You are on page 1of 115

The interrelation of

media, history and (national) identity


Negotiating the relevance of German colonial history

Name: Sophie Mukenge Kabongo


Supervisor: Dr. Andreas Fickers
Second Reader: Dr. René Gabriëls
Date: 12.06.2008
Number of Words 27694
TABLE OF CONTENT

LIST OF FIGURES 4

ABSTRACT 5

PART I 6

1. ABOUT THE STUDY 6

1.1. OUTLINE 6
1.2. INTRODUCTION 6
1.3. METHODOLOGY 11
1.3.1. RESEARCH POPULATION, METHODS AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS 12
1.3.2. SCHOOLS, QUESTIONNAIRES, DISCUSSION 12
1.3.3. SPIEGEL, FOCUS –TEXTUAL ANALYSIS 17

PART II 20

2. KNOWLEDGE ABOUT COLONIAL HISTORY 20

2.1.1. WHAT ACTUALLY IS (GERMAN) COLONIAL HISTORY? 20


2.1.2. NAMIBIA: GERMAN COLONIAL HISTORY (SHORT OUTLINE) 24
2.1.3. SHORT SUMMARY: WHAT DID RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS KNOW? 26

PART II.I. 27

3. WHY DO THEY NOT KNOW ABOUT COLONIAL HISTORY? 27

3.1. WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ME? 27


3.1.1. PUPILS EXPLANATIONS FOR THE MISSING KNOWLEDGE ABOUT GERMAN COLONIAL
HISTORY 29
3.2. NOT WANTING TO REMEMBER? 32
3.3. WHAT IS HERERO? 35
3.3.1. THE HERERO GENOCIDE 36
3.3.2. WHAT DO THE LEARNERS REMEMBER? 37
3.4. SHORT SUMMARY& OUTLOOK: WHY DO YOUNG PEOPLE NOT KNOW ABOUT COLONIAL
HISTORY? 39

PART II.II. 40

4. WHY SHOULD THEY REMEMBER, WHY IS HISTORY IMPORTANT? 40

4.1. SUGGESTIONS: RELEVANCE OF (COLONIAL) HISTORY 41


4.1.1. NEGOTIATING THE RELEVANCE OF COLONIAL HISTORY FOR NATIONAL IDENTITY:
‘BLACK GERMANS’ 42
4.1.2. PUPILS ON THE RELEVANCE OF COLONIAL HISTORY 44
4.2. SHORT SUMMARY: RELEVANCE OF COLONIAL HISTORY FOR NATIONAL IDENTITY 46

2
4.3. WHAT DO MEDIA HAVE TO DO WITH IT? FRAMING DIFFERENCE 46
4.3.1. MEDIA STEREOTYPES AND IDEOLOGIES 47
4.3.2. WIE DIE WILDEN-DEUTSCHE IM BUSCH (LIKE THE SAVAGES-GERMANS IN THE BUSH) 48
4.3.3. FOCUS AND SPIEGEL ABOUT ‘WIE DIE WILDEN- DEUTSCHE IM BUSCHE’ 51
4.3.4. MORE REACTIONS ABOUT ‘WIE DIE WILDEN’ (LIKE THE SAVAGES) 54
4.4. CONSEQUENCES OF MEDIA REALITY-FRAMING DIFFERENCE 54
4.4.1. REALITY? 54
4.4.2. BRINGING THE WORLD CLOSER? 56
4.5. INTERIM RESULT: MEDIA FRAMING DIFFERENCE 57
4.6. PERCEPTION, MEDIA AND IDENTITY CONSTRUCTION 57
4.6.1. AUDIENCE PERCEPTION 58
4.6.2. FRAMING AFRICA 60
4.7. FRAMING THE LAND ISSUE 63
4.7.1. CRITIQUE ABOUT THE SPIEGEL ARTICLE 63
4.7.2. MORE REACTIONS TO THE SPIEGEL ARTICLE: MEDIA CONVERSING 67
4.7.3. FOCUS ON THE LAND REFORM: ZIMBABWE’S SHADOW 68
4.8. INTERIM FINDINGS: REPORTING ON THE NAMIBIAN LAND REFORM 69
4.9. MEDIA USE PATTERN: INTERNET AS SOURCE ABOUT COLONIAL HISTORY 70
4.9.1. MEDIA USE PATTERNS 70
4.9.2. INTERNET AS A SOURCE ABOUT COLONIAL HISTORY 75
4.10. SUMMING UP: INTERNET AS SOURCE OF INFORMATION ABOUT COLONIAL HISTORY 78
4.11. SHORT SUMMARY: IMPLICATIONS OF MEDIA ANALYSIS FOR COLONIAL HISTORY 78

PART III 79

5. HOW COULD THEY LEARN ABOUT COLONIAL HISTORY? 79

5.1. IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS FOR LEARNING ABOUT COLONIAL HISTORY 79


5.2. GLOBAL EDUCATION-GLOBAL HISTORY 82
5.3. INTERNET-CHANCE FOR (RE-NEGOTIATION) OF COLONIAL HISTORY& IDENTITY 84
5.3.1. SHORT SUMMARY- IMPLICATIONS OF FINDINGS : HOW TO DEAL WITH COLONIAL
HISTORY? 87
5.4. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS: NEGOTIATING THE RELEVANCE OF GERMAN COLONIAL HISTORY 88

6. CONCLUSION 90

7. REFERENCE LIST 93

ARTICLES AND READERS’ LETTERS USED FOR THE TEXTUAL ANALYSES 101
DOCUMENTARY SOAP: WIE DIE WILDEN (LIKE THE SAVAGES) 101
LAND REFORM 102

APPENDIX 104

1. QUESTIONNAIRE 104
2. BLOG (WITHOUT THE VIDEO FRAMES) 104

3
LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1 Gender distribution per school form.............................................................15


Figure 2 Gender distributions .....................................................................................15
Figure 3 Do you know which colonies Germany had (all schools)? ..........................20
Figure 4 Do you know which colonies Germany had?...............................................21
Figure 5 Which colonies did Germany have (per school)?.........................................21
Figure 6 Which colonies did Germany have (all schools)? ........................................22
Figure 7 Former German colonies named by pupils..................................................23
Figure 8 Sources of information of that knowledge ..................................................24
Figure 9 Any knowledge about Herero?....................................................................35
Figure 10 Where do you have you information about 'Herero' from? .........................38
Figure 11 Why is history (not) important? ..................................................................41
Figure 12 What could you learn from colonial history relevant to your life and
presence?......................................................................................................45
Figure 13 Average Time a channel was watched ........................................................50
Figure 14 General distributions of newspaper readers/non readers.............................70
Figure 15 What did you read?......................................................................................71
Figure 16 Did you use the internet in the past 24 hours ..............................................71
Figure 17 What did you do online (per school)? .........................................................72
Figure 18 What did you do online (general trend)?.....................................................73
Figure 19 How long did you use the internet (male/female)? .....................................74
Figure 20 How long did you use the internet (overall)? ..............................................74
Figure 21 How they would research on German colonial history online ....................75
Figure 22 The term they would use to research on German colonial history ..............76
Figure 23 How could you learn best about German colonial history? .......................81

4
Abstract
In order to investigate the interrelation of media, colonial history and national identity, a
survey amongst 136 German grade 10 learners was conducted.
Secondly, articles in the German news magazines Spiegel and Focus about Namibia
(a former German colony) were analyzed. Moreover, I included some articles and readers’
letters from Namibian (-German) media such as the Allgemeine Zeitung (AZ).
I wanted to explore the reasons for young people in Germany not knowing about
colonial history, as well as the consequences of not dealing with colonial history. Therefore, I
further investigated why colonial history could be relevant and how young people could learn
about it.
While I found that colonial history could be relevant in (re-) negotiating national
identity and fostering intercultural understanding in Germany, pupils in this study were
largely unaware of the possible relevance of the topic. Conversely, they perceive it as
comparatively insignificant in the media debate and in school.
Despite the fact that the pupils’ ‘unawareness’ might be related to not wanting to deal
with yet ‘another’ dark chapter in German history, in times of emigration they seemed
interested in hearing about ‘regular’ life in Africa (such as in former German colonies like
Namibia). Therefore the participants appeared to be aware of the fact that there must be a
reality and everyday live in African countries besides the disasters, famines and wars in the
media.
To suggest but one way in which colonial history could be linked to the present and
re-negotiated in a meaningful way, I started a blog: www.kolo-nie.blogspot.com.

5
Part I

1. About the study


In this first part I introduce the structure of the thesis, the topic, its background and the
starting point for the discussion, while I also explain the methods that were used.

1.1. Outline
The thesis is separated in three sections: The first section introduces the study and the
methods used.
The main part is subdivided into three subsections. The first subsection establishes the
background of German colonial history and the (missing) knowledge the pupils in this study
had about it. Subsequently, the main questions (why do young people not know about
colonial history and why should they know about colonial history?), are discussed in the next
two subsections with regards to the way Africa and Namibia in particular are covered in
different media and with regards to the answers of the learners.
In the final section of the thesis the consequences of the findings are discussed
pointing to how young people could learn about colonial history followed by a conclusion.

1.2. Introduction
In this thesis I investigated the interrelation between media, German colonial history and
identity.
Firstly, I was concerned with why young Germans do not know about German
colonial history, an assumption confirmed by an informal preliminary survey.
Secondly, I wanted to discuss why they should know about German colonial history,
which addresses the possible relevance of the topic.

Principally, I was interested in the topic as I am coming from Germany and spent four years
in Namibia (a former German colony) to do a bachelor degree in media studies and French.
Colonial history seems more present in Namibia than in Germany. This is not only
because of about 20 000 ‘Germans’ that (still) live in Namibia (Kössler, 2005, p.37), but also
due to the degree of brutality with which German colonial troops enforced sovereignty and
power over the local population in their comparably ‘short’ period of colonization (Kössler,

6
20071, p.3). Furthermore, German colonialism introduced a system of separation and re-
organization of space and socio-economic order, which laid the grounds for Apartheid some
40 years later (Bley, 1996, pp.141- 142 & Kössler, 2007, p.3) and still influences the
relatively young Republic2 (Kössler, 2007, p.3).

Before living in Namibia I did not know much more about colonial history than the learners I
interviewed for this study. Moreover, I never really thought about the consequences of
colonization and its resulting relevance. This means that I can relate to the answers of the
research participants and I want to gain insights on why they (we) do not know about the
relevance of colonial history. My intention is therefore not to criticize their missing
awareness but to constructively understand it better, seeing that after living in Namibia, I
have a new angle to the topic.

According to Stuart Hall (1996), the result of colonialism is that places, temporalities,
identities, cultures and histories are forever intertwined and cannot be considered
autonomously without reference to each other anymore (pp.251-252).
The consequences might be detected more easily in a former colony such as in
Namibia. Nevertheless, the entire process of colonization defined as the “expansion,
exploration, conquest, colonization and imperial hegemonisation, which constituted the ‘outer
face’ of European and then western capitalized modernity after 1492” (Hall, 1996, p.249),
had and might still have consequences on German society as well.
In this thesis I discuss these consequences and therefore I also discuss the relevance of
German colonial history for our society and for (German national) identity, which in turn is
expressed and influenced by media.

Both, media and history, serve identity construction and identity negotiation.
“They (media) contribute to educate us about how to behave and what to think, feel,
believe, fear and desire- and what not to (Kellner, 1995, p. 5)”, hence constructing identities,
behaviors and world views.
Cultural texts in the media are representing the social world and are offering a frame
of understanding why it is the way it is represented to be (Hall, 1995, pp.18-19). As messages

1
Paper presented at Aegis European Conference on African Studies: http://www.freiburg-
postkolonial.de/Seiten/Koessler-Linkages-2007.pdf
2
Namibia is independent since 1990.

7
are encoded and then appropriated by the audience to be decoded meaningfully, identity
construction through media is not a direct process (Hall, 1980, pp.130-131).
The same applies to history in the media: It is still up to the audience to appropriate
and interpret messages, while they do not automatically interpret messages in the same way. I
will elaborate on identity construction through media at a later stage.

History on the other hand, as well has to do with identity construction and negotiation, while
the encoding and decoding process can also be applied to history.
Important events and histories are encoded as part of national memorial culture but
need to be appropriated and decoded meaningfully by the citizens to really become part of
memorial culture and national identity. By deciding on what to remember (collectively) we
decide on what to identify with. Therefore the process creates and negotiates (group/national)
identification and identity (Saar, 2002, pp.267-268).
This implies that memorial culture and culture in general is not a fixed concept but
always ‘in the making’ (Saar, 2002, p.268). This is in line with new media theories about a
new ‘participatory culture’ or new media culture namely convergence culture (Jenkins, 2006,
for instance p.3). If we take the internet for example, we could also talk about ‘culture in the
making’. The internet could then be understood as tool, platform and conveyer of ‘culture in
the making’.

On another level of relation between media and history, media have their own history (Wilke,
1999, p.22). What is more, media are observers and therefore sources about history, while
they also create contemporary history and they are active members of society (p.27).
Media are sources as well as factors of contemporary history, and by bringing past
events and history to mind, they often link present, past and future (Hömberg & Reiter, 1999,
p.234).
Considering media as actors as well as observers, follows from the crucial role of
media as a public sphere, a platform for discussion and debate in society (Koopmans
&Pfetsch, 2007, p.5), but also as political actors that interpret events (Koopmans &Pfetsch,
2007, p.5 & Steinbach, 1999, p. 45).

History in the media therefore leads to the political controversy of historical interpretation
(Steinbach, 1999, p. 45) , as whatever is remembered as (collective) history has to be
considered important and consequently in some way relevant to the presence (Gawarecki &

8
Lutz, 2005, p.15). Constructing national memory therefore entails a unifying concept of
(collective) culture as memory and remembering (Saar, 2002, p.274).
According to Saar (2002) this further implies a hierarchy of desirable identity and
culture, which might be difficult to maintain, seeing that the dominant concept of identity and
culture might not correspond to our ‘multicultural societies’ anymore (p.274).

Hence, there are decisions about what topics and also historical topics are of public interest
and are a relevant part of public history, cultural identity and memorial culture expressed in
and influenced by the media. To some extent, examining content of media therefore allows us
to infer what is considered important history and consequently also what the elements for
constructing national identity are.

However, as indicated by Saar (2002), hierarchies of what is important for (national) cultural
identity might have to be re-negotiated as they might not correspond to the reality of multi-
cultural societies and converging cultures in general.
Taking that into account it is appropriate to find out how German colonial history
could be relevant, using the example of Namibia in order to assess how colonial history could
be a meaningful part of memorial culture and (national) identity.

In August 2004 Germany’s Minister of Economic Cooperation Wieczorek-Zeul had


apologized in Namibia for the Herero3 massacre committed by the German colonial troops.
During that time there was some media coverage on the colonial past, whereas a real
process of reconciliation and re-assessment of Germany’s colonial history did not take place
to this day (Kössler, 2007 & Eckert, 2008).
Germany’s colonial history does not yet seem to be part of German consciousness
(Kössler, 2005, p.23) and is therefore not yet remembered (collectively). Consequently, it
might not be considered as ‘important enough’.

3
“Group of closely related Bantu-speaking peoples” now living in central Namibia, Botswana and parts of
southern Angola (see for instance “Herero: Britannica Online” http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-
9040135#44593.hook )

9
Nonetheless, there seems to be a discrepancy between the officially accepted ‘special relation
and moral and historical responsibility’ towards Namibia (‘Bundesregierung’4 & Deutsche
Botschaft Windhoek5) on the one hand and the public consciousness or (missing) awareness
of the society at large on the other hand.
Even if the used terminology ‘special relation’ and ‘historical responsibility’ might be
(intentionally) kept rather vague, it is the justification for the official policy of the German
government towards Namibia and for the amount of aid, which is more than Germany pays
for any other African country in terms of the per capita ratio6.

Besides, it has to be pointed to the fact that there were other colonial wars taking place in
German colonial territories, which got even less public attention. One such revolt that was
crushed with an equal degree of brutality was the Maji-Maji rebellion from 1905 in (today)
Tanzania, where the Germans applied a so-called burning soil technique (Kössler, 2005,
p.31), confiscating food, burning villages and crops and sometimes taking women as
hostages (Sunseri, 2005, p. 1538).
Kössler (2005) suggests that this event is even less known and discussed in Germany
than the colonial war in Namibia because in Namibia 2000 German soldiers of the
‘Schutztruppe’ died and in Tanzania ‘only’ 15 (p.31).
This is related to the fact that the Germans recruited local mercenaries (Askari) that
fought and died (Kössler, 2005, p.31 & Sunseri, 2005, p.1538). As a result of their strategy,
100,000- 300,000 people died of famine. The number of deaths depends on which sources are
consulted (see for instance Kössler, 2005, p.31 & Sunseri, 2005, p.1539).

As a final point, a European dialogue on dealing with colonial past is essential to uphold
European principles of civility, reconciliation and truth, which they ask from others (Lutz &
Gawarecki, 2005, p.10). This was noted by Soyinka (in Lutz & Gawarecki, 2005), a Nigerian
literature Nobel prize winner, who claimed that not dealing with colonial past distorts history
and discredits as well as contradicts European principles (p.10).

4
8 November 2007 release on development cooperation with Namibia
http://www.bundesregierung.de/nn_774/Content/DE/Artikel/2007/11/2007-11-08-deutsch-namibische-
verhandlungen.html
5
Declaration about the commemoration of the colonial war from 16 June 2004
http://www.windhuk.diplo.de/Vertretung/windhuk/de/Gedenkjahr/seite__erklaerung__BT__16__06__04.html
6
It has to be mentioned however that Namibia has a population of only about two million (2,074,000)
according to population estimates from 2007 (‘Namibia: Encyclopedia Britannica’):
http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9109713

10
How not dealing with our colonial past might influence (the assessment of) the present and
problems in the present is discussed in this thesis.

The main questions are:

1. Why are (young) people in Germany not aware of Germany’s colonial history and
hence its special relation to Namibia?
1.2. In how far do media play a role in the missing awareness of Germany’s colonial past and
the missing consciousness?
1.3. Which other factors could play a role?

2. Why should young people in Germany know about Germany’s colonial past?
2.1. What is the importance of history for the present?
2.2. In how far can colonial history be relevant for the discussion of present topics like
xenophobia and collective (national) identity?

Answering these questions should help suggesting how the topic should or could be dealt
with.

1.3. Methodology
At the outset of the study I conducted an informal questionnaire, where 20 pupils in a
German Gymnasium were asked in their break-time to answer questions about German
colonial history. They did not know much.
I assumed that their missing awareness was partly linked to the fact that there is not
much media coverage about the topic and that reports about Namibia for instance do not
incorporate consequences of a common past.

In order to assess if there are any linkages or connections made to Germany’s colonial past
and to re-discuss the meaning of media text against the background of the interlinked past of
Germany and Namibia, I conducted a textual analysis of articles from two news magazines.
Secondly, I carried out a survey amongst 136 grade 10 learners in different types of
German schools in Germany in order to find out about the way young people consume media,
as well as how they assess the importance of colonial history and history in general.

11
The question about the relevance of awareness and knowledge about Germany’s colonial
history is informed partly by a theoretical discussion, as it is a normative question, and partly
by the suggestions the pupils made. Furthermore, the way the participants use media is taken
into account. It points to the potential of integrating media in teaching history.

1.3.1. Research population, methods and first impressions

1.3.2. Schools, questionnaires, discussion


I went to three different schools in North- Rhine Westphalia in three different towns.

Germany has a (hierarchical) three-track secondary school system consisting mainly of three
different types of secondary schools: Gymnasium, Realschule and Hauptschule, which
usually start after four years of primary school around at the age of 10 (Dustmann, 2004,
p.210 & Ertl, 2006, 620).

Only the Gymnasium goes up to grade 13 and ends with the Abitur (A-level) examinations
allowing direct university access7. Realschule and Hauptschule go only up to grade 10.
Yet, if a pupil from the Realschule has very good grades he or she might be able to
change to a Gymnasium after grade 10 or to do a more specialized Fachabitur at an advanced
technical college/university of applied sciences. There is a similar option in the Hauptschule,
where learners that are good enough can do examinations on the level of Realschule and
change school after grade 10. Otherwise, schools are state run, tuition free and standardized
(Dustmann, 2004, p.210).

The three track system was criticized especially after the results of the PISA (Program of
International Student Assessment) studies showed that there is not only a correlation between
socio-economic level and migratory background and ‘choice’ of school and performance but
that there is a huge gap between the performance of Gymnasium pupils and the much worse
performance of pupils from the Realschule and Hauptschule (Ertl, 2006, p.620). This gap is
later reflected in career prospects and job market inequalities (Dustmann, 2004, p.211).

7
Compared to other European countries German students are ‘too old’ when they have finished their university
studies, which is why firstly the bachelor/master system is being introduced and secondly since 2001 they
gradually transform the Gymnasium to end with the Abitur after grade 12 (see for instance Bundeselternrat:
http://www.bundeselternrat.de/fileadmin/pdf_dateien/dokumentationen/wissenswertes/abi_zahlen.pdf )

12
I therefore went to one school of each track in order to see if there were differences in the
way pupils answered the questions. Generally, I did however not experience significant
differences.
Yet, none of the schools was in a big city, which might indicate a particular
demographic situation at the schools influencing the results.
I went to a Gymnasium (Landrat- Lucas Gymnasium) in Leverkusen, a Realschule
(Evangelische Realschule Burscheid) in Burscheid and a Hauptschule (Städtische
Hauptschule Wermelskirchen) in Wermelskirchen. While the small sample is not being
representative, it is still big enough to indicate trends.
I went to one class in the Hauptschule, and two classes in the Realschule, as well as
two classes in the Gymnasium.

