues ranging from livestock production to the provision of water points, fencing, and latrines. Work remains to be one on issues involving household energy, like lighting and cooking, two of the fundamental requirements of the resettled families. The provision of solar lighting is a major enabler of activities such as reading, craft manufacture and maintenance of domestic items, and children doing homework after sunset. It would be beneficial for resettled family to be provided with a basic solar lighting kit to enable them to carry out activities at night. Resolving the heating, energy, and light issues of the resettlement farm households would go a long way toward enhancing the quality of life on the Hai//om resettlement farms.  

Tensions remain between the office of the Hai//om Traditional Authority, David //Kamaxaub, who was appointed Hai//om Traditional Authority by the Namibian government in 2004, and members of the Hai//om community, a number of whom have moved to the farms.  Some of these tensions revolved around the membership of an association with rights to a tourism concession related to the EtoshaNational Park. On September 7th 2012, at the first meeting of the !Gobaub Concession Association, it turned out that only one member of the Hai//om Traditional Authority was elected to the management committee of the new association. The Etosha Hai//om believe that they should have representation in the !Gobaub Concession Association, something that neither government nor the TA support.

The Government of the Republic of Namibia said explicitly that the Hai//om in Etosha will not be required to move involuntarily, but later reversed itself (March, 2012), suggesting that the Hai//om not directly employed by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism or Namibia Wildlife Resorts would have to leave the park and move to the resettlement farms or to other places in Namibia.  This position is not in line with international best practice regarding people in conservation areas.

The problem can be avoided if the government of Namibia was to adopt an approach that is more humanitarian in orientation.  It would be useful if the Namibian government followed international declarations and protocols on the rights of indigenous peoples to land and to free, prior, and informed consent regarding resettlement policies and programs. It would also be beneficial if both the government of Namibia and the Hai//om Traditional Authority employed an approach to decision-making based more on consultation and consensus building, and less on top-down directives.  This is in the spirit of democratic governance and will help ensure that the goals of building a strong, peaceful and successful society will succeed. 

References Cited

Aurecon (2010) Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the Upgrading of Infrastructure in the Etosha National Park. Windhoek: Aurecon and Millennium Challenge Account-Namibia.

Barnard, Alan (1992) The Hunters and Herders of Southern Africa:  A Comparative Ethnography of Khoisan Peoples. Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press.

Berry, H. (1997) Historical Review of the Etosha Region and its Subsequent Administration as a National Park. Madoqua 20(1):3-12.

Biesele, Megan and Robert K. Hitchcock (2011) The Ju/’hoan San of Nyae Nyae and Namibian Independence: Development, Democracy, and Indigenous Voices in Southern Africa. New York: Berghahn Books.

Conradie & Damaseb (2012) The Constitution of the !Gobaob Community Association.Windhoek: Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

Dieckmann, Ute (2001) ‘The Vast White Place’: A History of the Etosha National Park in Namibia and the Hai//om. Nomadic Peoples 5(2):125-153.

Dieckmann, Ute (2003) The Impact of Nature Conservation on San: A Case Study of EtoshaNational Park. In San and the State:  Contesting Land, Development, Identity, and Representation, Thekla Homann, ed. Pp. 37-86. Koln: Rudiger Koppe Verlag 

Dieckmann, Ute (2007a) Hai//om in the Etosha Region:  A History of Colonial Settlement, Ethnicity, and Nature Conservation. Basel:  Basler Afrika Bibliographien.

Dieckmann, Ute (2007b) The Predicament of Ethnicity: Evidence from the Hai//om Struggle. In: Aridity, Change and Conflict in Africa. Proceedings of an International ACACIA Conference held at Königswinter, Germany, October 1-3, 2003, Olaf Bubenzer, Michael Bollig, R. Vogelsang R. and H.P. Wotzka, eds. Köln: Heinrich-Barth-Institut (Colloquium Africanum 2). Koenigswinter Conference.

Dieckmann, Ute (2009) Born in Etosha: Homage to the Cultural Heritage of the Hai||om.Windhoek:  Legal Assistance Centre.

Dieckmann, Ute (2010) The Spectator’s and the Dweller’s Perspectives: Experience and Representation of the Etosha National Park. In African Landscapes: Interdisciplinary Approaches, Michael Bollig and Olaf Bubenzer, eds. Pp. 353-381. New York and Amsterdam: Springer.

Dieckmann, Ute (2011) Namibia. In The Indigenous World 2011, Kathrin Wessendorf, ed. Pp. 466-474. Copenhagen: International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs. Copenhagen: International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs.

Feldman, Hana and Miriam Ticktin, eds. (2010) In the Name of Humanity: The Government of Threat and Care. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Gordon, Robert J. (2007) Covering the Tracks with Sand: P. J. Schoeman and Public Anthropology. Historia 52:98-126.