Due to the time frame I used a survey method, namely a questionnaire consisting of 12
questions.
The advantage of a survey is that data analysis is more simplified, seeing that it allows
the numerical representation of data, which can then be analyzed in various ways (Berger,
1998, pp. 38-39).
On the other hand, the questions are set and limited in scope and will not produce as
rich results as in-depth interviews. In-depth interviews might allow surprising or not planned
results but might produce too large amounts of data (Berger, 1998, pp. 57). In this study I
therefore used multiple-choice, as well as open-ended questions. I thus gained qualitative data
from the open-ended questions of the questionnaire, where the students could answer freely
and quantifiable data from the multiple choice questions, where I set the limits for their
answers.

A total of 136 pupils participated in the survey, while 57 were from the two classes in the
Gymnasium, 58 from the two classes of the Realschule and 21 from the class of the
Hauptschule. In the evaluation I first always considered each school on its own, while I only
mentioned it if there were variations in the results. Overall however, I found that the students’
answers were similar regardless of the school track at least considering the content of their
answers to the open ended questions. I was therefore able summarize their answers and chose
only some quotes, which I translated into English.
One explanation for the pupils in all three different school tracks having similar
opinions on the (ir) relevance of colonial history and history in general would be that there is

13
indeed some kind of consensus about what is important history. This would confirm Saar’s
(2002) assumption about the hierarchy of history that is part of cultural and national identity,
but I will elaborate on that in the course of the discussion.

Generally, the curriculum in Germany is laid down by the educational administration of each
federal state, whereas there are underlying similarities with regards to the history teaching
agenda nationwide (Popp, 2006, para. 9).
It usually covers Western European history in three to four years up to grade 10 from
stone age to the present (Popp, 2006, para. 12), which allows the assumption that in grade 10
pupils have usually talked about imperialism and colonial expansion in some way.
Furthermore, Germany’s colonial history is part of most history books today (Kerber, 2005).

I usually first wrote a letter to the principal and then I called, except in the case of the
Gymnasium, where they wrote me an email right away.
In all classes I introduced myself briefly and after they completed the questionnaires
they had time to discuss issues with me or ask me questions. Only in one class of the
Gymnasium I left after collecting the questionnaires as students had to give a presentation
that I did not know about. Still, they had the chance to ask questions and yet they did not.
Generally, the pupils of the Gymnasium made a more reserved impression and I had
the feeling that they were scared to ask questions as if they did not want to appear
unknowing. Maybe in a Gymnasium leading to a certificate that allows university access
learners feel the pressure of having to prove that they belong there, having to live up to
high(er) expectation. This is an assumption based on my own experience of going to a
Gymnasium in Germany8. I still remember my concern about maybe asking ‘stupid’
questions, which at times inhibited me from asking questions at all.

In the Gymnasium I was allocated to two teachers of ‘special’ classes. One was a grade 10
from the ‘bilingual English- German path’, where from grade seven onwards subjects such as
geography, politics, history and geography are increasingly taught in English. The other
grade 10 was from the ‘Sport path’ aimed at creating a sporting elite, while learners, apart
from the regular curriculum, have more sport and extra-curricular sporting support in school.

8
I went to the Landrat Lucas Gymnasium (bilingual English-German path), in which I conducted the study.,
However the school is very big (1750 pupils in 2006) and I did not go to classes taught by former teachers for
instance.

14
These paths are usually taken up by learners with a proven talent in the respective path in
grade five9.
Nevertheless, they are supposed to follow the curriculum as are the other classes and
hence it does not change the significance of the results.

In general, there were 59 girls (43%) and 77 boys (57%) that participated in the study, so
there were slightly more male participants. Seeing that all participants were in grade 10 their
age ranged between 15 and 17, mostly 16.

Female
43%
M ale
57%

Figure 1 Gender distributions

The gender distribution seemed most balanced in the classes of the Gymnasium, while there
was a slight majority of girls. In the Hauptschule and the Realschule the majority of the
classes consisted of boys.
67%
60%

49% 51%

40%
33% Male
Female

Gymnasium Hauptschule Realschule

Figure 2 Gender distribution per school form

The discussions in the different classes, after which I took notes, were most lively in one
class of the Realschule. In the Gymnasium, the teacher asked more questions than the pupils.
In the Hauptschule, the learners started enquiring about my experience in Namibia and how

9
Information from www.landrat-lucas.de

15
this might have been influenced by the fact that it was a former colony and by the fact that I
am coming from a developed country. One learner asked me: “How can you actually go there
and do some community work for instance without being perceived as arrogant or as looking
down on people or as not respecting them?”10 They also wanted to know how it ‘really’ is in
Namibia as they had seen pictures of other African countries in the media especially in the
time of all the shows in which people emigrate and are filmed for reality soaps.
This corresponds to Kössler’s assumption that while Germans might not be aware
anymore about the presence of black Germans during colonial expansion, the North-South
migration and the 20,000 German-Namibians play a role in public consciousness (Kössler,
2005, p.37).

In the Realschule, the first class also asked me about emigration but besides they asked about
wars and poverty and if it was actually possible to go out for me. It appeared to me that they
were partially aware of the fact that the media does portray a certain image but in the absence
of alternative imagery, they were surprised to hear that my life in Namibia was similar to my
life here.
Their teacher (history and politics) had lived in Tanzania as a child and she had told
me in advance that she would put particular emphasis on different perspectives and that she
wanted the learners to be informed, so that they could understand what happens in the world.
They happened to be the most knowledgeable class about the topic, suggesting the
importance of the teacher and the learning approach.

Former studies on Africa and the image pupils have about it have shown however that there
often is a discrepancy between young people not remembering that they ever touched upon
Africa in class and teachers claiming that the issue was indeed discussed (Poenicke, 2001,
p.12). In two classes in this survey the teacher said that they covered colonial history but the
learners did not remember much of it.
As Poenicke deduces, this leads to questions about the effectiveness of didactical
strategies (p.12), while it also leads to a discussion about what and why pupils remember
certain things and forget others. I therefore incorporate a discussion on how the topic could
be approached in a way that would be relevant and meaningful to pupils.

10
“ Wie kannst du eigentlich zum Beispiel dort Sozialarbeit oder sowas machen, ohne dass die Leute das Gefühl
haben du bist herablassend oder repektlos?”

16
1.3.3. Spiegel, Focus –textual analysis
Subsequently, I conducted a textual analysis of articles from the online archive of Der
Spiegel and Focus.
I have already suggested in the introduction that media might play a vital role in the
construction of (national) identity and memorial culture. Another important reason for
looking at media is that those that compose media texts (journalists, writers and so forth) as
well as the writers of schoolbooks and teachers might affect society. At the same time
however, they are also part of society and therefore reflect views and discussions in society in
the way they portray certain issues (Poenicke, 2001, p.8), aside from being exposed to media
images themselves.
Media as an institutionalized forum of debate (Koopmans & Pfetsch, pp. 4-5), do not
only set the agenda of debate and frame topics in a certain way but they also present their
own position in form of commentary for example (p.10).
In this way, media are moreover important in opinion formation and consolidation by
contextualizing events and matters in a specific manner that outlines the “interpretative
meaning around an issue” (Koopmans & Pfetsch, 2003, p.11). This can be understood as the
way media encode certain issues, which sets the frame for, and imply a desired way of-
interpretation (decoding) (Hall, 1980, p.135).

For the analysis of media content a time frame and a certain medium had to be chosen. Due
to time constraints and logistical considerations newspapers or magazines seemed most
practical for the study.
Even if newspapers might not be the most popular medium amongst young people, a
considerable amount still reads newspapers (Feierabend& Kutteroff, 2006), which would
relate the media content to the content that my research population might be exposed to.
On the other hand newspapers have lost importance as source of news and
information and the internet has gained in importance (in Hauck, 2007 & Meyer-Lucht,
2007). Nevertheless, “people who go online for their news tend to use media brands online
that they know and trust from the offline world” (Ahlers, 2006, p. 47). I hence used the
Spiegel and Focus, which both have online versions and online archives.
Furthermore, Der Spiegel is one of Germany’s most read weekly newsmagazine, the
most influential in the whole of Europe, published since 1947 ( “Der Spiegel: Encyclopedia
Britannica”, 2008). Since the launch of the weekly newsmagazine Focus however in 1993,

17
Spiegel no longer has a monopoly and Focus gained readership ( “Der Spiegel at 50:
Encyclopaedia Britannica”). Nonetheless, Der Spiegel remained on its throne and has not lost
as many readers as its competitors Focus (or Stern) in recent years ( “The mirror crack’d: The
Economist.com”).
In the wake of the Spiegel website, which “crushed all rivals” (“The mirror crack’d:
The Economist.com”), the Focus launched its own online version and archive.
While I will not go into details about the Spiegel and Focus competition, I want to
point out that critics accused Spiegel (or better its editor Stefan Aust 1994-2008) of having
become less political and more superficial in order to compete with Focus (“The mirror
crack’d: The Economist.com”).

Even if the participants of this study might read neither Spiegel nor Focus, topics are usually
covered in all media albeit they are not covered in the same way.
This assumption is based on the fact that different media outlets retrieve their
information from the same news agencies, like the Deutsche Presse Agentur (dpa) in
Germany, Reuters and so forth. These news agencies are the dominant sources of information
for all types of media and audiences. Consequently, they tend to ‘define’ what newsworthy is
(Poenicke, 2001, p.22).

I searched the online archives of Spiegel and Focus for articles on Namibia that I could
analyze and compare.
Instead of actually looking at articles about the Herero genocide or colonial history, I
decided to examine articles on Namibia about other topics to find out how and if they were
linked to colonial history.
Considering that young people and the major population are not solely interested in
news, I decided on an entertainment issue related to Namibia. I chose one Spiegel and Focus
article and other reactions in the German newspaper in Namibia on the Sat.1 documentary
soap “Wie die Wilden- Deutsche im Busch” (“Like the savages- Germans in the bush”) from
2006. For the documentary soap three German families were sent to Indonesia, Togo and
Namibia in order to live with and adapt to the lives of local ‘tribes’ (‘Sat.1: Official home
page’11), the two latter countries both being former German colonies.

11
http://www.sat1.de/comedy_show/wiediewilden/

18
The documentary soap was further attention-grabbing, because it was first screened in the
Netherlands, where they later also let the ‘tribes’ visit the Netherlands, while the format was
taken up by other European countries as well (Bakker, Eindhoven, & Persoon, 2007).
There was one article about the documentary soap in the Spiegel and two in the
Focus.

As a more serious topic I chose articles about Namibia’s land reform, as especially one
Spiegel article caused criticism in form of readers’ letters in the Namibian media and the
Spiegel (all accessible online).

I am aware that due to the non-probability sampling the results and conclusions cannot be
generalized but it is still useful for this kind of exploratory research (Bertrand & Hughes,
2005, pp.198-199) that I was interested in.
I am also aware that the results of the textual analysis itself might not be conclusive,
as the analysis requires a certain extent of interpretation, which could be contested as maybe
somebody else might interpret certain aspects of the articles differently. Nevertheless, I aimed
at conducting a balanced analysis, also supported by the readers’ reactions in form of
published letters, which also represent the way in which the audience interpreted the articles
or events. Still, the reader should keep the inherent ‘biases’ in mind.

Lastly, I briefly discuss the internet as source of information. In order to limit the data I
included a question in the questionnaire enquiring how the pupils would look for information.
I briefly described what I found using their search parameters.

Considering that the internet seems to gain importance in the lives of young people as source
of information, I also made use of the medium to make my results accessible for the learners
that participated in the study and for other interested people. I created an online blog:
www.kolo-nie.blogspot.com as part of a suggestion of how the topic could be dealt with. I
publish my results there and the blog can serve as an alternative platform to discuss my
findings and re-negotiate colonial history and national identity.

19
Part II
In order to discuss the relevance if German colonial history I first needed to establish what
my research participants knew about Germany’s colonial past. They happened to identify
Namibia most often as a former German colony, while overall they did not know much about
Germany’s colonial history. Seeing that Namibia is also the example I used for the textual
analysis I furthermore briefly outline German colonial history.

2. Knowledge about colonial history

2.1.1. What actually is (German) colonial history?


What actually is colonial history? The pupils asked this question in the Hauptschule, in one
class in the Realschule and I heard them whisper in the Gymnasium, while there nobody
dared to ask the question aloud.
In the Hauptschule I explained it, while in the Realschule the teacher encouraged the
learners to explain it. They all had some idea of colonial history, while they usually
considered it as something of the past.
In order not to make assumptions about their knowledge about German colonial
history, I asked the pupils which colonies Germany had. In addition, I asked them to name
the former colonies.
Almost half of all participants claimed to know the former German colonies.

Yes
No
49%
51%

Figure 3 Do you know which colonies Germany had (all schools)?

20
Most pupils claimed to know in the Gymnasium and the least in the Hauptschule, while the
principal in the Hauptschule had told me in advance that they do not really do colonial history
as part of the history classes.
67%

53%
50% 50% 47%

33% Yes
No

Hauptschule Realschule Gymnasium

Figure 4 Do you know which colonies Germany had?

However, when I asked the pupils to name the former German colonies they could not, or
they came up with colonies that were not German.
I let the old and new names count but not descriptions such as ‘somewhere in Africa’,
which they used quite often. In the Gymnasium, 70 % of those that claimed to know the
colonies were completely wrong, while 20 % of the pupils in the Gymnasium could name two
colonies. In the Realschule they had the most knowledge. Besides in the Hauptschule the
majority of those that claimed to know colonies could name at least one.

70%

57%

45% 45% 0-right


43%
1-right
2-right
3-right

20%

10% 10% 10%

Hauptschule Realschule Gymnasium

Figure 5 Which colonies did Germany have (per school)?

21
Overall, however more than half of the pupils, who claimed to know former German colonies
could not name one right colony.
56%

0-right
30% 1-right
2-right
3-right
14%

5%

Figure 6 Which colonies did Germany have (all schools)?

2.1.1.1. Facts: Which colonies did Germany have?


Apart from the Prussian province Brandenburg’s colonial effort in the 17th century,
Germany’s main period of colonization took place in the 19th century and ended with the
Treaty of Versailles after World War I (Schutzgebiete: Brockhausenzyclopädie, p.83).
Germany’s colonies included in Africa Wituland 1885–1890 (Kenya), German East Africa
1885–1919 (Tanzania, partly (today) Rwanda and Burundi), Togoland 1899–1919 (Togo) ,
German Southwest Africa 1884–1918 (Namibia), German West Africa 1884–1919
(Cameroon) and in the Pacific German New Guinea (1885–1914) and Samoa (1899–1919) as
well as the concession territory Kiautschou (Qingdao)1898–1914 in China (Schutzgebiete:
Brockhausenzyclopädie, p.83-84 & ‘Wikipedia: List of former German colonies’12).

2.1.1.2. Learners’ answer: Which colonies did Germany have?


In Figure 7 one can see the colonies the pupils named, while some were not German colonies.
They mostly said South Africa was a German colony and even named Cape Town, which is
actually a town in South Africa, as the name suggests, and not a country in the first place.
They also named Congo and Brazil. The country, which they did identify rightly as a former
German colony most often was Namibia.
It is possible that they named South Africa and meant the southern region of Africa,
which is already more concrete than just saying ‘somewhere in Africa’. It is possible that they

12
I found a very comprehensive list of colonies on Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_former_German_colonies and also a short summary about German colonial
history http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_colonial_empire .

22
named Congo, because they remember the name from the ‘Congo conference’, which they
probably learned about. One student claimed to know from his holidays that Brazil was a
former German colony, probably because he found lots of Germans, where he went.
Nevertheless, these are nothing but speculations.
Whatever the case may be, it confirms the assumption that they do neither know much
about colonial history and nor about Africa and African countries.

Zambia 1%
Parts of Asia 1%
Russia 1%
Poland 1%
North- West Africa
1%
New- Guinea 1%
Marocco 1%
Kenia 1%
China 1%
Egypt 1%
Togo 3%
Zansibar 3%
Tanzania 5%
Cape Town 5%
Cameroon 6%
Brasil 6% Parts of Africa
Congo 11% "Somewhere in
Africa" 12%
Namibia 19%
South Africa 23%

Figure 7 Former German colonies named by pupils

Remembering as part of history seems to be linked to the importance or relevance attached to


a topic (Gawarecki &Lutz, 2005, p.15). The missing awareness or the idea of ‘somewhere in
Africa’ might hence be related to the depreciating way that African history and Africa in
general are portrayed in the media and hence this is reflected in many schoolbooks and the
missing critical education about Africa (Poenicke, 2008 & Kerber, 2005 & Röder, 2004).
However, apart from the class of the Hauptschule, they were supposed to know about
colonial history, while they already seemed to have problems with the term ‘colonial history’.
In the Gymnasium the entire class and in the Realschule part of one class asserted that
they did not have colonial history in class, while their teachers claimed otherwise.

23
Still, most learners claimed to know about former German colonies from their history classes.
So even if they might not remember exactly what they learned they acknowledge history
classes as their main source of information about German colonial history.

4%
No answ er
1% Atlas
1% New spaper
1% Computer games
3% Politics classes
3% Internet:Wikipedia

3% Geography

5% Family
TV
5%
Friends
6%
History school book
14%
History classes
55%

Figure 8 Sources of information of that knowledge

For some reason, however they seem to remember that Namibia was a former German colony
more often than other former colonies, while they added some colonies that never existed. In
order to find out why they might remember Namibia more often than other former colonies, it
is necessary to recap Germany’s colonial history in Namibia.

2.1.2. Namibia: German colonial history (short outline)


While I am not suggesting that Namibia did not have a pre-colonial history that existed long
before the colonization by the Germans, I am particularly interested in why people are not
aware of Germany’s colonial history, and therefore colonial history is the focus of this
outline.
In 1884 the German’s proclaimed Lüderitz13 a protectorate and quickly expanded their
control inland, while ‘relations’ to locals were crucial in the gain of control over the territory
(Truschel, 2005, p.1063).
By introducing a divide and rule policy amongst the different communities (Truschel,
2005, p.1063), thus creating and exploiting ‘tribal’ rivalries (see for instance Bley, 1996,
13
Lüderitz is a town at the Atlantic coast in the South of Namibia. It was first named “Angra Pequena” by
Bartolomeu Dias, who stopped there 1478. After the merchant from Hamburg, Franz Adolf Lüderitz, convinced
the German government in 1883 to lay claim to the territory as protectorate Lüderitz became the first German
settlement (See for instance: “Lüderitz: Britannica Online” http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9049266 )

24
p.24), the Germans tried to secure control over Southwest Africa with the intention of
bringing the ‘tribes’ into submitting to German sovereignty (Truschel, 2005, p.1063).
Even before farms were established, the Germans had problems with the latter and the
last treaty with the Ovambo14 was only concluded in 1908 (Bley, 1996 p.6).
From 1904 until 1908 there was long resistance against the German occupation
(Hartmann, 2005, p.1065). ‘The war’15 and the subsequent imprisonment in concentration
camps wiped out 80% of the Herero16 and 50% of the Nama17 population (Bley, 1996, p. 151
& Hartmann, 2005, p. 1065).
After the war, policies were implemented more radically entailing land appropriation,
prohibition for the indigenous population to own cattle and horses and a forced labor system
restricting freedom of movement, a system that was kept in check with a placard worn around
the neck of the local non-white population (Kössler 2005, p.30).
The African population was methodically excluded from any prospect of integrating in
society and having any political or economic influence (p.32), based also on an ‘inequality
before the law’18.
After World War II Germany pretended it did not have to deal with a colonial past.
This might be partly due to the fact that the colonial period was short compared to other
European countries and from an economic standpoint it was not important enough (Kössler,
2005 & Eckert, 2008) but also because the implications of the cold war for instance were
higher on the political agenda (Eckert, 2008).

Unlike the Holocaust, however, Germany, in and after colonial times, had never tried to
conceal the Herero massacre, it was debated but also used as reference to celebrate the
fierceness and heroism of German soldiers (Kössler, 2005, pp.33-37 & Kössler, 2007, pp.4-5)
until after the 2nd World War. Literature from that time never denied or concealed the
annihilation of the Herero and Nama (Kössler, 2005, p.36 & Kössler, 2007, p .4).
14
Ovambo or Owambo is the umbrella term for the seven different groups of people with seven different yet
related languages, who constitute the majority of Namibia’s population. Ovamboland is the region named after
them in the northern part of Namibia, while they are also to be found in the southern part of Angola ( see for
instance “Owambo: Britannica Online” http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9057785) .
15
I will elaborate on it later.
16
See footnote 3 “Herero: Britannica Online” http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9040135#44593.hook ) .
17
The Nama constitute about one-eighth of the Namibian population and are the largest group of people of the
so-called Khoekhoe ethnic group. They are also referred to as Nama, Namakwa , or Namaqua and largely live in
the southern part of Namibia, while there are also small groups of Nama in South Africa and Botswana (see for
instance “Nama: Britannica Online” http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9054732 ).
18
From the very beginning, the so-called protection treaties established a Native law and a different law for
Europeans. Criminal law and tax laws applied to Africans, so they had to pay taxes and could be charged.
However, they could not legally defend their ‘rights’ in the court of law (see for instance, Bley, 1996, p.102).

25
2.1.3. Short Summary: What did research participants know?
Overall, the research participants did not seem to know much about colonial history, while
they mostly remembered that Namibia was a former colony (rather than other former
colonies).
Some of the reasons for the pupils to remember Namibia as a former colony rather
than others could be the colonial nostalgia expressed in literature strangely coupled with a
missing critical examination of the colonial past (for instance in Bley, 2004, pp.9-10). Maybe
it could also relate to Namibia being an exotic holiday destination in addition to the official
line of ‘special relation’.
They might know someone that went to Namibia on a safari, or somebody has family
there or they remember one of the countless documentaries about Namibia’s ‘wild life’ or
about the San population (Bushmen being the discriminatory term).
Nevertheless, the reasons for the general lack of knowledge about Germany’s colonial
history amongst the pupils have to be investigated further.
.

26
Part II.I.
In the following section I discuss the possible explanations for the missing knowledge about
German colonial history amongst young people in Germany.
Firstly, their selective memory and missing awareness of colonial history is explained
with the psychological model of narcissism.
However, using narcissism as an explanatory model would declare their missing
awareness or lack of interest as abnormal, since narcissism is a psychological personality
disorder. Therefore, additional explanations for the missing knowledge about colonial
history are taken into account in this section.
Subsequently, their missing knowledge is investigated further with regards to national
identity. Maybe the learners do not want to identify with ‘yet another’ dark chapter in
German history. In this respect the pupils’ knowledge about the Herero and the Herero
genocide committed by the German colonial troops in Namibia is examined.

3. Why do they not know about colonial history?

3.1. What does this have to do with me?


One reason for their ‘selective remembering’ might have to do with learners’ wanting to
know (at least that was the impression I got from their answers): What does this have to do
with me?19 How is it relevant to me, my life? Why should I learn it if it has nothing to do
with me?
I already acknowledged that not remembering might be linked to the feeling of a
missing relevance or importance. Moreover, it could also be explained with a ‘psychological’
trend in society. Whilst in Freud’s time, hysteria was the psychological symptom of a society
in crisis of public and private life (Sennet, 1986, p.326), when private sexuality had to be
completely suppressed (321-322). Narcissism is the symptom of a society that no longer
believes in the public but is instead “ruled by intimate feelings as a measure of the meaning
of reality” (p. 326).
Sennet (1986) uses the concept of narcissism to explain the tendency of a
‘privatization of the public’. This would account for the trend that rather informational topics
such as politics are reported from a personal angle and for the way politicians started

19
Was hat das mit mir zu tun?

27
marketing their personality (Stanyer &Wring, 2004), while politics is actually a public
domain.
Tyler (2007) on the other hand, criticizes the fact that the concept of narcissism has
been applied since the seventies to coin terms as ‘cultural narcissism’ and ‘media narcissism’,
as the concept is politically charged (p.358) and was often used as a “perceptual frame
through which a range of ‘non-normative’ people and behaviours could be pathologized”
(p.357). Despite the fact that there might not have been sufficient empirical data to confirm
that developments such as consumerism, increasing liberalism and so forth had increased
pathological narcissism in society and established a new narcissistic personality, “[...] it
established as common sense” (Tyler, 2007, p.346).
Narcissism should therefore not be abused to devalue trends and people that deviate
from the norm or from the ‘desired norm’ by claiming they would be pathological. This is
particularly important if there might not even have been enough evidence to actually claim
that there was a significant rise in narcissistic personality disorders corresponding to new
trends in society (Tyler, 2007).

With regards to the criticism I will not over-emphasize narcissism as an explanatory


framework and I do not intend to ‘pathologize’ behaviors or trends.
Nevertheless the tendency of ‘drawing on the self’ and on feeling to measure
relevance of topics is a useful basis to explain certain trends and maybe also in assessing how
young people could learn about colonial history.
In this regard it can be pointed out that the feeling of colonial history not having
anything to do with them is exactly that, a feeling. It remains to be investigated in how far
this feeling can be influenced by way of reasoning and by discussing how colonial history
might indeed be ‘relevant’ to their lives.

Stuart Hall’s definition of colonialism as a process, which did not simply end with
independence of the respective country (Hall, 1996, p.249) suggests however that colonial
history is still relevant to the present of ‘both’ countries20.
Assuming that remembering is part of national identity (Hall in Lutz & Gawarecki,
2005, pp.13-14), what does it mean if we do not remember colonial history?

20
‘ Both’ refers to the ‘colonized and the colonizers’.

28
Before being able to suggest answers to that question, it first needs to be investigated why
young people in Germany might not be aware of (the relevance of) colonial history.

3.1.1. Pupils explanations for the missing knowledge about German colonial
history
77% of all pupils were sure that most (young) people in Germany do not know about colonial
history. They mostly explained that with the fact that firstly people are not interested in it and
secondly, with the fact that they do not learn much about it.
9% of the participants explained that it seems unimportant to know about colonial
history and that this would explain the lacking knowledge and also the forgetting about what
they learned in school about colonial history.

One learns very late about it


1%
They do not pay attention in class
2%
They know because it is part of general know ledge and the
3% curriculum
It seems unimportant as it is not discussed or covered by media
3%
They do not even know w hat that is
3%

5%
Depends on w hether one pays attention in (history) class.

5% It is irrelevant/unimportant for their everyday life

6% They are occupied w ith other things

6%
It seems boring
7%
Depends on how much they are interested in history
7%
Other historical topics seem/are more important
9%
It seems unimportant, so you forget w hat you learned about it
15%
You do not learn a lot about it
28%

It does not interest them

Figure 9 Why do (young) people in Germany (not) know about German colonial history?

In most cases I had the impression that the pupils from the Realschule and Hauptschule were
trying to take a more practical approach to the topic. However, there was a general notion of
colonial history not being that important, which justifies not learning or knowing much about
it. This also implies that the pupils assume that what they learn is important and the rest is not
relevant.

29
Not being interested in something as the only reason for not knowing would remind us of
narcissistic tendencies as already the notion of not being interested is more of a ‘felt reality’
rather than being linked to factual reasoning.
It is therefore very subjective on the first sight. This would concur with the narcissistic
experience of the environment (also school & media) as an extension of the self, always
looking for experience in expression and reflection of oneself (Sennet, 1986, pp.324- 325)
and otherwise not being ‘interested’. Not being interested would then be a ‘translation’ of not
being able to relate to the topic personally.

However, learners often named not being interested and the topic not being relevant to young
people in Germany in the same sentence with the topic not being discussed in the media,
class or their environment in general.
It seems unimportant because nobody talks about it neither outside of school, nor in
the media, a student from the Realschule remarked. A pupil from the Hauptschule claimed
that topics are just worked through very quickly in school and that learners would be
interested in the subject, if they would know and learn more about it. This was confirmed by
a learner from the Realschule, who claimed that teachers seldom find a way to make the
rather dry topic interesting. At the same time the same learner admitted that it might be
difficult to interest young people in historic topics. The same learner further stated that the
missing media coverage would surely not be helping either.
Considering these statements, the ‘feeling’ of irrelevance of the topic is not that
subjective anymore and it might therefore be influenced by ‘outside factors’ such as media,
school and environment, which would emphasize the importance of collective memorial
culture. Instead of referring to a feeling it might rather be the perception of ‘public’ relevance
or hierarchies of important topics with regards to memorial culture and history.

In a way the pupils express the awareness of a hierarchy of topics that one has to know about
in Germany, which would then be part of (national) collective identity.
This concurs with Saar’s (2002) observations (p.274). The learners often referred to
the Holocaust as being an important part of understanding social realities in Germany, as well
as perceptions about Germany in the outside world today (unlike colonial history).
In some way I can relate to that statement as you are always confronted with National
Socialism and the 3rd Reich as part of ‘your history’ when you travel and people know you

30
are from Germany. Colonial history is generally not part of the image Germany has in the
outside world.

One student of the Gymnasium claimed that he knows rather about British and French
colonies. Generally, colonial history seemed unimportant to him unless you would plan your
holiday to a former colony.
Colonial history only being important when you travel to a former colony implies that
the learner is aware that once you travel to a former colony (maybe even to other countries in
general), the country’s history and colonial history can be part of how people perceive you,
identify you. In this case it becomes a relevant part of your national identity, seeing that then
you need to negotiate in how far you identify with that history.
In Namibia for instance I was confronted with German colonial history as part of ‘my
history’ for the first time. Nevertheless, I did not have the feeling people expected me to feel
responsible for the Herero genocide for instance. This might however already be part of my
negotiation about which part of that history I identify with as ‘my history’.
Another important aspect of negotiating identification with colonial history in
Namibia were the Namibian Germans, who might claim that history as their history. German
Namibians are often perceived by other Namibians as rather backward looking, while they
seem generally interested in people from Germany. Seeing that I am not a white German
however, they did not think I could be from Germany unless I told them. Therefore I did not
have any access or relation to the way they might negotiate German colonial history21.
What is more, aside from my personal experiences is the fact that former colonies
might not be that far away anymore in terms of travelling times and the possibility to access
information about these countries. In theory the prospect of engaging in networks beyond
one’s physical location as well as international media and the internet, facilitating global flow
of information, grants us to access even the most diverse and remote place and culture
(Barker, 2004, p.76). This would hence make colonial history relevant as you do not have to
travel anymore to a former colony in order to be confronted with that country in some way.

21
As a consequence of colonialism and Apartheid the Namibian society still has to deal with problems of
stereotypes and separation, which in my case might have influenced how people perceived me. This would
however go beyond the scope of this paper. If you wish to read more about the topic you could use the “study
on intercultural communication and integration through media in Namibia” as starting point (Mukenge
Kabongo: www.nid.org.na/pub_docs/AVVol4No1Kabongo.pdf )

31
Nonetheless, some cultures and places such as ‘somewhere in Africa’ seem to be ever more
distant from one’s own life and reality and are experienced as very different expressed in
‘this does not have anything to do with me’.

3.2. Not wanting to remember?


“History is just too much to remember everything and colonial history seems to have nothing
to do with my life. Furthermore, you do not want to learn more negative history about
Germany, considering how bad our reputation is already due to the 1st and 2nd World War22”.
That was a statement by a pupil from the Realschule with regards to the missing awareness of
colonial history.
What is interesting about the statement is that it actually gives another reason for not
remembering colonial history: It would ‘again’ shed negative light on Germany’s past and
hence also on the identification with ‘being German’ and at least this young pupil does not
want to be confronted with that.

Germany’s Minister of Economic Cooperation Wieczorek-Zeul apologized in the name of the


German government for the Herero genocide of 1904, when she attended the 100 year
memorial of the Herero in Namibia at the Waterberg. Around this time Namibia, Germany’s
colonial history and the genocide got extraordinary media coverage but it did not last or lead
to an official re-examination of Germany’s colonial history, nor to the process of
reconciliation that the Hereros were hoping for (Hintze, 2007).
In June 2007, in a first parliamentary debate on the topic reparation payment was
ruled out ( Hintze, 2007 b) while in November 2007 in a German-Namibian governmental
agreement the German government agreed to increase developmental and reconciliation aid
for Namibia due to Germany’s special moral and historical responsibility
(‘Bundesregierung’23).
While there seems to be an acknowledgement of responsibility and a beginning debate
on a higher level in form of political debate this is not echoed in the society at large.

22
“Geschichte ist einfach oft zu viel um sich alles zu merken und ich glaub auch nicht, dass Kolonilgeschichte
irgendetwas mit mir oder meinem Leben zu tun hat. Ausserdem will man auch nicht noch mehr schlechtes über
Deutschland lernen, wenn man mal den schlechten Ruf bedenkt den wir eh schon wegen dem 1. und 2.
Weltkrieg haben.”
23
Development cooperation with Namibia from 8 November 2007
http://www.bundesregierung.de/nn_774/Content/DE/Artikel/2007/11/2007-11-08-deutsch-namibische-
verhandlungen.html

32
Missing awareness might however also link to missing media coverage. The parliament
debate about genocide did for instance not get much media coverage in Germany (Kössler,
2007, p.20 & “INA Study finds”24).

Yet, in terms of the Holocaust, it is generally accepted that remembering has to be part of
dealing with the past and the unique break in civilization in order to prevent other genocides
and as a symbol for an active stand against racism, xenophobia, discrimination and prejudice
(“Resolution adopted by assembly on Holocaust Remembrance: United Nation”25).
This attitude manifests itself in the United Nations declaring the 27th of January, the
day when in 1945 the concentration camp Auschwitz was freed, the United Nations
Holocaust memorial day in 2005 (“Resolution adopted by assembly on Holocaust
Remembrance: United Nation”)26.
Seeing that the Holocaust is seen as a unique “break in civilization”
(Zivilisationsbruch), it is argued especially from a pedagogical standpoint that the Holocaust
needs to be remembered in a form of negative remembering in order to learn from it (Lutz &
Gawarecki, 2005, p.15). This means that people in Germany need to admit their guilt rather
than focusing on the crimes they suffered (Schulze, 2004, p.640).
This entails, apart from a basic knowledge of what happened, a willingness in the
population to accept guilt and responsibility (Lutz & Gawarecki, 2005, p16).
Since the process of negative remembering runs the risk of normalization and empty
re-praising, especially for the younger generation, which was not implicated at all in the
events, guilt needs to shift to responsibility (Knigge, 2001). The learner, who does not want
to learn anymore ‘negative’ history about Germany, would confirm the unwanted effect of
negative remembering.
Nevertheless, many participants of this study referred to the Holocaust as an
important part of national history, which would account for the fact that for them it is not just
empty re-praising but they identify with it. I suppose it is a crucial balancing act, where the
re-negotiation and appropriation of history is taking place, considering that there are always
new films, books and material that deals with the Holocaust in new ways.

24
Spiegel Online: no author http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/gesellschaft/0,1518,533951,00.html
25
http://www.un.org/holocaustremembrance/docs/res607.shtml
26
Since 1996 the 27th of January was the national day to remember the victims of national socialism in
Germany.

33
Colonial history is part of Holocaust history as it is the history before the Holocaust
(Gawarecki &Lutz, 2005, p.16) and it is therefore also important to remember.
Playing down the importance of Germany’s colonial past is a result of not
remembering that past, which “helped to isolate the Nazi-rule from the general German past”
(Bley, 2004, p.13).

Bley (2004) states that up to today, one might encounter apologetic national sentiments when
it comes to Germany’s colonial history, because it “met the deep wish in the majority if the
German public to leave the Kaiser Reich untouched from the criticism, which aimed at the
Nazi-rule and its forerunners”(p.13).
Claiming that Germany’s colonial history was not an important part of German
history was widely echoed by participants confirming these isolation tendencies.
This could be explained with the wish to have some positive history (about the Kaiser
Reich) to identify with as suggested by Bley (2004). The statement of the learner would
concur with that, while it also shows an awareness of the consequences of Germany’s image
in the outside world. You are confronted with the image the ‘others’ have as soon as you get
in touch with that outside world by traveling, internet but maybe even simply in the
classroom, by those that have a different angle in identifying with German history as they
might have a different cultural background.

In order to further discuss the relevance of colonial history it is essential to subsequently


discuss the Herero genocide, which brought some public attention to Namibia and Germany’s
colonial past 100 years after it happened.

34
3.3. What is Herero?
In order to be able to deal with history in any way it is necessary to know about it. In terms of
the Herero genocide only few learners knew anything about it.
Without making any indications about an answer in the questionnaire, I simply asked:
“What do you know about ‘Herero’?27” Only 21 % of all participants did know something
about Herero.

Yes
21%

No
79%

Figure 9 Any knowledge about Herero?

Almost half of the pupils from the Realschule claimed to know what Herero is, while nobody
knew anything about it in the Gymnasium (see figure 10).

100%
95%

Yes
48% 52%
No

5%
0%

Hauptschule Realschule Gymnasium

Figure 10 Knowledge about Herero per school

In one class in the Gymnasium, the teacher said however that they talked about the Herero
genocide, when it was in the media for the minister’s apology during the 100 year memorial
but none of the pupils remembered that. However, they did not ask me about it either.

27
Was weiβt du über Herero?

35
3.3.1. The Herero genocide
Major Theodor Leutwein, governor of the colony from 1894–1904, managed to suppress the
so-called Khoekhoe uprising in 1894 (Bley, 1996, p.33) and a first Herero uprising in 1896
(p.61).
The Herero were originally divided into autonomous political units under local
headman (‘Herero: Britannica Online’28).With German support, however, the paramountcy of
Samuel Maherero as chief of the Herero tribe had been consolidated and the German
interference as an ‘objective and sovereign’ arbiter with ‘tribal’ and chief affairs was
established (Bley, 1996, pp. 19-21).

Nevertheless, the Herero took up arms again in a major war and there are several factors and
incidents recounted when trying to explain what lead to their uprising under Samuel
Maherero.
A cattle-plague destroyed the livelihood as well as the “cultural self assurance” of the
Herero (Bley, 1996, p. 127) followed by a malaria pandemic (p.125). Furthermore, the
settlers’ aspirations to ‘master over the natives’ (p.81), disrespect for the chiefs and the
mistreatment of ‘tribe’ members (p. 86, pp.97-98, p.143) were reasons to take up arms. As
summarized in a letter by Samuel Maherero the Herero did not believe that the Germans
would honor their protection treaties but that on the contrary it seemed as though the
Germans would just continue expansion (Bley, 1996, p.143).
Tensions between the Hereros and the settlers increased and resulted in an attack in
January 1904 lead by Samuel Maherero in which more than 100 German men, settlers and
soldiers were killed (Hartmann, 2005, p.1065). Maherero spared missionaries, women,
children and non-Germans (Hartman, 2005, p. 1065, Bley, 1996, pp. 143-144).

Leutwein was held responsible for this attack due to his alleged leniency and General von
Trotha took over and defeated the Herero in the Hara-kiri battle of Waterberg in August
1904, where the Herero were however not completely destructed as intended (Bley, 1996,
pp.149-150 & Hartmann, 2005, p.1065).
Some fled into the Kalahari Desert and a small number including chief Maherero fled
through the waterless Omaheke sandveld and reached Bechuanaland (Botswana) (Bley, 1996,
p. 150 & Hartmann, 2005, p.1065).

28
http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9040135

36
Von Trotha then ordered in his extermination order in October 1904 “The Herero are no
longer German subject [...] every Herero tribes man armed or unarmed, with or without
cattle, will be shot. No women and children will be allowed in the territory: they will be
driven back to their people or fired on” (Bley, 1996, pp. 163-164 & Hartmann, 2005, p.
1065).
The order was executed until mid December 1904, when it was revoked partly due to
the fact that it proved economically unviable to exterminate work-force (Hartmann, 2005, p.
1065). About 16,000 Hereros of 60,000-80,000 survived (Bley, 1996, p. 151).
After that time, Hereros and Nama were put into concentration camps, where only
7700 (45%) survived out of 15,000 Hereros and 2,200 imprisoned Namas (p. 151), while
others were deported to other German colonies (Hartmann, 2005, 1065). In October 1904 the
Namas under Hendrik Witbooi had joined the battle against the German Schutztruppe, lost
their leader the 29th October 1905, were defeated and resorted to guerilla attacks until 1909
(Hartmann, 2005, p. 1065).
In summary, the Herero uprising and the Nama uprising were crushed, while the
Hereros were forced in the waterless desert, where most of them died. Later both, Herero and
Nama were incarcerated in concentration camps costing the lives of more than half of the
people that were imprisoned. The war therefore annihilated about 80 % of the Herero
population and 50 % of the Nama population.

3.3.2. What do the learners remember?


In Figure 11 we can see the answers of those that knew something about Hereros, while I
summarized their answers. Generally, they knew that they are peoples that were (almost)
extinct by German colonial troops, while 12 % additionally knew that they were from
Namibia.
Some learners however, talked about the existence of the Hereros in the past leaving
me with the impression that they believe Hereros do not exist anymore.
Generally, they used terms like ‘Eingeborene, Ureinwohner, Ureinwohnerstamm’,
which are terms used in relation to so called native, ‘primitive’ peoples, while the judgment
implied with these terms has to be considered too. I am not sure though what the usage of
these terms means to the pupils and if they only use them in relation to African societies for
instance. Nonetheless, I will later elaborate on the issue of terminology.

37
A few learners seemed to have thought about the Herero and colonization in a very critical
way claiming that the Herero war and colonization was started under the false pretences of
helping allegedly primitive people and of having the right to defend oneself against allegedly
primitive people. The real reasons, the learners claimed was the intentional exploitation of
people and land.

Under the false pretence of being primitive the Hereros w ere killed and enslaved
4% as the Germans w anted their land
Hereros fought in an uprising against German colonial troops
4%
Group of people in Africa, w ho fought in the 1st w orld w ar
4%
Almost exterminated, because they did not w ant to w ork
4%

4% Tribe from South Africa, w as displaced and partly killed

4% Native tribe from Africa

8% Natives ('Indians')

8% Native tribe

12% Tribe that used to live

12% Hereros w ere almost exterminated by Germans

12% Tribe from Namibia that w as almost exterminated by the German colonial f orce
during an uprising to get their land
27% Native tribe from Africa, exterminated by German colonial troops

Figure 11 What do you know about 'Herero'?

The ones that knew about Hereros claimed to have their knowledge from history classes. It is
interesting to see that in another question learners claimed that school is the least important
source for important information. Simultaneously they get most of their knowledge about
colonial history from school, indicating that they consider colonial history to be unimportant.

No answer

10%

Politics classes
7%

3% Friends

7%
History school book

72%

History classes

Figure 10 Where do you have you information about 'Herero' from?

38
However, the fact learners do not consider school an important source for information might
also be linked to the fact that it is school and they are 16. While I do not mean to patronize
the pupils, I do remember that I was equally depreciating certain topics not so much because
the topics were not interesting or relevant but due to the fact that the channel I learned about
them was school exclusively. This would point towards the significance of discussing or
representing a topic outside of school (like in the media) for it to be considered important and
relevant.

3.4. Short Summary& Outlook: Why do young people not know about
colonial history?
There are several reasons for young people not remembering colonial history. On the one
hand they might have problems to relate it to themselves and to the present, while the missing
media debate and public discussion let the topic appear irrelevant.
German colonial history seems to have been overshadowed by Holocaust history,
which seems isolated from the general German past.