Gordon, Robert J. and Stuart Sholto Douglas (2000) The Bushman Myth:  The Making of a Namibian Underclass.  Second Edition. Boulder, Colorado:  Westview Press.

Lawry, Steven and Robert K. Hitchcock (2011) Hai//om San Resettlement Farms Land Use Plan and Livelihoods Support Strategy. Windhoek,Namibia:  Ministry of Environment and Tourism and Millennium Challenge Account-Namibia. November, 2011.

Lawry, Steve, Ben Begbie-Clench, and Robert K. Hitchcock (2012) Hai//om San Resettlement Farms: Strategy and Action Plan. Windhoek, Namibia:  Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Millennium Challenge Account-Namibia, and Millennium Challenge Corporation. September, 2012.

LeRoux, Willemien and Alison White (2003) Voices of the San: Living in Southern Africa Today. Cape Town: Kwela Books.

Longden, Christina, ed. (2004) Undiscovered or Overlooked? The Hai//om of Namibia and Their Identity. Windhoek: Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa.

Mendelsohn, John, Alice Jarvis, Carole Roberts and Tony Robertson (2009) Atlas of Namibia: A Portrait of the Land and its People. 3rd edition. Cape Town: Sunbird Publishers.

Republic of Namibia (2000) Traditional Authorities Act of 2000 (No. 25 of 2000).Windhoek: Government of the Republic of Namibia.

Republic of Namibia (2001) National Resettlement Policy.  White Paper. Windhoek:  Ministry of Lands, Resettlement, and Rehabilitation, Government of the Republic of Namibia.

Republic of Namibia (2002) Communal Land Reform Act (No. 5 of 2002). Windhoek: Government of the Republic of Namibia.

Republic of Namibia (2010) Report on the Review of Post-Resettlement Support to Group Resettlement Projects/Farms 1991-2009. June, 2010. Windhoek: National Planning Commission, Government of the Republic of Namibia. 

Republic of Namibia (2012) Flexible Land Tenure Act, 2012. Windhoek: Government of the Republic of Namibia. 

Schoeman, P.J. (1951) Hunters of the Desert Land (Jagters van die Woestylnland).Cape Town: Timmins.  

Schoeman, P.J. (1953) Report of the Commission for the Preservation of Bushmen in South West Africa. Report to the South West Africa Administration, Windhoek. 

Suzman, James (2001a) An Introduction to the Regional Assessment of the Status of the San in Southern Africa. Windhoek, Namibia: Legal Assistance Center.

Suzman, James (2001b) An Assessment of the Status of San in Namibia. Windhoek, Namibia: Legal Assistance Center. 

Suzman, James (2004) Etosha Dreams: An Historical Account of the Hai//om Predicament. Journal of Modern African Studies 42(2):221-238.

Vogelsang, Ralf (2005) The Past of the Etosha National Park: Oral History and Archaeological Evidence. Nyame Akuma 63:2-4.

Widlok, Thomas (1999) Living on Mangetti: ‘Bushman’ Autonomy and Namibian Independence.Oxford:OxfordUniversity Press.


Table 2.  Hai//om Resettlement Farm Size, Population and Farm Purchase Status, September 2012 

Name of Farm and Farm Number

Size (Hectares)

Population on the Farms (HHs or persons)

Persons Registered

Status of Farm


(Farm no. 462)


In process of being abandoned

162 persons.



(Farm no.



10 households.

287 plots allocated.

MET houses under construction.

Outjo and surroundings: 184 persons.

Etosha 103 persons.

Total 287 persons

Approx. 2/3 of farm purchased


(Farm no. 463)

Ca. 6,000

12 people


No plans to purchase but recommended


(Farm no. 469)


24 people in 2 large households

19 total households plus people coming from Mooiplaas, Outjo





(Farm no. 454)


80 households with plans for more from

Etosha, Khorixas

241 persons



(Farm no. 468)


9 persons,1 resident






(Farm no. 461)


12 households with more coming from Mooiplaas, Etosha





(Farm no. 457)





Approx. 1/3 of farm purchased


(Farm no. 470)

Ca. 6,700

28 persons


Offer pending


Ca. 30,359 hectares of resettlement farms

Ca. 121 households, total of some 621 persons

690 persons

7 purchased and 1 offer pending

Note: Data obtained from the San Development Office, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the Hai//om Traditional Authority, the Hai//om Regional Technical Committee, and fieldwork on the farms. 

Table 3. Livestock Ownership on Hai//om Resettlement Farms, September, 2012 

Resettlement Farm

Number of Households (September 2012)

Number of Households with Livestock

Percentage of Households with Livestock





















Total: 5 farms




Note: Data obtained from fieldwork in August-September, 2012.

This paper was originally presented at a Symposium entitled “Humanity and the San: Rights, Recognition, and Liberal Democracy, Fred Klaits, Organizer, 111th annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association, San Francisco, California, November 14-18, 2012.