Yet, if knowledge about history is the prerequisite for remembering and dealing with history
in a meaningful way (Lutz & Gawarecki, 2005, p.16), education seems to play a vital role in
providing the basic tools and knowledge for learning from the past. For now it has to be noted
however, that there is a general lack of knowledge about colonial history.
Memorial culture around the Holocaust and its relevance hence its justification, such
as learning from the past in order to foster tolerance, indicate the importance of history
teaching. Firstly, memorial culture around the Holocaust indicates the importance of history
teaching because a prerequisite is a basic knowledge about the topic. Secondly, history
teaching can be part of the process of appropriating history and negotiating its relevance for
the presence. Therefore, memorial culture around the Holocaust and its implications for
history teaching can serve as a model to discuss the (missing) memorial culture with regards
to colonial history.
Learners often related the missing knowledge about colonial history to a missing
relevance of the topic. Consequently, it is important to investigate how colonial history could
be relevant to the present.

39
Part II.II.
In the following section I am discussing the relevance of German colonial history for national
identity. Using the example of ‘black Germans’ and the idea about ‘what is German’, I
exemplify how different perspectives on history and colonial history can lead to a re-
negotiation of German national identity.

4. Why should they remember, why is history important?


Seeing that learning about colonial history does not automatically mean remembering what is
learned or critically assessing it, it was crucial to find out if and why learners find history and
colonial history important.
A clear majority of learners (94%) considered history to be important, despite the fact
that they had trouble to explain their reasons.
Mostly, the pupils explained history is important because it is general knowledge.
Nonetheless, this reason does not really explain why history is relevant as general knowledge
or why everybody should have some historical knowledge. “It is important because it is part
of general knowledge but for the later career it is rather irrelevant”29 said one learner from the
Gymnasium, while another one from the Realschule said that “it is part of general knowledge
and could hence be asked in a job interview”30.
These results point towards the fact that the learners might not know why they are
learning history, while they assume its importance simply because they learn it. They do not
really know how it could be relevant to them apart from the job interview, where they might
ask about general knowledge.
At first sight it could be an admirably practical approach to justify the importance of
knowledge with a job interview. Conversely, it reveals that learners (at least at the
Realschule) are very aware of the pressure they are under to perform well in a job interview,
while this should not be the only reason they are learning or studying.

Nevertheless, 18% explained that history is important to understand society and events in the
present. A pupil from the Hauptschule adds “it makes you think about the present and the

29
“Es ist zwar wichtig, weil es zur Allgemeinbildung gehört, aber im späteren Berufsleben kann man nichts
damit anfangen.”
30
“Es ist Teil der Allgemeinbildung und könnte deswegen in einem Vorstellungsgespräch abgefragt werden”

40
future and you can learn from the past”31. A learner from the Realschule remarked however,
that while some events might be important, history is often boring and it would not make
sense to learn lots of dates and events by heart as you forget them afterwards in any case.

1% One should closure the past

1% You cannot change w hat happened anyw ay

2% The future and the presence are more importance than the past

1% ...to not f orget w hat happeded

2% To compare the past w ith the presence

4% ...to (learn to) understand foreign cultures/countries

5%
"Certain topics" are important to understand developments today
6%
It just interests me
8%
...to know learn about German history and Culture
12%
...to learn f rom history (from misstakes)
14%
...to know how it used to be and w hat happened in the past
18%
...to better understand society/events in the presence and f uture
27%
...history is part of general education, (theref ore) important

Figure 11 Why is history (not) important?

Some learners also claimed that history was important to understand foreign cultures and
people, which is in line with another pupil demanding more foreign history to be taught as
well. “I would also find it important to learn about the history and cultures of countries other
than Germany”32. This was confirmed by a learner from the Hauptschule, who would love to
learn something about the history and culture of Asia, in particular about Japan, as he likes
Anime.
Wanting to learn about a culture and a country because of media or media products
from that country is a very important point, which highlights how media might promote
interest.

4.1. Suggestions: Relevance of (colonial) history


Remembering history as part of the memorial culture that has developed in Europe around the
Holocaust supposes that we can learn from the past to understand the presence and make
assumptions based on that about the future (Lutz & Gawarecki, 2005, p.15). Does this not
also apply to colonial history?

31
“Es bringt dich zum Nachdenken über Gegenwart und Zukunft und du kannst aus der Vergangenheit lernen.”
32
“ Ich fänds auch wichtig mal was über Geschichte und Kultur anderer Länder als Deutschland zu lernen.”

41
On a larger scale the investigation of stereotypes beyond the 3rd Reich would be relevant to
intercultural understanding in general. In order to exemplify how an investigation of
stereotypes might serve intercultural understanding, I will use the example of black Germans,
which might have disappeared from (historical) consciousness as aforementioned. They also
serve as an interesting example as these stereotypes might still influence how ‘black
Germans’ and maybe other groups with diverse cultural backgrounds in Germany are
perceived and identify themselves.
For that reason it is constructive to briefly outline the development of terminology
used to describe black people no matter whether they lived in Germany or elsewhere, as well
as the terms used to describe the children of ‘black–white’ relationships, seeing that they
might reveal prejudicial judgment based on ‘colonial and pre-colonial’ stereotypes and
ideologies.

4.1.1. Negotiating the relevance of colonial history for national identity: ‘Black
Germans’
Despite the fact that the origin of many terms might not be known and conscious anymore,
the concept that is implied with certain terms still remains the same (Poenicke, 2003, p.15)
and is therefore still revealing the origin of current stereotypes and concepts.

Nowadays, the term ‘Neger’ (nigger) is widely accepted as a discriminatory term, as it has its
roots in slavery and colonialism and is hence depreciating and negative (Poenicke, 2003,
pp.17-18). It combines physical, cultural and intellectual characteristics of anybody that is
considered black irrespective their origin (pp.17-18).
Trying not to use the term ‘Neger’, ‘Farbige’ (Colored) was introduced in the 1960s,
while it was not less depreciating. It reduces people to color, whereas it suggests that ‘white’
is the norm and deviating from the norm is anybody ‘colored’ (Poenicke, 2003, p.18).

To understand how this relates to colonial history it is important to note that racist reasoning
always serves the purpose of presenting one group as homogenous with similar
characteristics, ‘superior’ to another group and as the norm, while the other group is
characterized by its difference and can be constructed as different, abnormal, repulsive and
dangerous (Lutz& Gawarecki, 2005, p.13). I will not go into further details about how racist
reasoning might play a role in the process of identifying ‘the other’, which is always part of
identification with a group, as it would go beyond the scope of this thesis. I am however

42
pointing to the fact that racist reasoning legitimized colonial exploitation and ‘white
domination’ (MacMaster, 2001, p.19).

Nevertheless, ‘mixed marriages’ and the children of such relations existed also then and
raised critical concerns that were often politicized as for instance when French African
colonial troops were stationed in the Rhineland between 1917 and 1919.
A propaganda campaign was launched to address the alleged atrocities committed by
the ‘black savages’ that roamed the country to gang-rape Aryan virgins and mothers
(MacMaster, 2001, p.130). The occupation was considered a race war intended to “undermine
superior white stock and Western civilization” and even when an Allied investigation proved
that the propaganda was only based on fantasies, the racist debate was echoed internationally
(MacMaster, 2001, pp.130-131). Children of relations of black soldiers and German women
were called ‘Rhineland-bastards’ (Campt, 2003, p.323).
The term bastard was also used during colonial times to refer to the children of
‘mixed’ relations. The seemingly less offensive term mulatto (Mulatte) is no less offensive
though, when its background is considered. It is derived from the word mulo (Maulesel),
hinny, which is a crossbreed of a horse and a donkey (Poenicke, 2003, p.19).
While bastard might clearly be considered an insulting term, the term ‘Mischling’
(still used, ‘half-caste’ in English), also only makes sense if one is convinced of a concept of
‘pure blood and race’ (Poenicke, 2003, p.19). That the term also often relates to social
hierarchies is reflected by the fact that a child of a French and German couple would not
usually be called half-caste; this is at least my impression.

As opposed to the fact that ‘white-black’ relationships might have been (socially)
condemned, German citizenship law between 1871 and 1918 was based on descent (jus
sanguinus) and the children of a married couple automatically received citizenship of the
father unless there was no recognized father (Wildenthal, 1997, p.263-264).
This law also applied in the case of German men marrying women in occupied
countries such as Namibia, Samoa and so forth until mixed marriage was forbidden.
The main concern was based on (pseudo) race science claiming that the offspring of
such relations was physically and mentally inferior.
This was along the lines of biological or traditional racism, which justified
colonialism due to ‘white superiority’ and set the presumption that physical markers such as
skin color, being the most visible one, imply psychological and social abilities (Bechhaus-

43
Gerst, 2004, p.24). As a consequence it was deduced: the darker the skin of a person, the less
intelligent, less civilized and so forth that person was.
However, critical biologists point to the fact that so-called ‘racial’ difference or skin
color difference does actually not reach under the skin and therefore race cannot be used to
explain ‘racial’ categories or hierarchies (Lewontin, Rose, Kamin in Gawarecki& Lutz, 2005,
p.12). This leads us to the fact that secondly, these children posed a threat to colonial power
(Campt, 2003, pp.325-327) based on white supremacy and ‘divide and rule’ strategies.

In a nutshell the terminology reflected and still reflects what Wildenthal calls the myth of the
Germans as ‘Aryan’, homogenous, white people confronted with ‘colored’ people “who are
foreigners” (Wildenthal, 1997, p.263).

4.1.2. Pupils on the relevance of colonial history


When I asked the pupils about the relevance of colonial history for their lives in the present,
35% of them did not know what they could learn from colonial history (see figure 12).
A learner from the Realschule said “I did learn a bit about colonial history but I
cannot draw conclusions from it or relate it to the present.”33
7% of the participants claimed that one cannot learn anything from colonial history. A
learner from the Gymnasium confirmed: “Seeing that there are no more colonies, as far as I
know, I do not think that we can learn anything relevant from colonial history for today”34.
It is interesting that only very few learners extended what they said about the
importance of history in general to colonial history.

33
“Ich habe zwar was über Kolonialgeschichte gelernt, aber ich kann daraus keine Schlüsse ziehen oder es auf
die Gegenwart beziehen.”
34
“ Da es meines Wissens nach keine Kolonien mehr gibt, glaub ich auch nicht, dass man daraus irgendetwas
relevantes für heute lernen kann.”

44
...how colonialism permanently influenced (both) cultures
1% ...how to deal with people
1%
...about the importance of the right to own land
1%
...that it is part of German history
1%
...that we are linked with distant coutnries
1%
...why colonialization does not work permanently
2%
2% ...about Germans living in foreign countries (former colonies)

2% ...that you should not impose your language and culture on people

3% ...about the advantages of colonialism


3% ..about racism and xenobhobia
3%
..about the origins of official lagnuages (eg.in African countries)
3%
..how supression and colonialism happens/did happen
4%
...about the importance of liberty and freedom
4%
...to better understand relations between countries
7%
Nothing
10%
53% ...that exploitation and oppression are wrong

Don't know

Figure 12 What could you learn from colonial history relevant to your life and presence?

Nevertheless, one pupil from the Gymnasium remarked: “We can learn how European culture
spread and how our culture was influenced by foreign culture”35.
3% of the participants moreover supposed that we could learn about xenophobia and
racism from colonial history. A learner from the Realschule thought that colonial history
could help to understand how oppression worked and still works.
I would infer from these answers that by investigating colonial stereotypes and
critically reflecting on leftovers of these stereotypes, one might understand the functions
stereotypes served and which functions they still serve today.

With regards to xenophobia, stereotypes and the way cultures influence each other, a closer
look at history might also encourage a (re-) negotiation of national identity.
It has to be pointed out as an example that in the end of the 19th century already,
influential African families sent their sons to Germany to be educated or missionaries brought
men and women to Germany with them for a Christian education (Bechhaus-Gerst, 2004,
p.25).

35
“Wir können lernen wie sich die europäische Kultur verbreitet hat und wie unsere Kulture von fremden
Kulturen beeinflußt wurde.”

45
And not only colonies brought people from different countries to Germany but also trade and
sailors migrated to Germany. There were for example about 2,000 Chinese that had settled in
the beginning of the last century in Hamburg until the ones that had not yet fled and that were
still alive were deported to concentration camps in 1944 in the so-called ‘Chinesenaktion’
(Chinese operation) (Mysorekar, 2004, pp.184-185).

Suppressing that memory is an essential part of the image of what is German, namely ‘Aryan’
(white) German suggesting that “‘Germandom’ has survived ‘untouched’ by Africans,
Asians, and Pacific Islanders, among others.” (Wildenthal, 1997, p.283).

4.2. Short Summary: Relevance of colonial history for national identity


Investigating the consequences of German colonial history leads to a more critical look at
German society and its developments. Since colonialism (maybe even before) there has been
a presence of different cultures and people from different countries in Germany. Ignoring that
‘memory’ means ignoring the significance that migration in general had on developments in
Germany.
A re-negotiation of history is therefore essential to deal with issues of integration,
stereotypes and xenophobia. I as a ‘Congolese- German’ and many friends of mine from all
kinds of mixed cultural background experienced being considered a foreigner, while being
born in Germany, maybe even having a German parent.
Memorial culture and history as the basis for national identity construction should
therefore be re-negotiated to correspond to converging cultures and new interconnected,
multicultural and transnational realities.
Seeing that media play a vital role in negotiating identity their role needs to be
investigated further.

4.3. What do media have to do with it? Framing Difference


In the next section I discuss the role the media plays in framing culture, identity and
difference using examples from television, newspapers/magazines and the internet.
Firstly, I introduce media as constructing ideologies. By means of the example of
articles about the television documentary soap ‘Like the savages- Germans in the bush’36, I
examine how media construct cultural differences and stereotypes about places and cultures.

36
Wie die Wilden- Deutsche im Busch

46
This entails a discussion about how mediated reality might influence our perception of the
reality of different cultures and places particularly in Africa.

4.3.1. Media Stereotypes and Ideologies


From a normative standpoint, (racist) stereotyping in a public sphere like the media would
contradict the fact that nowadays most democratic countries such as Germany guarantee
freedom from discrimination as expressed in Article 19 and article 20 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 4 (a) and Article 5 of the
International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
(Iganski, 1999, pp.133, 140). In Europe, racism is considered a direct threat to democracy,
considering the deconstruction of democracy under the racist Hitler regime (Brems, 2002,
p.495).

Nevertheless, Lee (2001)37 found that the wish to localize ( a reaction to globalizing
tendencies) brought about an emphasis on the difference between people and cultures
constructed by and expressed in the media (p.150).
The global market has forced media outlets to move from a ‘white male’ target to a
more diverse target group but as a consequence media “re-vitalize” the discourse of exotism
and race difference exploiting racist stereotypes and moral concepts (Lee, 2001, p.152); an
example would be ‘the black athlete’.
As mentioned in the beginning, history might serve identity construction as well as
media. With regards to identifying with ‘what is German’ (national identity), it is thus
necessary to look at how deviations from ‘normal’ culture are defined and expressed in the
media.

I have started to explain in the previous section how ‘race’ was used to justify inequalities
and white superiority, while it is now necessary to briefly re-visit the concept in order to
assess how the media play a role in framing this very unstable concept of race but more
generally how the media frame ‘difference’.
From the viewpoint of social sciences, race is described as a social construct and racism is
not distinguished from other forms of discriminations based on religion, gender, disabilities
and so forth, which are used to suppress certain groups in society (Gawarecki & Lutz, 2005

37
Lee critically examined the media’s constitution of Asian stereotypes and identities.

47
p.12). This would mean that race is not really a reason for racism but a result of racism
(Gawarecki &Lutz, 2005, p.12) or an expression of racism (MacMaster, 2001, p.16).
Hall explains that media construct the meaning of race and hence also “what ‘the
problem of race’ is understood to be” (Hall, 1995, p.20). This can probably be extended to
other topics such as cultures, places and histories.

Media mainly produce and transform ideologies, referring to “images, concepts and premises
which provide the framework through which we represent, interpret, understand and ‘make
sense’ of some aspects of social existence” (Hall, 1995, p.18). To give an example we could
place the concept of gender in the quote: Media provide us with images, concepts and
premises about female gender, which provide the framework through which we represent
women, interpret them and their roles, understand femininity and ‘make sense’ about the
social existence of women. Media would hence ‘explain’ what a woman is to be like, feel like
in almost every aspects of life be it in her career, as a lover, as a mother, as a friend and so
forth, or at least it ‘explains’ how she should want to be like, feel like.
Ideologies however, become naturalized and later appear as common sense such as
gender and race according to Hall (1995, p.19).

Whereas I am not planning to go to much into detail about semiology, it is important to note
that visual signs are likely to be perceived as ‘natural’, seeing that they possess much more of
the qualities of the ‘thing’ they represent (Hall, 1980, p.132). This is an essential aspect of
assessing the consequences of mediated visual reality such as in television, pictures and so
forth. The fact that virtual representations might be understood as natural is an important
aspect when considering how people might perceive documentary soaps that construct
realities of places and cultures such as the Sat.1 documentary soap ‘Wie die Wilden’.

4.3.2. Wie die Wilden-Deutsche im Busch (Like the savages-Germans in the


bush)
‘Ureinwohner springen um die weitgereiste Lehrerfamilie herum’
(Natives/Indigenous people jump around the teachers’ family that came from far)
(Festl, 2006)

48
Few of us have been to an African country but we ‘know’ exactly that a report is about Africa
already after a few seconds, even if the reporter does not mention the place.
Whereas this vicarious experience might be the only one we ever get of Darfur for
instance, what do we really know about that distant place? And how is the reality of these
places constructed, so that we ‘know’ where it is without ever having been there?
To suggest some answers to these questions, articles about the reality television show
or documentary soap (as it is referred to as well) ‘Wie die Wilden’, were examined with
regards to the way foreign culture is presented.

On August the 23rd 2006 Sat.1, a German private TV channel aired the first of six parts that
each lasted 60 minutes of their documentary soap “Like the savages-Germans in the bush”38.
According to the channels homepage39, three German families go on an adventure and
spend three weeks with ‘primitive tribes’ (Naturstämmen) in Togo, Namibia and Indonesia.
They have to integrate without knowing the rules or the language and culture, which
is why the homepage promises that there will be funny confusion and misunderstandings.

In assessing the importance of these kinds of television shows, it has to be mentioned that
overall, learners declared television the most important source of information, while 21% of
the learners declared the internet the most important source of information. The second most
important source of information seemed to be the family, while least important were classes
in school. Even if there were some variations from school to school in the ‘lower ranks’ of
this hierarchy, it indicates a general trend.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Family 10% 21% 24% 22% 14% 9% 6%
Television 32% 26% 14% 9% 10% 3% 9%
Friends 12% 10% 16% 13% 14% 20% 9%
Internet 21% 18% 19% 17% 8% 15% 5%
Radio 16% 8% 15% 10% 11% 15% 23%
School Classes 4% 6% 4% 14% 24% 20% 26%
Newspaper 5% 11% 9% 15% 20% 20% 22%
Table 1 Hierarchy of information sources (all schools)

38
Wie die Wilden- Deutsche im Busch
39
http://www.sat1.de/comedy_show/wiediewilden/

49
Explicitly, television is considered an important source of information, while averagely every
pupil spent a total of 2 hours and 8 minutes in front of the television screen in the preceding
24 hours. The private channels Pro Sieben, RTL, Sat.1 and RTL2 are watched much more
than the public channels ARD, WDR or ZDF. It would hence be possible that the pupils in
this study would watch Sat.1 shows such as the one chosen as example for this analysis.

NTV 0:00:35
ZDF 0:00:35
NDR 0:00:35
WDR 0:00:53
Kabel 10:01:11
N24 0:01:11
Vo x 0:01:46
DM A X 0:01:46
DSF 0:02:04
P remiere 0:05:18
A RD 0:05:18
M TV 0:06:28
Viva 0:08:08
RTL2 0:10:35
Sat10:11:16
RTL 0:34:31
P ro Sieben 0:36:11

Figure 13 Average Time a channel was watched

There was an article in both, Spiegel and Focus about the Sat.1 show – ‘Wie die Wilden’.
The article in the culture and society section of Der Spiegel was published on the 23rd
of August 2006, while the Focus article in the panorama section was published on the 24th of
August 2006.
Both articles describe the concept and the outset of the show, while they depict the
first experiences of the families in their respective host countries.

The Focus article titled ‘Sat.1 schickt Deutsche in den Busch’ (Sat.1 sends German to the
bush) was written by the online editor Florian Festl (2006), already promising in his lead that
the show “Wie die Wilden “ is the answer to the “Dschungelcamp” , another ‘survival reality
show format’ featuring German socialites. The Spiegel article “Stammgäste in Not” was
written by Peer Schader (2006).
Terms used to describe the people, the Germans were staying with are “Naturvolk,
Naturstamm, Eingeborenenstamm, Eingeborene, and Ureinwohner”, which can be translated
as “primitive people, indigenous people or native people”.

50
These expressions that are time and again exclusively used to describe African societies often
have negative connotations (Poenicke, 2003, p.34-35). Poenicke suggests to just call the
different groups by name, preferably by the name they give themselves (p.119) such as the
Himba, Massai, Germans or French.
‘Tribe’, ‘primitive people’ and so forth are terms, which reflect the colonial idea of
Africans as primitive (Poenicke, 2003, p.30), while fixed organized societies far from
civilization do not exist anymore (p.35-36); this conflicts the concept of the show.

4.3.3. Focus and Spiegel about ‘Wie die Wilden- Deutsche im Busche’
The Spiegel headline ‘Stammgäste in Not’ uses a play of words as a Stammgast would be
translated as a regular customer, while Stamm also means ‘tribe’, which in this context
suggests the guests of the ‘tribe’. While a Stammgast is frequenting a place that he or she
knows very well and is familiar with, it is exactly the opposite association that is aroused by
the word Stamm in the context of ‘tribe’, which connotes ‘exotism’ and otherness.
Interestingly, the word Stamm is since colonization usually used to describe non-
European societies, while it implies primitivism and inferiority, which was an important
justification of colonization (Poenicke b, 2003, p.33) as also noted by some of the pupils in
the survey. The conflict between tribes (tribalism) , which allegedly resulted from their mere
existence was the justification for Europeans to forcefully interfere under the pretence of
protecting humanity and granting development, while paradoxically creating ‘tribalism’ with
colonial policies of ‘devide et impera’ (divide and rule) (Michler, 1988, p.59).

To get back to the articles, they consist of smaller parts, which are summarized under
subheadings that describe the content of the paragraph.
In the Focus article the subheadings suggest that the show is ridiculing the
participants and confronting them with cultural rules and misunderstandings that promise to
be entertaining: ‘Holzpflock statt Kissen’ (dowel instead of pillow), ‘Waschen verboten’
(Washing is forbidden), ‘Sind die schwul, oder was? (Are they gay, or what?)’, ‘Herr
Sauerzapf-Koch im Lendenschurz’ (Mr. Sauerzapf-Koch in a loincloth), ‘Zu dick für die
Hüttentür’ (too fat/big for the door to the hut), ‘Der Tanz des Oberstudienrats’ (The dance of
the senior teacher).
The headings already introduce the impressions that the paragraphs elaborate on. The
otherness is pointed out by the oppositions of words that evoke the feeling that they do not
belong together, such as ‘Herr Sauerzapf-Koch im Lendenschurz’ (Mr. Sauerzapf-Koch in a

51
loincloth). The long and German sounding name ‘Sauerzapf-Koch’ with ‘Lendenschurz’ in
the same heading is meant to be funny and points to the incompatibility of the German senior
teacher and ‘the bush’.
The introductory part in the Focus describes the arrival of the Duvel family in
Namibia, where the Himbas live.
‘Ureinwohner springen um die weitgereiste Lehrerfamilie herum’ (Natives jump
around the teacher family that came from far). This describes the situation in a rather
stereotypical way, whereas it evokes associations of ‘wild’, ‘primitive people’ jumping
around colonial ‘discoverers’, as often depicted in (old) movies. It is also pointing out that the
Duvels are not fitting in and seem to feel very misplaced and uncomfortable, which relates to
the whole concept of the show.
In the second section the series is judged as not as lurid (reißerisch) as its title might
suggest. Festl (2006) asserts that one rather feels sorry for the participants like the senior
teacher that ‘has to put up with’ a dowel instead of a pillow.
Following under the subtitle ‘Waschen verboten’ (Washing forbidden) is a reference
to some particularities of the Himba. ‘Pampe aus saurer Milch’ meaning a stodge or goop of
sour milk is described as the only meal in the morning, which has to last for the entire day.
The choice of words does make the food appear quite unappetizing. Furthermore, it is
pointed out that Himba women do not wash themselves their whole life, so now the women
visiting the Himba do have to comply with that rule. There are no further explanations about
that tradition, maybe leaving the reader with the impression that for ‘our’ standards Himba
women are unhygienic. Overall the show is assessed as amusing in the Focus article.

The article in Der Spiegel at first sight seems to take a slightly less funny approach
considering the subheading, and divides the article in 4 main sections. One is the introductory
section under the headline ‘Stammgäste in Not’, in which the concept of the show is
introduced from a general angle. The opening idea of the introductory section is, that while
there might be some, who would not mind to escape the ‘stress of everyday life’ it is hard to
live without all the amenities, while Sat.1 managed to convince three families to do that
(Schader, 2006).
One might wonder if that would imply the idea that the Himba for instance live a life
that is not stressful but the price they pay is not having access to all ‘our’ amenities.
Interestingly, the first settlers in Namibia also liked to “portray their situation as an idyllic
retreat from the modern world”, while Bley interprets these discourses of idylls during

52
colonial time as a compensation for the rough reality of colonial life (Bley, 1996, p. 206). It
would be interesting to investigate the functions these discourses of idylls have today and
what they activate, which needs they supply and how their function is interpreted by the
audience. I will however not be able to elaborate on that in this thesis.

In the consecutive section ‘Entdeckung des Fremdkörpers’ (Discovery of the foreign object)
the writer describes how weird even the welcoming rituals are for the family that went to the
Mentawi in Indonesia, pointing to the otherness and particularities of the Mentawi.
‘Sanitäre Emissäre’ (sanitary emissary/sanitary representative/sanitary delegate)
‘reveals’ the particularities of the Himba that the family Duvel has to deal with. The show is
described as an amusing rapprochement of cultures that does not ridicule the ‘tribes’ but
rather the German families (Schader 2006). Schader further indicates that the
misunderstandings are commented in an ironic way during the reality soap.
In the last section ‘Im Zeichen der Verständigung’ (In the name of /as a sign of
agreement/understanding/communication), Schader (2006) applauds Sat.1 for the respectful
treatment of the foreign cultures and the participating Germans for their will to adapt, which
is allegedly (“über jeden Kolonialdünkel erhaben”) above reproach for colonial
thinking/stereotypes/ideologies.
The article ends on an ironic note quoting one of the participants who claimed that the
experience would teach them what is important in life. Schader (2006) comments that after
the experience their answer might be: cell phones and mattresses.

Overall, both articles take up the approach of the show to point towards the ‘otherness’ of
people and cultures, using stereotypes to create a certain image and exaggerate it.
The trend of exaggerating or dramatizing is in line with the commercialization of
media, which shifted the focus on private instead of public issues, while the more and more
personal it gets (like in reality shows/documentary soaps) the better. As aforementioned, it
could account for the personal approach that is taken to informational topics such as politics
(Stanyer &Wring, 2004) and it could be extended to the approach that is taken to report about
foreign countries like Africa and ‘foreign’ cultures in general.

53
4.3.4. More reactions about ‘Wie die Wilden’ (Like the savages)
The Focus online featured a second article, the 30th of August 2006 about the criticism of the
show in Namibia, referring to the German Namibian daily newspaper Allgemeine Zeitung
(AZ). The main criticism was that the Himbas could not be aware of how their culture would
be portrayed by the show and perceived by the German audience. Furthermore, the show was
criticized for being suggestive of the exotic, idyllic and natural life of the Himba, who ‘only’
have to worry about some local difficulties (“Himba-Dorf als Drehort für deutsche Reality-
TV-Show & Ohne Respekt vor Fremden: Allgemeine Zeitung”)40.

In summary, the documentary soap and its format points to a very particular image of Africa,
which the articles do not address. It is not yet clear how this kind of ‘reality show’ fosters
cultural understanding as partly suggested in the articles also even more so, if the German
audience might extend the reality as portrayed in the show to the whole Namibia, seeing they
might not have an alternative model. Finally, it remains questionable how much more the
audience ‘understands’ the Himba culture after the show.

4.4. Consequences of media reality-Framing difference

4.4.1. Reality?
Castells (2000) remarks with regard to television in general that all messages, entertainment,
education, information and propaganda are “blurred in the language of television” received in
the comforting home situation (p.365).
As a consequence, Castells (2000) alleges that all messages get normalized, so that
real war images can be perceived as part of a movie (p.365).
It is interesting to consider the ‘normalizing effect’, when assessing how people
interpret information about places and situations that might be strange or foreign to them such
as the ‘Germans in the wild’.

While it might still make a difference what kind of format the message comes in
(entertainment or news) it remains to find out how the viewers assess the reality of the Himba

40
There was an article and a readers’ letter in the AZ: Article from 28 April, 2006:
www.az.com.na/kultur/himba-dorf-als-drehort-fr-deutsche-reality-tv-show.15070.php & Readers’ letter from 5
May 2006 :
www.az.com.na/leserbriefe/ohne-respekt-vor-fremden.15131.php . There is a more insightfull list of readers;
letters and articles in the bibliography.

54
in Namibia, especially when it is framed as essentially different from ‘our’ reality. What does
this have to do with mediated reality?

While reality has always been virtual, being mediated through linguistic symbols and
communicated through language, Castells (2000) supposes that we are now experiencing a
culture of real virtuality (p.404) in which reality “is entirely captured, fully immersed in a
virtual image setting, in the world of make-believe in which appearances are not just on the
screen through which experience is communicated, but they become the experience (Castells
2000, p. 404).”
Baudrillard (1988) even goes as far as to say that there is no more reality, whereas
from the moment events exist and increase in numbers as media broadcasts their own reality
disappears, as you can never enquire about the degree of reality or origin (p.146). He
describes this new reality as hyperreality (pp.145-146), which is like a mega sphere that
instead of functioning according to a reality principle rather functions according to a
communication or mediatizing principle (p.146).
The media is conversing with itself and events might as well not have taken place, we
would not be able to inquire the degree of reality or unreality of events, discourses or
characters (Baudrillard, 1988, p.146). This concept might be radical but interesting when
applying it to the reality of places like ‘somewhere in Africa’ that might not exist outside the
media in that way and that might as well not exist then for the average viewer. We would not
be able to cross-check its reality or unreality. We do not have any ‘real’ frame of reference to
assess the reality of the Himba culture for instance. The ‘Himba women not washing
themselves’ becomes a heightening entertainment factor then without making people
understand anything about their culture. Or does it help us to infer how reality in Namibia
looks like?

The question points to the critical fact that the readers of Spiegel and Focus and the viewers
of the show ‘Wie die Wilden’ do firstly consume the different place and culture in their
known environment like Castells assumed and secondly, they might therefore judge it from
their perspective (although we might always do that in a way).
This dilemma needs to be further clarified in the following.

Summarizing his results Bull alleges that “The situation becomes ‘real’ if it is filmic (Bull,
2000, p.172). This might not only refer to music or a certain order of picture to create moods

55
or certain associations but it can also refer to the technologically perfect quality of images
and the compositions of a ‘story’.
Paradoxically, the situation becomes real at least in terms of feelings, when it is
constructed and unreal or ‘sanitized’ as Gržinić (2000, p.220) calls it.
So maybe the reality of Namibia as having Himba that live in ‘the wild’ could seem
more ‘real’ and authentic to us than reports about life in Windhoek.
For that reason, Gržinić (2000) remarks that it is exactly the ‘sanitized’ image that is
technologically possible today and used in television news reporting that creates “a
hopelessly stylized and idealized conception of the truth”(p.220). And along with loosing
every real sense whatsoever of where and when the mediated events such as wars take place
(pp.218-219), we lose our sense of place and time (p.220).

In the example of the television show and the articles about it, it is not so much about the
technological possibility of telepresence or perfect images. Yet, it is about the way in which
the show and the articles are set up (stylized) to give a ‘real’, ‘true’ account of the reality of
the Himba amongst others and of how it would be (is) to adapt to them.

4.4.2. Bringing the world closer?


The possibility to be both, here and somewhere else, paradoxically ‘subjectifies’ space and at
the same time overemphasizes the immediate experience according to Adorno (in Bull, 2000,
p.174) to give or re-create personalized (narcissistic) meaning to (urban) spaces (p.172). The
example by Bull of a girl, who can only feel with a poor person when the music from her
personal stereo is ‘right’is interesting on two levels. On the one hand it exemplifies Adorno’s
assumption, while according to Bull (2000), it re-creates the same scenario that we have if
people watch a dramatically ‘set up’ report on poverty in the comfort of the home (p. 172).
It also re-creates the scenario of sending people, who could well represent an average
viewer, to a distant place to people whose culture they (we) do not understand, in an attempt
to use known standards to measure their culture, while we watch them doing it. And perhaps
the possibility to be in the living room in Germany embedded and surrounded by ‘western
culture’, while at the same time ‘seemingly’ taking part in a different culture in a different
place could be aiming at personalizing or trying to appropriate that culture and place. On the
one hand the audience is taking part by maybe feeling represented by the participants of the
reality show, which were probably chosen in a way that people would be able to identify with

56
them. On another level they are present in that distant place by watching the show on
television. But what could be the consequence of that?

While the idea of a narcissistic society might be an extreme model to explain trends in
society, it would partially account for the trend of these kinds of reality shows that are to
explore the last unknown, remote areas, concepts of life and realities in the name of bringing
people closer together. This might be heightened by technology such as the internet with the
possibility to communicate beyond borders in a blink of an eye nullifying time and space (at
least virtually) (Röder, 2004, p.13).
Such a society tries to remove “the barriers between people, [...]” (Sennet, 1986,
p.336). Sennet, however deduces that this will have negative effects as “[...] it will succeed
only in transposing the structures of domination in the society into psychological terms”
(p.336) while narcissists are doomed not to find satisfaction (p.325).

4.5. Interim result: Media framing difference


The show and the interpretation of the articles of experiencing foreign cultures to better
understand them paradoxically becomes a tool to make them even more foreign and distant.
It focuses on particularities and differences between cultures. It represents the
problems that every (German) Tom, Dick and Harry would have with these ‘differences’,
while the entertainment factor is exactly the discrepancy between the cultures instead of the
similarities.
In order to assess how people perceive media reality, it needs to be investigated
further how media construct identity, while also referring to the media use pattern of the
young participants of this study.

4.6. Perception, Media and identity construction


In order to discuss how young people might assess a certain kind of coverage and television
shows it needs to be considered how media generate patterns for identity construction.
Firstly, I elaborate on how the audience might perceive messages and how that might
serve identity construction, borrowing from Stuart Hall’s explanation of encoding and
decoding media texts.
Secondly, I use the example of the Spiegel and Focus article on the ‘land reform’ in
Namibia to discuss how certain issues especially in relation to Africa might be framed. And

57
lastly, I will discuss the internet as source of information about colonial history considering
young people’s media environment and the increasing importance of the internet.

4.6.1. Audience Perception


Within a cultural studies or specifically a semiological frame of reference the complex
process of meaningfully creating messages or text is referred to as encoding, while the way in
which professionals encode media messages already implies a preferred way of decoding
(Hall, 1980, p.135). Decoding would describe the way the audience appropriates and
interprets media texts, whereas encoding sets the limits for decoding (p.135).
In news for instance a ‘story’ is put together (encoding) in a manner that it is
‘understood’ (decoded) in a certain way by the audience.
One can deduce that the way a topic is encoded relates to the way the topic is framed,
as framing is considered as “the construction of a framework of interpretative meaning
around an issue, which is taken as a basis for collective opinion formation” (Koopmans
&Pfetsch, 2008, p.11).
As Fetveit (2002) notes in relation to reality TV “visual evidence is not merely visual”
(p.125).
The frame would therefore not only include the background story and introduction but
also the voice over, comments or real sound and camera angles used in terms of television or
the pictures or quotes used in terms of newspaper articles. Hence the composition of the
whole media text and maybe even the choice of a certain medium for a certain message is
part of the manner a topic is framed and encoded, which does not explain though how media
text is decoded.

Stuart Hall distinguishes between three positions from which decoding can be explained:
1. Dominant hegemonic position
From the dominant hegemonic position the audience decodes or perceives the messages or
media texts exactly the way the ‘sender’ or broadcast professional implied when encoding the
message (Hall, 1980, p.136).
That means that a message is constructed in a way that implies how it should be
understood or decoded, while the broadcast professionals are linked with the elites that define
this ‘preferred decoding’(p.136). “The definition of hegemonic viewpoint is (a) that it defines
within its terms the mental horizon, the universe, of possible meanings, of a whole sector of
relations in a society or culture; and (b) it carries with it the stamp of legitimacy-it appears

58
coterminus with what is ‘natural’, ‘inevitable’, taken for granted’ about the social order.”
(Hall, 1980, p.137).

This position would explain why young people would not question anymore why history is
important as it is ‘suppose to be’ important and thus the concept can be transferred to history.
It is moreover expressed in the way history is linked to the presence and future or made a
topic for discussion by the media. There usually is an official cultural memory, which is
aimed at constructing cultural identity, and at uniting groups (Saar, 2002, p.273) depending
on the aim.
Remembering nationally would serve the creation and maintenance of national
(collective) identity for example, while this might also happen on a smaller scale.
The Holocaust for instance seems to be part of European maybe even ‘western’
identity mounted to a memorial culture around certain days, events and places expressed in
media like films and literature.
As aforementioned, one could deduce the following : If it is provided that the Holocaust
is a very important part of memorial culture, colonial history, as part of history of (before) the
Holocaust, should also be part of memorial culture (Gawarecki &Lutz, 2005, p.16).

2. Negotiated Code
The negotiated code would apply when, on the one hand the hegemonic viewpoint is
understood and accepted but following a situational logic, exceptions are made to the rule
(Hall, 1980, p.137).
Considering the classrooms for instance, which were often multicultural or
multiethnic, it is possible on the one hand that pupils agree to the importance of remembering
the Holocaust but they might want to “...also learn about the history and cultures of other
countries than Germany”41 as one learner put it. Maybe this might be influenced by the
situation (-al logic) of being in a multicultural classroom, watching Anime, having a
multicultural background and so forth.
Somebody with family in Namibia might not just see ‘Wie die Wilden’ as
entertainment about cultural (miss) understanding but as stereotypical depiction of Namibia
as expressed in the Allgemeine Zeitung42.

41
Ich fänds auch wichtig mal was über Geschichte und Kultur anderer Länder als Deutschland zu lernen.
42
See reference list

59
Individuals in a diasporic situation might have the conflicting feeling of ‘not being
represented’ or not being integrated in the group that is unified by collective memory,
because it might not wholly address their cultural identity (Saar, 2002, p.272).
Especially in reporting on ‘foreign cultures’, it is important to consider that people with
different backgrounds might interpret information in different ways, as the culture framed as
‘foreign’ might not be more foreign to them than the viewpoint from which foreign culture is
defined as foreign and different. The hegemonic viewpoint implying a desired interpretation
supposes to be considered natural or evident. This might not correspond to multicultural
societies (Saar, 2002) or converging cultures anymore.
Usually broadcasting professionals and elites identify a contradiction between the
hegemonic way messages and events ‘should be decoded’ and the negotiated decoding as
failed communication (Hall, 1980, p.137).

3. Oppositional code
It is also possible that while a person understands the implied meaning he or she ‘reads’ the
contrary meaning into it (Hall, 1980, p.137).

4.6.2. Framing Africa


A very important step in the whole process of constructing a certain interpretation of realities
and assessments of events is the way in which messages and stories are encoded, since this
implies a preferred way of decoding, hence interpretation.
And while it cannot be controlled how text is decoded (considering the three positions
for instance), it is still useful to analyze how stories are constructed and framed (encoded) to
discover the desired interpretation.
“Seeing is believing”, claims an English proverb but with the possibility of digital
manipulation, images can no longer automatically acclaim truthfulness.

Nowadays we need additional information like where the images were taken, for what
purpose, by whom and so forth to assess its credibility (Fetveit, 2002, p.126).
Nevertheless, already the journalistic practice of editing is a manipulation. In his
article ‘Accepting manipulation or Manipulating What’s acceptable?’, Quinn (n.d.) discusses
how photojournalists balance their ethics or virtues and the photo editing techniques such as
cropping, balancing, and adjusting colors, which can potentially influence the way people
interpret a picture.

60
It is however difficult (not only in the Baudrillardian sense) to enquire about the source of
(un-)reality, seeing that we might not know how, where and why the picture was taken or
why a particular person was interviewed.

Furthermore, it is not only important how the topic is covered but also how much coverage a
topic gets. This assumption is based on the so-called agenda setting theory suggesting that the
importance people attach to certain topics corresponds to the amount of coverage the topics
get in the media (Mukenge Kabongo, 2007, p.7).
The relevance of the quantity of coverage a topic gets is closely related to the media
as gatekeepers that suggest newsworthiness, seeing that media might not be able to directly
tell us “what to think but rather what to think about” (Campbell, in Mukenge Kabongo, 2007,
p.34).
This implies that topics, which are not covered in the media, do not exist in terms of
public consciousness (Castells, 2000, p.365), while I might have to add that they only exist
the way the media portray them, which might, if we think about a particular Africa image,
lead us back to the idea of Baudrillard’s hyperreality.

With regards to coverage on Africa, Poenicke (2001), who conducted a media analysis over a
period of three weeks, concluded that Africa, as a daily news item, was hardly represented
and if it was represented, it often came without background information. Hence it indicated
that Africa in general is not represented as other countries and continents.
Furthermore, even in short reports there seemed to be enough time to mention not
only the consequences of a catastrophe for the people but also for animals (Poenicke, 2001,
pp. 27-28).
While Poenicke’s study is not representative due to the short time frame it echoes
former accusations by Belinga Belinga for instance, who claimed that with the help of the
order of image sequences links are constructed between animals and people in Africa, while
there is no critical self examination of the role of Europeans in Africa (In Poenicke, 2001,
pp.12-13).
Seeing that colonial justification was based on renouncing human dignity and
humanity of the colonized people, it is very important to expose these kinds of images and
stereotypes created and consolidated in the media today (Poenicke, 2001, p.7).
Poenicke (2001) confirms these findings, while she added that there was also hardly
any coverage of the efforts and successes of African countries to help themselves (p.14).

61
This criticism concurs with earlier studies, as the one by Michler (1988) in his book
‘Weiβbuch Afrika’ (White book Africa) (in Poenicke pp.13-14).
Michler (1988) uses the German media coverage of the great famine in ‘Africa’ from
1983 till 1985, allegedly caused by a dry period that was to hit the southern African regions
causing 150 million deaths as an example.
Michler (1988) demonstrates that the media exaggerated the numbers, origins and
dimension of the catastrophe and that this ‘journalistic disaster’ had devastating
consequences, consolidating stereotypes and prejudices (p.31). Instead of researching and
informing about more complex political and socio-economic factors, as well as the role the
industrialized countries played in the food crisis, the media overemphasized drought as a
reason for famine (p.31).
Michler (1988) points out that the average German citizen is hardly aware of the fact
that very often data or the interpretations of events in developing countries like in Sub-
Saharan Africa are ‘made up’ to be exploited by media and politicians (p.31).
In general, Michler claims that western-European governments had long demanded a
re-organization of African political and economical systems, which the same governments
obstructed with debt services and missing support for democracies amongst others, when it
came about in the beginning of the 90s (see Poenicke, 2001, p.13). The media did not report
about it and did therefore, according to Michler, let it happen (p.13). Michler further claims
that this is clearly not equally practiced for other countries taking the East-European re-
organization (Perestroika) as an example, which was financially supported and reported about
by media (in Poenicke, 2001, p.13).
Michler (1988) shows with the example of the coverage on the dry period between
1983 and 1985 that media coverage about Africa is often extremely negative and therefore it
consolidates stereotypes and prejudices, while there is a lack of background information
(p.32). As a consequence the audience is not in the position to assess the situation and events
on the African continent.

While I am not defending the approach it can be partly explained with the fact that news has
to sell; it is not free from market forces.
The formulaic concept of what constitute news and news values as well as models for
journalistic ethics are furthermore highly determined by so called western standards (Palmer,
1998, p.174) and hence western news agencies influence decisions about newsworthiness.

62
IPS amongst others sees a trend of media focusing on entertainment and reporting only on
disasters, crisis and scandals (Giffard, 1998, p.192) particularly when it comes to reporting
about African countries (Poenicke, 2003, p.14). And while some agree and criticize this trend
(Stanyer& Wring, 2004 p.6), others even mourn the death of journalism (Conboy, 2004,
p.222).
Even if that might be a matter of how the development and role of journalism is
assessed, in 2007 the study from the “Intitiative Nachrichtenaufklärung (INA)” found that
there was a lack of reports and background reports on controversial issues such as the Herero
genocide (“INA Study finds”)43. Generally, the Africa image the media portrays still seems
saturated by colonial stereotypes even if it might be more subtle today (Hagos, 2000, p.2 &
Poenicke, 2001, p.7).

4.7. Framing the land issue


The Focus and Spiegel articles I analyzed were both about the land reform, while especially
the Spiegel article was criticized for being biased in form of readers’ letters.

4.7.1. Critique about the Spiegel article


The Spiegel’s way of reporting on Africa has often been criticized (Poenicke, 2001, p.19).
The one Spiegel article on Namibia’s land reform was challenged in The Namibian
newspaper in an open letter by Goldbeck (businessman) & Kanzler (journalist). They
analyzed the Spiegel article ‘Kriegstrommeln in Südwest’ by Thielo Thielke, which was
pubilshed in Der Spiegel the 5th of June 2004. The Spiegel article was written in relation to
the first ‘expropriation’ of a farm named ‘Ongombo West’ owned by the German Namibian
family called Wiese. The problem had started with a labor dispute that escalated and was
politicized, and ended with the expropriation of the farm (Maletsky, 2005)44. Nevertheless, it
has to be noted that the government paid N$3, 7 million (at the time about 400,000 Euros) for
the farm (Maletsky, 2005).

I henceforth summarize the main points raised by the two critics of the Spiegel article and
elaborate on them as they highlight important issues with regards to coverage of African
countries in general.

43
Spiegel Online: no author http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/gesellschaft/0,1518,533951,00.html
44
Maletsky wrote an article in the Namibian Newspaper about the case accessible online
http://www.namibian.com.na/2005/November/national/05EAF77EA2.html

63
Regarding the headline ‘Kriegstrommeln in Südwest’(War drums in Southwest), Goldbeck
and Kanzler (2004) remark that the picture of war drums already evokes racist stereotypes,
while using ‘Südwest’(Southwest) without scare quotes echoes the voices of a backward
looking minority in Namibia, often of German descent, who still call themselves Südwester
(South westerners) and that are yearning for colonial times.
Thielke ends his Spiegel article on the viewpoint of the German Namibian farmer
Wiese, who does not know where to go now: “Only one thing is for sure: In Namibia there is
no future anymore”45. Goldbeck and Kanzler (2004) take up that sentence for the title of their
open letter (in the English version at least): “There is a future in Namibia despite Der
Spiegel’s Analysis”.

The main critique is the one-sidedness of the Spiegel article presenting only a biased view of
a small group of Namibians and maybe even making up quotes in order to express opinion.
At least one of the interviewees claimed later, according to Goldbeck and Kanzler (2004), he
never had made such comments.
Furthermore, Goldbeck & Kanzler (2004) accuse Thielke of presenting wrong facts or
at least leaving out facts in order to link the developments in Namibia to Mugabe and the
bloody expropriations in Zimbabwe. In a quote it is predicted that in 20 years there will not
be anymore ‘whites’ in Namibia46 (Thielke, 2004, p.110).
The expert that Thielke allegedly quotes wrongly, explained later to Goldbeck and
Kanzler that he had explicitly stated in the interview that the situation in Namibia could not
be compared to Zimbabwe for several reasons, which Thielke chose to ignore (Goldbeck
&Kanzler, 2004).

The Spiegel article is further criticized for ridiculing the Namibian government, the land
reform and developments, as well as motives for the land reform without giving any
alternative viewpoints or background information (Goldbeck & Kanzler, 2004). This would
be in line with the criticism that Michler made about the reporting on the famine in 1984,
which he called a journalistic disaster for the same reasons: Unbalanced and rather superficial
reporting (Michler, 1988, p.31).

45
...Nur eines ist sicher: In Namibia gibt es keine Zukunft mehr
46
Doch viel Hoffnung hat auch Eimbeck nicht. “In 20 Jahren”, sagt er, “wird
es hier wohl keine weißen Farmer mehr geben.”

64
The land reform according to Goldbeck and Kanzler (2004) is framed as unfair and irrational
(Thielke, 2004, p.110), whereas already the emotional beginning and the end of the article
make the reader sympathize with the ‘suffering white farmer’ and his ‘destroyed’ future in
Namibia.
While the two critics admit that the suffering and the story of the Wiese’s is real, they
claim Thielke exploited their suffering to portray a certain image (Goldbeck &Kanzler,
2004).
Goldbeck and Kanzler (2004) explain that the expropriation of the Wiese farm, which
is Thielke’s lead angle to criticizing the land reform, does not actually have anything to do
with the land reform as such. It was caused by a labor dispute that escalated.

Already the heading is in line with racist stereotypes according to Goldbeck and Kanzler
(2004), while they judge the way the (then) president Sam Nujoma is ridiculed as racist and
counter-productive.
Noting that “there are plenty of streets named after Robert Mugabe, Fidel Castro and
other heroes of socialist people’s wars”47 implies a link between Nujoma and socialist
dictators. According to Goldbeck and Kanzler (2004), expressions such as the “whim of an
aged leader”48 and “old guerilla Nujoma with his unkempt revolutionary’s beard [...] on the
war path again”49 (Thielke, 2004, p.109) or “irrational doings of the government”50 as a
caption (p.110) are intentionally indicating that Nujoma was old and (becoming) irrational.
The two critics further claim to have been shocked about the way Thielke re-interprets
the memorial statue for the victims of the liberation struggle as presidential erection:
“Nujoma’s last erection, scoff Namibians, about the memorial phallus”51 (Thielke, 2004,
p.109). This interpretation would not only re-vitalizing prejudices about ‘extraordinary black
virility’ but it also presents the opinion of a small group of backward looking, often right-
oriented Namibians as general opinion (Goldbeck and Kanzler, 2004).
One could even argue that the fact that he reduces the political leader to sexual
attributes and describing him as ‘old guerilla Nujoma with his unkempt revolutionary’s beard
on the war path again’ (Thielke, 2004, p.109) and as irrational (p.110) is in line with the

47
Schließlich gibt es in namibischen Städten schon seit langem jede Menge Straßen, die nach Robert Mugabe,
Fidel Castro und anderen Helden aus der Zeit sozialistischer Volkskriege benannt sind.
48
...eine Schrulle des betagten Führers
49
... der alte Partisan Nujoma mit seinem struppigen Revoluzzerbart wieder auf dem Kriegspfad...
50
Irrationales Treiben der Regierung
51
„Nujomas letzte Erektion“, spotten die Namibier über den Gedenkphallus.

65
stereotype that African politics do not follow rational logics, a stereotype that has its origin in
colonial times (Michler, 1988, p.59). Such a description presents the political leader
incapable of leading and as primitive linking him rather to physical attributes than to his
intellectual capacity. Hence the expressions imply that Nujoma is guided by feelings (‘a
whim’, ‘irrational doings’) rather than by rational reasoning.

As a consequence the Spiegel readers get a much skewed picture of the situation in Namibia
without being aware of that, which is consistent with Michler’s (1988) media criticism.
In the case of the Spiegel article Goldbeck and Kanzler (2004) also explain, that it
would be impossible for the reader in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to find out if this
assessment of events corresponds to the general assessment of the situation in Namibia, or if
it rahter corresponds to the assessment of a fragment in Namibian society. The readers would
neither be able to assess the motivations for theses different views and assessments of reality
nor its background. This is why journalists have to uphold journalistic standards of truth and
give a balanced account of the situation according to Goldbeck and Kanzler (2004).
Furthermore, they criticize that Thielke’s assessment and conclusion “antagonizes all
those ‘whites’ who do see a future in Namibia, who strive to work together with ‘blacks’ and
want to contribute constructively to building the new Namibia.” (Goldbeck and Kanzler,
2004).

Generally, it is critical to mention that there is a North-South distribution of wealth reflected


in the North-South flow of information, while according to the Inter Press Service (IPS), the
West-East and North-South conflicts have altogether been replaced by globalization, which
raises major issues that are not addressed by mainstream media (Giffard, 1998, p.192).
The unequal flow of information might be intensified by the fact that a few press
agencies provide most information for the whole world (Boyed Barett & Ratanen, 1998).
The influence of press agencies can be immense as they influence decisions about
newsworthiness as aforementioned (Poenicke, 2001, p.22). This is why western news
agencies tend to dominate global news agendas (Barker, 1999, p.55). How can people cross
check information if there seems to be a ‘monopoly’ on information and a certain viewpoint
or encoding, often without ‘convenient’ alternatives? This is in view of the fact that few
German Spiegel readers would even read about the critique in a Namibian newspaper.
It could however work like for the 2nd Focus article about the Sat.1 reality show,
where the article pointed to criticism in the Namibian media.

66
4.7.2. More reactions to the Spiegel article: Media conversing
Goldbeck and Kanzler were however not the only ones that reacted to the article in Der
Spiegel pointing to the fact that firstly, German speaking Namibians consume media products
from Germany but in few cases also people from Germany commented in the Allgemeine
Zeitung (AZ), a Namibian newspaper in German language. What is more, there were reactions
in the Spiegel both from Germany and Namibia (obviously from German speaking
Namibians). From the seven reader letters in the Spiegel52, two were in favor of the article.
Two of the critics point out that the situation is not as pictured in the Spiegel article “No, the
whites do not leave Namibia, on the contrary, we are very fine here. Ask the former German
ambassador (to Namibia), who did not return to Germany for his retirement, but he bought a
farm in Namibia [...]53” (Richter, 2004). This concern is also raised by two readers in the AZ:
“The ‘war drums’, which the author is sure to hear, are not as clearly audible in Namibia as
the article implies54” (“Spiegelbild der Relalität: Allgemeine Zeitung”). Two others complain
in the Spiegel that the topic is generalized and simplified in a way that does not do justice to
the topic, skews the reality of things and rather harms the discussion climate in and outside
the country (Korsten &Hälbich, 2004).
Another Allgemeine Zeitung reader from Germany is wondering if the Spiegel would
with regards to other countries also favor this rather sensationalist over an informative
approach (Lilienthal, 2004).
Namibian ambassador to Germany Hanno Rumpf also criticized Thielke’s article in
the Spiegel and sent a copy to the AZ (“Halwahrheiten” über die Landreform: Allgemeine
Zeitung). Thielke (2004 b) answered to Rumpf’s critique in form of a letter published in the
Allgemeine Zeitung explaining that it was not his duty as a journalist to be respectful to those
in power, but to uncover injustices and the abuse of power. He also explains that he does not
like war memorials no matter for who.
Thielke (2004 b) also justifies the relation he tried to draw between the Namibian and
the Zimbabwean case as Nujoma was supporting Mugabe and had even declared that he

52
All reader letters to the topic are accessible on
http://wissen.spiegel.de/wissen/dokument/31/48/dokument.html?titel=Erhabene+Geringsch%C3%A4tzung%3F
&id=31548413&top=SPIEGEL&suchbegriff=erhabene+geringschaetzung&quellen=&vl=0
53
“Nein, die Weißen verlassen nicht Namibia, ganz im Gegenteil, und uns geht es hier recht gut. Fragen Sie mal
den letzten deutschen Botschafter, der ist zum Ruhestand nicht nach Deutschland zurückgegangen, sondern er
hat sich in Namibia eine Farm gekauft und verbringt hier seinen fröhlichen Lebensabend.”
54
Die "Kriegstrommeln", die der Spiegel-Autor zu hören meint, sind in Namibia nicht so deutlich zu vernehmen
wie es der Beitrag suggeriert.

67
would give Mugabe military support if ‘imperialists were to invade the country’55. “ The ‘war
drum’, is by the way a quite common metaphor. Regular newspaper readers know that”56,
claims Thielke.
There were also some reactions in the Allgemeine Zeitung about Goldbeck &
Kanzler’s critique by two readers who claim that their article was equally biased as the
Spiegel article (Plöger, 2004 & Schroeder, 2004).

Mr. Hillig (2004), another Allgemeine Zeitung reader, did not understand that only the
Spiegel was criticized, while a Focus article titled ‘Zimbabwe’s shadow’ (Simbabwes
Schatten) was no less biased and sensationalist nor was other media coverage. Hillig further
remarks that the article at least created a reaction in the public sphere.

4.7.3. Focus on the land reform: Zimbabwe’s shadow


Already the title from the article Hillig refers to, written by Frank B. Räther, published in the
Focus the 10th of May 2004, suggests that there is the threat of a ‘second Zimbabwe’ in
Namibia. “The government threatens to expropriate white farmers. The country will suffer
the consequences”57 is the subheading.
Explaining in the first section how “black fanatics” asking for land compares to
scenes in Zimbabwe (Räther, 2004), expresses the lead angle of the article.
Nevertheless, unlike Thielke in the Spiegel article, Räther’s article (2004) does not
exclusively adress the Wiese family but indicates how politicians use the land issue for
election campaigning. To exemplify this Räther (2004) quotes (maybe a bit out of context)
racist and threatening remarks by Sam Nujoma amongst others: “...the whites should read the
writings on the wall. And some white farmers and companies had already started to ‘donate
land’, declares Nujoma ambiguously”58.
Räther (2004) implies that this would mean that the farmers might have to fear
expropriation, while this is obviously up to interpretation, as I would not know from the
quote alone in which context the former Namibian president made this comment nor what he
implied.

55
Präsident Sam Nujoma erklärt öffentlich, er sei bereit, binnen 24 Stunden Soldaten in den Krieg zu schicken, falls die Imperialisten
Comrad Bobs dahinsiechendes Simbabwe überfallen sollten (Thileke, 2004 b)
56
(Die "Kriegstrommel" ist im Übrigen eine ziemliche gebräuchliche Metapher. Regelmäßige Zeitungsleser
wissen das.)
57
Die Regierung droht den weißen Farmern mit Vertreibung. Den Schaden trägt das ganze Land
58
... die Weißen sollten „die Schrift an der Wand“ erkennen. Und verkündet vieldeutig, dass einige weiße
Farmer und Unternehmen schon begonnen hätten, „Land zu spenden“.

68
Räther (2004) further explains with expert quotes that the land redistribution would surely not
help poverty alleviation, as allegedly claimed by politicians. At the end of the article,
however there is a section in which he admits that there is a very unequal distribution of land
in Namibia, while he does not mention that this is amongst others a consequence of
colonization.

Seeing that I quoted the lengthy Spiegel critique I also have to say that I found a Spiegel
online article that was published 30th of June 2004 before the Thielke article titled similar like
the Focus article : “Mugabe’s gefährlicher Schatten” (Mugabe’s dangerous shadow) written
by Dominik Baur ( 2004).
While this article does also use the similarities between Namibia and Zimbabwe as its
lead angle, as already suggested in the headline, in the middle of the article there is an
explanatory section titled “Erbe des Kolonialismus” (heritage of colonization).
In this section Baur (2004) refers to the unequal distribution of land as a consequence
of colonization, which explains that land has a strong symbolic nature.
He also acknowledges towards the end of the article in the pre-last paragraph that the
situation in Namibia is not as in Zimbabwe, as the land reform suggests buying and not just
‘taking away’ land. Furthermore, he indicates that in Namibia the farmers can appeal to
government decisions and so far the police have dissolved every demonstration on farm land
(Baur, 2004).
In the last paragraph, referring to ‘critics’ without naming a concrete person, it is
concluded that the land issue is politicized for election campaigns, as Nujoma wants to get
support for his favorite presidential candidate Pohamba (current president) (Baur, 2004).

4.8. Interim Findings: Reporting on the Namibian land reform


The articles imply a certain interpretation of the situation in Namibia, which the audience
might not be aware of. This biased view was already noted by critics in relation to reports on
African countries in general. Overall, the articles cater stereotyped attitudes about the
situation and politics in Namibia, while they do not really explain or link the land reform to
German colonial history.

69
4.9. Media use pattern: Internet as source about colonial history

4.9.1. Media use patterns


The internet is allegedly more and more important in young people’s lives and while
participants still rated television the number 1 source of information, internet was the ‘runner
up’ for the 1st place. Earlier studies confirm my findings.
The Allensbach computer and technical analyses (ACTA) for instance found that 37, 7% of
the 14-19 year olds and 37, 1 % of 20-29 year olds consider the internet the most important
source of information about current affairs (Hauck 2007 & Meyer-Lucht 2007).
Generally, television is still the most important source of information, while
newspapers are loosing their importance, especially amongst young people (Hauck 2007 &
Meyer-Lucht 2007).
Nevertheless, another study by the Medienpädagogische Forschungsverbund Südwest
(mfs) (media educational research association southwest) showed that half of the young
people in their study between the age of 12 and 19 read a newspaper regularly (Feierabend &
Kutteroff, 2006). This concurs with the results about the media usage of the pupils that
participated in this study of whom at least 46 % claimed, they read a newspaper or magazine
in the past 24 hours. Still, the majority (54%) did not read a newspaper or magazine (See
figure).

Yes
46%
No
54%

Figure 14 General distributions of newspaper readers/non readers

With regards to the distribution of readers and non-readers per school (see figure 15), in the
Hauptschule, a clear majority (67%) had not read a newspaper or magazine such as in the
case of the Realschule, where 57% had not read a newspaper or magazine. In the
Gymnasium, on the other hand a slight majority of 53% did read a newspaper or magazine.

70
From all the newspaper/magazine readers 42% read a newspaper, which was mostly a local
one.

Other 3%

Youth magazines
3%
New s-magazines
5%
Men/Women
magazines 6%
Computer/New
media magazines
6% Sports magazines
8%
TV-magazine 10%
Tabloid
magazines/papers
17%
(Local)New spapers
41%

Figure 15 What did you read?

As abovementioned the internet seemed to be very important for participants as source of


information, while television remained more important.
However, the average learner claimed to spent double the time online, as compared to
watching television (about 2 hours average). I asked the pupils in the study whether they used
the internet in the past 24 hours to get a random sample of their average internet use a day.
Overall, only 11% did not use the internet in the past 24 hours.
No
11%

Yes
89%

Figure 16 Did you use the internet in the past 24 hours

71
They spent their time online (irrespective of the school track) chatting via messenger, ICQ
and others. The second most practiced activity by learners from the Realschule and the
Gymnasium was writing and reading emails. The pupils from the Hauptschule played games
online as the second most practiced activity.

Learning programmes

Set up homepage
Mods

Porn
Hauptschule
Calling

Surfing/brow sing the net


Realschule Job search/application

Dow nload

Radio
Gymnasium
Train/Bus schedule

Sport

Video

Online Rerservations/Order
Music

Schüler VZ'

Games

Research for school


Emails

Chat
0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40%

Figure 17 What did you do online (per school)?

72
Overall, this leads to a hierarchy of activities, whereas the top 3 activities in a descending
order are chatting, emails writing and reading and playing online games.

Learning pro grammes


1% M usic
1%
Online Rerservatio ns/Order
1%
Spo rt
1%
P o rn
2%
2% Video

2% Jo b search/applicatio n

2% Do wnlo ad
7% Schüler VZ'
10%
Research fo r scho o l
14%
Games
23%
Emails
33%
Chat

Figure 18 What did you do online (general trend)?

Henry Jenkins (2006) supposes that these kinds of media use patterns can be explained with a
shift in culture by which a new culture that he calls convergence culture emerges (p.3). The
new consumers are active, migratory and socially connected and hence more powerful
(Jenkins, 2006, pp.18-19) and as “convergence occurs within the brains of individual
consumers and through their social interaction with others” (p.3), the internet might even
have accelerated the appropriation of new media and content by consumers.
This assumption is confirmed amongst others by the fact that many pupils watched
numerous television channels for very little time. They might just ‘zap’ as soon as they do not
like what they see.
On the other hand they are also interconnecting via chats and online games for
instance, considering that chatting is what they seem to do the most irrespective of the school
track.

73
The average male participant (37%) used the internet more than four hours in the 24 hours
preceding the survey and the average female participant (31%) used the internet between one
and two hours (see figure 19).

17%
mo re than 4h 37%

2%
3-4h 12%

13%
2-3h 13%
Female
31% M ale
1h-2h 19%

24%
30min-1h 10%

13%
less than 30 min 7%

Figure 19 How long did you use the internet (male/female)?

There were some variations with the distribution of hours spent on the internet when
comparing the different school tracks. In the Hauptschule most pupils claimed to have used
the internet only between 30 minutes and one hour, while in the Gymnasium the majority
used it more than four hours. In the Realschule a slight majority of 18 pupils (34%) stated to
have used the internet between one and two hours, while 17 (32%) out of a total of 53
learners used the internet more than four hours.
Overall 28 % used the internet more than four hours, while still a large number (25 %)
used the internet for one to two hours (see figure 20).

28% more than 4h

7% 3-4h

13% 2-3h

25%
1h-2h

17%
30min-1h

10%
less than 30 min

Figure 20 How long did you use the internet (overall)?

74
4.9.2. Internet as a source about colonial history
Considering the time they spent online and the growing importance of the internet as a source
of information, it was important to find out how and what kind of information young people
and everybody else would find on the internet on colonial history.
With reference to an article from the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung,
Kössler (2007) points out that young people might find and use forums and internet pages as
source of information about colonial history that are linked to the German extreme right
(p.10).
In order to get an idea about the information young people would find on the internet I
asked the 136 participants of the study to indicate with what search engine and with what
term they would research about German colonial history.

The absolute majority would use Google. And while many would also look at Wikipedia,
they often added that they are aware of the fact that the information on Wikipedia might still
be in progress or under construction and that you therefore will have to look at alternative
sources additionally.

Hanisauland.de
1%
Search scholar
sites 1%
Dictionary.com
1%
Lycos.de 1%
Encarta 1%
Governmental/
official sites 1%
Brockhaus 1%

Ask.com 1%

Yahoo 4%

Wikipedia 43%

Google 63%

Figure 21 How they would research on German colonial history online

75
They would mostly (60%) ‘google’ the term ‘deutsche Kolonialgeschichte’ (German colonial
history).

Deutsche
Ko lo nial-
geschichte
60%

Geschichte
Ko lo nial- Deutschland
Deutsche
geschichte 1%
Ko lo nien Deutsche
7% Deutsche Ko lo nial-
16%
Ko lo nial- Ko lo nialzeit geschichte
Deutschland + geschichte
1% A frika
Ko lo nien Deutschland
1%
7% 6% Ko lo nien
Ko lo nien
A frika 1% 1%

Figure 22 The term they would use to research on German colonial history

For that reason I used their search parameters and ‘googled’ the term ‘deutsche
Kolonialgeschichte’ looking at the first four results. The first ‘hit’ was a page that has lots of
useful links, which are unfortunately not all active anymore59.
Then there are two Wikipedia links and fourthly, the pages of the ‘Traditionsverband’
came up, which Kössler (2007) mentioned as a traditionalist forum related to the extreme
right that (p.10).
On the pages of the Traditionsverband ehemaliger Schutz-und Überseetruppen-Freunde
der früheren deutschen Schutzgebiete e.V60 (Society for preservation of tradition of former
protectorates and troops overseas –Friends of the former German Protectorates), one can
order all kind of colonial badges, stickers and flags. Furthermore, there is a list of links to
articles often by those that deny the Herero genocide for instance such as rightist historian Dr.
Nordbruch, the late Brigitte Lau (see for instance Kössler, 2007, pp. 10-11, 13, 15) and
Klaus Lorenz, without introducing the topic or pointing to the fact that by now the genocide
is generally accepted as fact.
Generally the side seems more interactive and gives a ‘fun’ impression at least in
comparison to the first page with the collection of links. The Traditionsverband pages grant
access to graphical material and imagery like pictures of colonial army officials and so forth,

59
http://www.deutscher-kolonialismus.de/
60
www.traditionsverband.de

76
while there is no criticism or notes about the victims of German colonialism. This was also
the criticism of Geyer in his Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung article, who was concerned that
young people get uncritically exposed to the ‘positive sides’ of colonialism without
considering the consequences (in Kössler, 2007 p.10).
Some learners of this survey too pointed to the advantages of colonialism as a relevant
lesson that could be learned from it (see figure 12).
One learner from the Realschule for instance supposed that one should know which
countries to colonize in order not to make that many losses, while colonialism also brought
lots of good changes for the colonized country such as bringing civilization, education, and
development to ‘primitive people’.
There were some other pupils whose arguments went in a similar direction. While the
majority did not seem to think that way, it is needless to say that these views do not only
concur with traditional colonial justifications and stereotypes but they also echo right-wing
sentiments today still considering African people amongst others as primitive. This also
concurs with the ‘right ideology’ of some German Namibians termed ‘Südwester
nationalism’ (see Kössler, 2007, p.8). Goldbeck and Kanzler (2004) insisted however on not
proclaiming these voices as general opinion amongst the white population in Namibia, as
otherwise it would obstruct the efforts of those that are trying to be an active parts of the
‘new Namibia’

When learners look at Wikipedia pages they can use the interactive functions to read on
certain topics and they will also get the chance to continue reading about the topic using the
provided weblinks at the end of the articles. However, the first weblink that came up on the
Wikipedia pages was “Deutsche Kolonien” www.jaduland.de/kolonien , which also had been
identified as one of the pages related to the German extreme right (Kössler, 2007, p.10).
Nevertheless, I found Wikipedia useful as an additional source once I had read about
the topic elsewhere, as it has a summarized list of all the colonies for instance.
Now, three weeks after I did this internet analysis, the second link that Google refers
to is a page on which one can order books on the topic online61. This is to say, that it is
evident that there are constant changes and updates as to what is found online, since this is
implied by the very nature of the internet.

61
http://www.antiqbook.com/boox/buc/173724.shtml

77
And still, the first time I searched for a discussion forum on the Herero genocide I ended up
on the pages of the “storm front”, a page advocating white supremacy, owned by the former
grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and former member of the American Nazi Party, Don
Black (Etchingham, 2000).

4.10. Summing up: Internet as source of Information about colonial history


The internet as a source of information about colonial history might hence, on the one hand
have to be looked at more critically with regards to pupils using it, while on the other hand
the pupils themselves might be critical towards its content already, as they are towards
Wikipedia for instance. Yet, if they do not know much about a certain topic they might not be
able to assess from which ‘viewpoint’ the pages are, whereas young people’s ‘internet skills’
are not to be underestimated.

4.11. Short Summary: Implications of media analysis for colonial history


In order to consider how colonial history could be dealt with in a relevant way it is important
to consider young peoples’ realities and thus also their media use patterns and their reasons
for not knowing about German colonial history. The learners’ media use patterns, as well as
the way media frame cultural difference and the reality of spaces indicate that young people
rely on mediated reality as a frame of reference for places and realities they cannot cross-
check.
The personalization of media and content leading to a dramatized, stylized way of
framing stories and events might have influenced the way we perceive realities of places,
cultures and histories. As a result we consider stylized and constructed reality as authentic.
However this dramatic approach to stories on Africa and ‘African reality’ might
increase the ‘perceived distance’ or discrepancy between places, people, cultures and hence
realities.
While it has been established what the participants of this study knew about colonial
history, why there is a missing knowledge and how colonial history could be relevant to the
present it now can be established how German colonial history could be dealt with in a
meaningful way.

78
Part III
In this last part of the thesis I discuss suggestions about dealing with German colonial history.
Firstly, considering the influence media might have on stereotypes construction and
considering the changing media environment, I discuss the learners’ suggestions about how
they could learn best about German colonial history.
Secondly, I discuss the implications of the attitude of learners which might have
developed by increasing (global) options to choose from for history teaching. I suggest the
importance of a global perspective on history to correspond to young people’s reality and to
the (global) requirements that young people have to meet nowadays.
Thirdly, I created an online blog as part of a suggestion how the internet could be
integrated in negotiating memorial culture, histories and identities.

5. How could they learn about colonial history?

5.1. Implications of the findings for learning about colonial history


A significant part of the approaches to reduce stereotypes and racism are informed by
psychology and social psychology. Dasgupta & Greenwald (2001) found that exposing
research subjects to positive images of black Americans before letting them complete an
implicit-association-test had a positive influence on their automatic intergroup association,
while it produced little change in their explicit evaluation (p.808).
Despite the fact that it was generally accepted that irrational and often rigid
stereotypes or prejudices are usually sustained in spite of facts and logic (Augoustinos&
Reynolds, 2001, p.2, & MacMaster, 2001, p.19), Dasgupta’s & Greenwald’s study shows that
positive or at least balanced media coverage might on the long run shift unconscious racial
attitudes amongst the audience (Dasgupta& Greenwald, 2001, p.808).

This result is influenced by their suggestion that the way an attitude was created indicates the
way it can be resolved (Dasgupta& Greenwald, 2001, p.808).
This would mean that attitudes or stereotypes that were created by media coverage, be
it unconsciously or not are accessible to different media coverage, while those that were
created by wrong facts could be accessed by setting facts straight. It hence suggests a
multidirectional approach, when trying to deal with stereotypes. This should also be the case

79
with attitudes about colonial history and its relevance, as well as about memorial culture and
hence national identity expressed and negotiated in the media.
Nevertheless, there have not been conclusive studies to prove the influence of media
images, as people do not live in a vacuum and “the causal links between media use and social
perceptions are not at all direct” (Gandy& Oscar, 1998, p.194). The approach I used about
encoding and decoding informed by Hall (1980) is therefore just one suggestion, while there
are other approaches to assessing the influence of media coverage. However, Dubriel (2005)
amongst others confirmed in his study that positive images might influence attitudes
positively (in Mukenge Kabongo, 2007 p.7) like suggested by Dasgupta and Greenwald
(2001).

Consequently, the specific media use pattern has to be considered when thinking about how
young people could learn about colonial history and its relevance.
The young people in my study want to be entertained and that would therefore be in
their opinion the best way for them to learn (be it narcissistic or not).
They are the youtube, myspace online radio, online television and other ‘broadcast,
show, choose, do-it-yourself’ generation that has, ‘personal’ designs of laptops, handy covers,
ring tones, mp3 players, ipods suggesting a positive echo of the personalization of media.

The process of media conglomeration in the past decades favored a global interconnectedness
of media companies and products, while the audience became more and more selective and
segmented (Castells, 2000, p.370).
Global competition and concentration of ownership forced companies to be even
more creative in the way they format and distribute content. As a result companies aim at
tailoring media products to different tastes, which lead to a greater involvement of the
consumer (Jenkins, 2006, p.11). Therefore, convergence reshapes the relationship between
consumers and producers (Jenkins, 2006, p.19).
Giving the consumer more and more possibility to personalize media content, which
entails reporting and programs that try to engage and touch the audience with ever more
dramatic and entertaining approaches would fit in the concept. At the same time the ever
increasing offers also heightened the expectations of consumers.

80
Assuming that learners too expect a certain degree of choice and influence on their media
reality, which they can create, re-create, assemble, choose and thus construct up to a certain
extent, this leads to a crucial question: How does this ‘attitude work’ in school?
In school they cannot really choose what they learn or how they learn it, although this might
change. And what are the consequences of this new interconnectedness for teaching (German
colonial) history?

The second most reason the pupils stated for young people not knowing much about German
colonial history was that they do not learn much about it. At the same time the learners in this
study did not seem to remember what they had learned. It was therefore important to find out
how pupils would best learn about German colonial history.

The research participants claimed that they want to be engaged if they have to learn about
colonial history. The majority agreed that films would be the best way to learn about colonial
history and its implications, while they would mostly prefer feature films as long as they are
interesting.
11% felt that games could be a useful tool to learn about colonial history. “If you are
supposed to remember where was which colony and other simple facts, a computer game
would be the best way to remember such things”62, claims a learner from the Gymnasium.

Discussion
1%
1% New spaper

1% TV

2% Family
1% Research on location
3% Don't know
2% Documentary films
2% Media
2% African films
3% African media
5% School/class
11%
(Computer)games
12%
Internet
14%
Books
24%
Presentations in class
32%
Films

Figure 23 How could you learn best about German colonial history?

62
“Wenn man sich merken soll wo welche Kolonie war oder andere einfache Fakten dann geht das am besten
mit einem Computersiel.”

81
There was also an echo for the demand for different perspectives on the topic. A learner from
the Hauptschule explained for instance that it would be best to hear from people from
colonized countries as they might have another perspective and opinion on the topic than we
do. “Seeing that it deals with different peoples and cultures it is essential to get different
perspectives and therefore African films would be interesting”63, confirmed a learner from
the Gymnasium.
Most students stressed the point that learning material needs to be interesting and
even interactive, while it would be best if it is linked to today and imagery is used to make it
as lively as possible. “That”, said a pupil from the Realschule “would be the only way we
would actually learn something and remember it”64.

5.2. Global education-Global history


Young people nowadays seem confronted with a highly diverse reality, having been born into
the so-called age of globalization (Popp, 2006, para. 7) and being part of this new
interconnected media environment as abovementioned. Diversification, global competition,
global market but also, according to Röder (2004), diverse options to choose from, be it
music, location, identity, sub-cultures or careers are the ways in which ‘the world’ becomes
part of young people’s lives (p.14).

The world is no longer just outside (although it might never really have been, I refer to the
intensified consciousness of the outside world), it affects the life world of young people in
Europe and Germany (Röder, 2006, pp. 13-15). Moreover it is reflected in the reality of
multi-cultural/multi-ethnic classrooms (Röder, 2004, p.14 & Popp, 2006, para. 7). So what
does this imply for education?
If education is to address the life-world of young people and if it is to prepare young
people for their live in an interconnected world, they have to incorporate these new realities
and its global aspect in the curriculum, while the global approach should also be reflected in
the perspective on history (p.15 &Popp, 2004, p.36).

Röder explains that the influence of Europe and its monopoly on history has decreased
immensely and countries that were formerly regarded as countries without histories (like

63
“ Da es sich hier um Themen handelt, die verschiedene Menschen und Kulturen behandeln ist es wichtig
verschiedne Perspektiven zu haben. Dewegen wäre ein afrikanischer Film interessant.”
64
“ Lernen muß interaktiv und spanned sein und das Material sollte interessant sein am besser verbildlicht und
lebendig. Das ist der einzige Weg wie man etwas lernen kann und sich auch nachher noch daran erinnert.”

82
almost the entire pre-colonial African continent) enquired their history and relation to Europe
themselves (Röder, 2004, p.7). In return, developments and countries outside of Europe
should be considered with regards to a critical examination of European history and European
identity.

Nevertheless, the focus of history of the world is still mostly perceived through the
perspective of the history of the own country (Germany), which distorts the consequences
and relations of global history and global interrelated processes (Röder, 2004, p.17).
As traditional perspectives make it difficult for learners to understand ‘global’
processes, it is very understandable that they might not understand or even think about the
consequences of colonial history, since they do not consider it as a process65.

The fact that European history is usually taught without examining it in a context of global
developments and interrelations, might leave the learners confused about what part of the
history is German, European history influenced by a certain cultural perspective that is part of
national history and on the other hand, what part of the history they learn is of a more global
history and context like “the breakdown of German liberal democracy at the end of the
Republic of Weimar as part of a worldwide breakdown of liberal political systems between
1920 and 1940” ( Popp, 2006, para. 13).
Quite on the contrary, German pupils might believe that what they are taught
“represents the essence of history” (Popp, 2006, para. 12). This concurs with the participating
pupils of this study, who assumed that the topics they emphasize in school are consequently
the important topics, while they are yet not quite sure for which reasons.

Since the 1990s schools have tried to incorporate global aspects in the curriculum of most
subjects to a certain extent (Röder, 2004, p.15).
In the subject history a global approach is nonetheless still missing (pp.16-17) and
that implies an underestimation of the consequences of globalization for the life world of
students and its implications for education (Röder, 2004, p.17).

65
Here I am referring to Hall’s definition of colonial history as a process (see for instance Hall, 1996, pp.249-
252).

83
As a result of the neglect of world history perspectives in education, learners are likely to
construct their own “world history assumption”, which might interpret Germany and Europe
as the center, and as a driving force for humanity (Popp, 2006, para.15).
Furthermore, according to Popp (2006) they often underestimate the ‘outside’
influence on local history and the importance of migration and nomads, who also brought
new ideas and concepts for the development of history (para.16). I have already given the
example of ‘black Germans’ in an earlier section.
As a result this limited perspective favors the perception of migration and nomads as a
threat and learners might consider settlement and nation building as the only driving force for
development (Popp, 2006, para.16).
A new perspective on colonial history might therefore help to rectify misconceptions
and attitudes as inferred from the way stereotypes can be deconstructed depending on the way
they were constructed (Dasgupta& Greenwald, 2001, p.808). At the same time a global
perspective on history might help to reveal stereotyped interpretations of history such as on
some internet sites about German colonial history; thus education plays a significant role.

5.3. Internet-Chance for (re-negotiation) of colonial history& identity


The internet, enabling rapid many-to-many communication, knowledge exchange,
participation and community (Jenkins, 2006 for instance p.136), might contribute to a process
of ‘collective meaning making’ (p.136, pp.3-4).
People, who consume or are interested in the same media products can exchange and
discuss it, which is why Jenkins refers to ‘collective meaning making’( Jenkins, 2006, pp.3-
4).
This is a very interesting point, seeing that potentially the internet then also entails a
possibility for collective memory and thus memorial culture and identity construction.

People form knowledge communities such as fan communities based on shared interests in a
certain subjects (Jenkins, 2006, p.20). This is why the internet enables the creation of weak
ties that are reciprocally beneficial ties to strangers with the aim of exchanging and
broadening one’s knowledge (Castells, 2000, p.388). In other words everybody can get what
he or she needs. It might therefore be accurate to say that “...we are not living in a global
village, but in customized cottages globally produced and locally distributed” (Castells, 2000,
p.370).

84
Jenkins seems to assess this whole development rather positive, while he acknowledges that
we are at a turning point, where the hampers of convergence and participatory culture that
obstruct the realization of the democratic potential of the internet need to be addressed; such
as unequal access, increasing commercialization, concentration of ownership and therefore
also the increasing influence of inequalities (Jenkins, 2006, 257-258). One has to note
however that Jenkins’ rather positive assessment is related to the fact that he refers mostly to
North American culture, hence perhaps acknowledging mainly the average, white, male,
middle class internet user.
Castells on the other hand, seems to be more pessimistic. He points out that the fact
that the internet’s consumers are also its producers, “will have lasting consequences on the
future pattern of the world’s communications and culture” taking into account that there is an
highly unequal access and arrival time of the internet in different countries and continents
(Castells, 2000, p.382)
Yet, the internet is particularly suited for communication beyond physical borders
even if not everyone has access to it yet.
Being aware of that and bearing in mind that pupils claim they could learn best in an
interactive and engaging way, I created a blog: www.kolo-nie.blogspot.com .
I am hence suggesting how the internet could be used to create a platform for young
people to (re-)negotiate colonial history by trying to link it to the presence.
I put a youtube video for instance of a German Namibian Rapper singing about
Windhoek but also more links to read about colonial history, maps and my results.

I gave the link to all participants. Moreover, in order to prevent the kind of North-South
‘occupation’ of the internet’s content that Castells seems to imply, I also forwarded the link
to two German school principals in Windhoek and to the German section of the University of
Namibia (UNAM) and I requested them to forward it to their students. Colonial history and
Namibian history in general is a contested field in Namibia as in other countries. According
to Kössler (2007) the Namibian debate about Namibian history reflects “[...] the division
persisting in Namibian society, and [of] the very severe differences when it comes to the
means at the disposal of different groups to make their voices heard” (p15). The blog could
potentially allow different voices to be aired, while it still requires access to the internet that
many previously disadvantaged communities in Namibia might still not have.

85
Nevertheless, students as the intellectual elite of the country might be more sensitive and
hence at least somewhat able to give a balanced account of the different Namibian ‘histories’.
I am however, aware that fewer students in Namibia have such an ‘easy’ internet
access as students and pupils in Europe.
Yet, they have access in internet cafes and in the university, while the connection can
be very slow. That is why a page with lots of pictures for instance is problematic as it takes
even longer to load. I suppose however that the blog is not too loaded with pictures.
Furthermore, it is much less common to have internet at home, due to the comparably
high costs and the fact that students and people in general often rather have a cell phone than
a fix line. The new cell phone services, on the other hand now include very cheap internet
access, provided that you have a cell phone that supports such facilities and services66. On
condition that Namibian students would have the feeling that there is a real dialogue taking
place, I am confident that they could be motivated to participate and share their views and
opinions on the topic.

Furthermore, I emailed the schools again, whose learners participated in the study after I had
put the results of the questionnaires on the blog.
One lecturer from the German section of the University of Namibia wrote me an
email to declare her interest in the results and to thank me for the link. She also promised me
to pass it on. I also got positive feedback from some teachers, whose learners participated in
the study.
Nevertheless, I did not yet receive much feedback in form of the ‘comment function’
on the blog, which does not mean however that nobody looked at it yet.

It has yet to be seen how successful an ‘online negotiation’ can be due to the vast amount of
sites that can be found online. People would actually have to know what they are looking for
in order to find this one specific blog for instance.

66
If you wish to read more general information on Namibia and Information Communication Technology (ICT)
in Namibia download for instance the survey on ICT in education in Namibia from:
http://www.infodev.org/en/Publication.420.html .

86
5.3.1. Short summary- Implications of findings : How to deal with colonial
history?
Studies suggested that there needs to be a versatile approach to deconstruct attitudes and
stereotypes (Dasgupta &Greenwald, 2001). Balanced media coverage, also including
alternative perspectives would be one way of re-negotiating the relevance of colonial history
and uncovering stereotypes. Having African feature films is another suggestion of the
learners about how they could learn best about colonial history.
Seeing that the approach should incorporate different aspects of life, a global
perspective on history teaching would also serve a negotiation of memorial culture and its
relevance for national identity.
In order to foster intercultural understanding, a global approach to history would
furthermore rectify misconceptions and the overemphasis of the differences amongst different
countries and people, while neglecting the similarities (Popp, 2006, para. 32). It would also
help young people to recognize such bias in the media as in the documentary soap ‘Wie die
Wilden’ for instance.
The internet, a tool and platform for culture in the making enables communication
beyond borders and might therefore serve as an interactive platform to negotiate the
relevance of colonial history, culture and national identity.

87
5.4. Summary of findings: Negotiating the relevance of German colonial
history

1. The research participants did not know much about colonial history. This allows the
assumption that young people in general (in Germany) do not know much about colonial
history. The pupils’ answers suggest a hierarchy of topics that are important parts of national
identity and memorial culture. However, it is not clear how aware young people are of that
hierarchy, considering their troubles to explain the relevance of history or colonial history.
They do not perceive colonial history as relevant as it seems absent from the media and other
public discussions, which is also why they do not see a reason for leaning or discussing it.
Furthermore, their lack of interest in learning about colonial history might be linked to the
notion of not wanting to identify and deal with another ‘dark’ chapter in German history.

2. I found on the other hand that colonial history is not only relevant due to the fact that there
are still so many Germans in Namibia, but also as aforementioned due to the reality of inter-
cultural classrooms and societies. Re-negotiating the consequences of colonial history from a
more global point of view might therefore help to re-assess issues like migration, integration
and stereotypes. The findings further indicate that a discussion of colonial history and its
consequences could play an important role in the whole re-negotiation process or discussion
about memorial culture, national identity and national history.

3. The learners were aware of the fact that it would be best to incorporate the perspectives of
people from colonized countries to get a full account of colonial history, its consequences and
relevance. The internet could be a useful platform for such communications. Another
example for incorporating different voices are the reader’s letters ‘conversations’ of German
speaking Namibians and Germans or the articles in the Focus about reactions in the Namibian
media. Generally, however the German audience would really have to make an effort to find
alternative viewpoints on African countries for instance. Therefore the audience is not able to
cross-check facts and assessments of events and situations.

4. Media play a crucial role in the construction of a certain reality and in the way people
assess the reality of places and events especially those they only know and experience
through the media. As a result media usually represent a certain way of understanding and

88
interpreting cultures and realities. They (media) represent (if not influence) a hegemonic or
desired frame for negotiations about the relevance of certain aspects of reality and their
interpretation (be it negotiations with regards to identity, memorial culture, history, cultures,
places and so forth). With regards to framing cultural difference the discussion of the
examples showed that the media create a very stylized concept of reality. The analysis of the
articles of Spiegel and Focus for instance suggested a stereotypical depiction of Namibia and
(some) of its people. The articles about the land reform on the other hand did hardly relate the
unequal distribution of land to the spatial re-organization of the country and the land
expropriation starting during German colonialism. This reflects the general unawareness
about the consequences of German colonialism.
Seeing that we are used to the stylized, maybe ‘biased’ but surely exaggerated way of
reporting or storytelling on African realities, we might think that this mediated and stylized
reality is more authentic than ‘the reality’. Overall the media focus (and even exaggerate) the
differences amongst people and cultures rather than searching similarities.

5. Some way of ‘constructed reality’ might be inherent in a certain way of storytelling, as it


entails putting a story together so that it makes sense or can be understood. On the other
hand, the dramatic and ever more stylized approach of storytelling relates to the trend of
media trying to take a more and more personal and dramatic approach in order to engage their
audience. This might have created a certain attitude in the audience that will have to be
considered in the way young people learn: They want to be entertained, engaged and it has to
relate to them, or else they do not seem to remember what they have learned as it seems
irrelevant.

6. Finally, a re-negotiation, a more global approach to history and the use of various media
would be necessary to correspond to the complex reality that young people live in and to re-
assess current issues like migration, xenophobia and stereotypes.

89
6. Conclusion
1. There is a crucial relation between media, history and identity.
Young people seem to explain the missing debate about colonial history in the media (and in
school) with the irrelevance of the topic. As long as German colonial history and former
colonies are not part of public discussions and media coverage, colonial history cannot be
part of national identity.
This is deduced from the fact that what we remember as ‘our history’ seems to be an
important part of how we identify ourselves. If history is remembered collectively it forms
part of a collective identity and hence even national identity.
As indicated by the answers of some learners however (who want to learn also about
other countries and histories) memorial culture and memorable history as meaningful part of
identity have to be under discussion as culture is ‘in the making’ (Saar, 2002, p. 268). It
would be important for young people to be made aware of these decisions about ‘what is
memorable’ and its consequences, so that they are able to explain why history for instance is
important.
‘National history’ needs to incorporate new ‘realities’ such as multicultural
classrooms, global interconnectedness, convergence culture and so forth.
A re-assessment of the consequences of colonial history might therefore help to re-
assess current issues seeing that it would lead to a re-negotiation of what is German and thus
national identity.

2. In order to be relevant colonial history needs to be discussed in the general public,


covered in the media and discussed in school.
The missing knowledge or awareness of colonial history reflects the hierarchy of topics and
histories that are considered essential parts of (national) memorial culture and hence national
identity. The hierarchy is reflected in representations in the public sphere, meaning that
‘important’ topics are part of discussions and public consciousness.
In order for a topic to be part of public consciousness it is not enough if it is only
addressed in school. This is exemplified by the fact that learners often did simply not
remember that they actually learned about colonial history. If school is the only sphere in
which the topic is addressed it seems irrelevant. As suggested by the learners, movies about

90
colonial history or media content from former colonies in general might promote interest of
young people.
With regards to their media usage and their propositions it might further be useful to
integrate games and the internet in history teaching for example. Seeing that young people
are confronted with an ever more diverse reality and options to choose from, school might
have to adapt to that reality. Generally, it would therefore be useful if history teaching would
be more interactive and maybe on the long run it might have to move to a less hierarchical
approach so as to be effective.
In order for colonial history to be relevant it needs to be discussed and challenged
how realities, histories, people and places are intertwined. This should be tackled from
various angles, via various channels and incorporate various viewpoints.
Therefore, colonial history needs to be discussed in the general public, addressed in
the media as well as in school

3. In order to negotiate the relevance of colonial history for national identity and reality
in a meaningful way multiple perspectives are essential.
Media coverage should incorporate different voices in order to create a more ‘authentic’
reality of African countries.
The fact that we started to get used to a stylized ‘African reality’ should not prevent
us from acknowledging the existence of alternative realities or challenging these constructed
realities. To this end ‘African perspectives’ would be helpful (as the pupils suggested) to
rectify ‘our’ conceptions of reality of African countries.
The learners demanded multiple, interactive and versatile approaches and perspectives
on colonial history and former colonies, which might indicate their awareness of some kind
of ‘stylized’ or one sided reality with regards to certain countries.
Young people are not only confronted with global interconnectedness and converging
cultures when they travel but also through the media, internet and maybe even in the
classroom.
Diasporic, multicultural and transnational ‘histories’ and ‘realities’ should therefore
also be acknowledged and incorporated in the negotiation of national history and identity. In
order to ‘embrace’ the life world of young Germans, negotiating colonial history will have to
lead to (re-)negotiating ‘what is German’. Becoming aware and challenging concepts of
national history and national identity would therefore help to offer new ways of integrating
various identities and ‘histories’ in German society and in its memorial culture. It would in

91
addition facilitate a discussion of the concept of ‘national’ identity and a better understanding
of history in a global context.
A global history perspective and re-negotiation of memorial culture would therefore
be necessary to correspond to the need of young people to be able to understand the global
significance of local and global matters and the other way around, seeing that developments
cannot be considered in a vacuum (Popp, 2006 para. 32).
The internet potentially facilitates such re-negotiations of history, memorial culture
and national identity, while it has yet to be found out how useful it can be in that regard.

In conclusion, learning and challenging colonial history can promote intercultural


understanding and help re-negotiate national identity or cultural identity and the relevance of
memorial culture in general.

92
7. Reference list
Ahlers, D. (2006). News Consumption and the New Electronic Media. (Electronic version).
The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, 11(1): 29-52.

Augoustinos, M. & Reynolds, J.K. (2001). Prejudice, racism and social psychology.
In Augoustinos, M & Reynolds, JK (Eds.). Understanding prejudice, racism
and social conflict pp 1–23. London/New Delhi/Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Bakker, L. , Eindhoven, M., Persoon G.A. (2007). Intruders in sacred territory-


How Dutch anthropologists deal with popular mediation of their science. (Electronic version)
ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY, 23 (1): 8-12.

Barker, C. (1999). Television, Globalization and Cultural Identities. Buckingham,


Philadelphia: Open University Press.

Barker, C. (2004).Globalization. The SAGE Dictionary of Cultural Studies. (pp.76-77).


London [etc.]: Sage Publications.

Baudrillard, J. (1988). The Work of Art in the Electronic Age (interview). In M. Gane (1993)
(ed.) Baudrillard Live. Selected Interviews (pp.145-151). London: Routldge.

Bechhaus- Gerst, M. (2004). “Wir hatten nicht gedacht, dass Deutschen so eine Art haben.”
AfrikanerInnen in Deutschland zwischen 1880 und 1945. In AntiDiskirimierungsBüro
Köln/cyberNomads (Eds.). The black book. Deutschlands Häutungen (pp. 21-33). Frankfurt
[etc.]: IKO- Verlag für interkulturelle Kommunikation.

Berger, A.A. (1998). Media Research Techniques. Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi:
SAGE Publications.

Bertrand, I. & Hughes, P. (2005). Media Research Methods: Audiences, Institutions, Texts.
Basingstoke [etc.]: Palgrave/Macmillan.

93
Bley, H. (1996). Namibia under German Rule. Hamburg: LIT.

Bley, H. (2004). Continuities and German colonialism : Colonial Experience and


metropolitan developments 1890-1955. 19.internationale Tagung- Vereinigung von
Afrikanisten in deutschland e.V. 02.06.2004 -05.06.2004 Universität Hannover. Afrika im
Kontext: Weltbezüge in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Retrieved April 10, 2008, from
http://www.vad-
ev.de/2004/download/01tagung/020papers2004/Sektion_3/vad2004_Bley.pdf

Boyed Barett, O. & Ratanen, T. (1998). The Globalization of News. In O.Boyed Barett & T.
Ratanen. The Globalization of News (pp.1-13). London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: SAGE
Publications.

Brems, E. (2002). State regulation of xenophobia versus individual freedoms: the European
view. (Electronic version). Journal of Human Rights, 1 (4), 481- 500.

Bull, M. (2000). Aestheticizing everyday life: A critique. In M. Bulll. Sounding out the city.
Personal stereos and the management of everyday life ( pp.171-184). Oxford: Berg.

Bundesregierung. (2007) Entwicklungszusammenarbeit mit Namibia verstärkt.


Bundesregierung. Retrieved February 10, 2008, from
http://www.bundesregierung.de/nn_774/Content/DE/Artikel/2007/11/2007-11-08-deutsch-
namibische-verhandlungen.html

Campt, T.M. (2003). Converging spectres of an other within race and gender in prewar Afro-
German history. (Electronic version) Callaloo. 26(2): 322-341.

Castells, M. (2000 [1996]). The Rise of the Network Society. Oxford: Blackwell.

Dasgupta, N. &Greenwald, A.G. (2001). On the malleability of automatic


attitudes:Combating automatic prejudice with image of admired and disliked individuals.
(Electronic version) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 81(5):800-814.

94
Der Spiegel. (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 10, 2008, from
Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9069121

Der Spiegel at 50. (2008). In Britannica Book of the Year, 1998. Retrieved May 10, 2008,
from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9114147

Deutsche Botschaft Windhoek, 2004, Declaration of the German Bundestag of 16 June 2004
Retrieved March 10, 2008 from
http://www.windhuk.diplo.de/Vertretung/windhuk/de/Gedenkjahr/seite__erklaerung__BT__1
6__06__04.html.

Dubriel, J.G.V. (2005). The television portrayals of African Americans and racial
attitudes. Master thesis, Georgia State University. Retrieved March 31 2008 from
http://etd.gsu.edu/theses/available/etd07252005120942/unrestricted/dubriel_joni_gv_summer
05_ma.pdf .

Dustmann, C. (2004) Parental background , secondary school track choice, and wages.
(Electronic version) Oxford Economic Papers. 56: 209-230.

Eckert, A. (2008). Der Kolonialismus im europäischen Gedächtnis. Das Parlament.


Retrieved February 20 from http://www.bundestag.de/dasparlament/2008/01-
02/Beilage/006.html .

Etchingham, J. ( 2000, 12 January) . Hate.com expands on the net. BBC News, Retrieved May
4 2008 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/600876.stm .

Ertl, H. (2006). Educational standards and the changing discours on education: the reception
and consequences of the PISA study in Germany. (Electronic version) Oxford Review of
Education. 32 (5): 619- 634.

Feierabend, S. & Kutteroff, A. (2007). Ergebnisse der JIM-Studie 2006: Medienumgang


Jugendlicher in Deutschland. Retrieved February 11, 2008, from http://www.media-
perspektiven.de/uploads/tx_mppublications/02-2007_Feierabend.pdf .

95
Fetveit, A. (2002). Reality TV in the Digital Era. A Paradox in Visual Culture? In James
Friedman (ed.) Reality Squared. Televisual Discourse on the Real (pp. 119-137). New
Brunswick [etc.]: Rutgers University Press.

Gandy Jr Oscar, H 1998.Communication and race: A structural perspective.


London [etc.]: Oxford University Press.

Gawarecki, K. & Lutz, H. (2005). Kolonialismus und Erinnerungskultur. In H.Lutz &K.


Gawarecki (Eds.) Kolonialismus und Erinnerungskultur: Die Kolonialvergangenheit im
kolltektiven Gedächtnis der deutschen und niederländischen Einwanderungsgesellschaft
(pp.9-22). Münster [etc.] : Waxmann.

Giffard, C. A. (1998). Alternative News Agencies. In O.Boyed Barett & T. Ratanen (Eds.).
The Globalization of News (pp.191- 201). London [etc.]: SAGE Publications.

Gržinić, M. (2000). Exposure Time, the Aura, and Telerobotics. In K. Goldberg (Ed.). The
Robot in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet (pp. 214-
224). Cambridge [etc.]: MIT Press.

Hagos, A. (2000). Hardened images: The western media and the marginalization of Africa.
Trenton N.J. : Africa World Press.

Hall, S. (1991).Encoding/ Decoding. In S.Hall, D.Hobson, A. Lowe & P.Willis (Eds.).


Culture, Media, Language: Working papers in cultural studies, 1972-79. London [etc.]:
Routledge in asociation witht the centre for contemporary cultural studies, University of
Birmingham.

Hall, S. (1995).The whites of their eyes: Racist ideologies and the media. In G. Dines & J.M.
Humez (Eds.).Gender, race and class in media (pp. 18–22).
Thousand Oaks [etc.]: Sage.

Hall, S. (1996). When was ‘the post-colonial’?Thinking at the limit. In I. Chambers & L.
Curti (Eds.). The post-colonial question : common skies, divided horizons (pp.242- 253).
London [etc.] : Routledge.

96
Hartmann, W. (2005). Namibia (Southwest Africa): Nama and Herero Risings. . In K.
Shillington (Ed.), Encyclopedia of African History (pp. 1064 - 1066). New York, London :
Fitzroy Dearborn.

Hauck, M. ( 2007, 30 October). Lieber Surfen als Glotzen. Süddeutsche Zeitung. Retrieved
13 February, 2008 from http://www.sueddeutsche.de/computer/artikel/514/138232/ .

Herero. (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved February 21, 2008, from


Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9040135 .

Hintze, R.H. (2007, 13 June). “...dass die Herero-Nation als solche vernichtet werden muss”.
Neues Deutschland. Retrieved February 14, 2008, from http://www.uni-
kassel.de/fb5/frieden/regionen/Namibia/herero3.html.

Hintze, R.H. (2007 b, 15 June). Keine Entschädigung. junge Welt. Retrieved February 14,
2008, from http://www.uni-kassel.de/fb5/frieden/regionen/Namibia/herero3.html.

Hömburg, W. & Reiter, C. (1999). Wehmachtsausstellung im Meinungskampf. In J. Wilke


(Ed.). Massenmedien und Zeitgeschichte (pp. 234 -246). Konstanz : UVK.

Iganski, P. (1999). Legislating against hate: outlawing racism and antisemitism in Britain.
(Electronic version) Critical Social Policy, 19 (1):129-141.

“INA study finds”. Brisante Themen kommen zu kurz n.a, from 08.02.2008. Spiegel Online.
Retrieved March 23, 2008, from
http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/gesellschaft/0,1518,533951,00.html .

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture. Where Old and New Media Collide. New York,
London: New York University Press.

Kellner, D. (1995) Cultural studies, multiculturalism and media culture. In . In G. Dines &
J.M. Humez (Eds.).Gender, race and class in media (pp. 5–17). Thousand Oaks [etc.]: Sage.

97
Kerber, A. (2005) Kolonialgeschichte in deutschen Schulbüchern- kritisch oder kritikwürdig?
In H.Lutz &K. Gawarecki (Eds.) Kolonialismus und Erinnerungskultur: Die
Kolonialvergangenheit im kolltektiven Gedächtnis der deutschen und niederländischen
Einwanderungsgesellschaft (pp.23- 40). Münster [etc.] : Waxmann.

Koopmans , B., & Pfetsch, R. (2007). Towards a Europeanised Public Sphere? Comparing
Political Actors and the Media in Germany. Retrieved February 28, 2008 from
http://www.arena.uio.no/events/papers/Koopmans.pdf .

Kössler, R. (2005). Kolonialherrschaft- auch eine deutsch Vergangenheit. In H.Lutz &K.


Gawarecki (Eds.) Kolonialismus und Erinnerungskultur: Die Kolonialvergangenheit im
kolltektiven Gedächtnis der deutschen und niederländischen Einwanderungsgesellschaft
(pp.23- 40). Münster [etc.] : Waxmann.

Kössler, R. (2007). Genocide, Apology and Reparation- the linkage between images of the
past in Namibia and Germany. Paper presented at Aegis European Conference on African
Studies. Retrieved February 10, 2008 from www.freiburg-postcolonial.de/Seiten/koessler-
linkage-2007.pdf .

Lee, H. (2001) Weiβe Frau und weiser König: die (un)erlaubte Berührung der “Kulturen” in
den globalisierten Medien. In B. Laser, J. Venus, C. Filk (Eds.). Die dunkle Seite der Medien.
Ängste, Faszination, Unfälle. Frankfurt [etc.]: Peter Lang.

Lüderitz (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 10, 2008 from Encyclopædia
Britannica Online: http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9049266.

Maletsky, C, (2005, 16 November). Ongombo West: Out for a duck! The Namibian
Newspaper. Retrieved 13 May, 2008 from
http://www.namibian.com.na/2005/November/national/05EAF77EA2.html .

Meyer-Lucht, R. (2007, 16 October). Die Vorherrschaft des Fernsehens bröckelt. Spiegel.


Retrieved 13 February, 2008 from
http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/web/0,1518,511807,00.html .

98
Mukenge Kabongo, S. (2007). A study of intercultural communication and integration
through the media in Namibia. Analyses and Views. 4 (1): 1-40.

Mysorekar, S. (2004). Halt’s Maul, sagt Sheherazade- Asiaten und Rassusmus in


Deutschland. In AntiDiskirimierungsBüro Köln/cyberNomads (Eds.). The black book.
Deutschlands Häutungen (pp. 183- 192). Frankfurt [etc.]: IKO- Verlag für interkulturelle
Kommunikation.

Namibia. (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 23, 2008, from


Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9109713.

Owambo. (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 10, 2008 from Encyclopædia
Britannica Online: http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9057785.

Palmer, M. (1998). What makes news. In O.Boyed Barett, O. & T. Ratanen. The
Globalization of News (pp.177- 190). London [etc.]: SAGE Publications.

Poenicke, A. (2001). Afrika in deutschen Medien und Schulbüchern. In Zukunftsforum


Politik; 29. Sankt Augustin : Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. Retrieved 25 February 2008
from
www.kas.de/db_files/dokumente/zukunftsforum_politik/7_dokument_dok_pdf_177_1.pdf .

Poenicke, A. (2003). Afrika realistisch darstellen: Diskussion und Alternativen zur gängigen
Praxis- Schwerpunkt Schulbücher .In Zukunftsforum Politik; 55. Sankt Augustin: Konrad-
Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. Retrieved 1 April 2008 from
www.kas.de/db_files/dokumente/zukunftsforum_politik/7_dokument_dok_pdf_2019_1.pdf .

Popp, S. (2006). Integrating World History Perspectives into a National Curriculum: A


Feasible Way to Foster Globally Oriented Historical Cons. World History Connected. 3(3)
Retrieved March 8, 2008 from http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/whc/3.3/popp.html

Quinn, A. (n.d.) Accepting Manipulation or Manipulating What’s Acceptable? Retrieved


March 10, 2008 from http://crpit.com/confpapers/CRPITV37Quinn.pdf .

99
“Resolution adopted by assembly on Holocaust Remembrance: United Nation”. Retrieved
May 1, 2008 from http://www.un.org/holocaustremembrance/docs/res607.shtml.

Röder, D. (2004). Möglichkeiten eines global orientierten Unterrichts –


das Beispiel Afrika. Schriftliche Hausarbeit im Rahmen der Ersten Staatsprüfung für das
Lehramt für die Sekundarstufe II mit Zusatzprüfung für die Sekundarstufe I. Retrieved
February 5, 2008 from www.weltgeschichte-im-unterricht.de/Roeder/staatsarbeit_roeder.pdf

Saar, M. (2000). Wem gehört das kollektive Gedächtnis? Ein sozialphilosophischer Ausblick
auf Kultur, Multikulturalismus und Erinnerung. In G. Echterhoff & M.Saar (Eds.). Kontexte
und Kulturen des Erinnerns. Maurice Halbwachs und das Paradigma des kollktiven
Gedächtnisses (pp.267- 278). Konstanz: UVK.

Sat.1: Official homepage. “Wie die Wilden”. Sat.1.Retrieved February 6, 2008 from
http://www.sat1.de/comedy_show/wiediewilden/

Schulze, R. (2004) Memory in German history: Fragmented noises or meaningful voices of


the past? (Electronic version). Journal of Contemporary History. 39(4): 637–648.

Schutzgebiete. (1973). Brockhaus Enzyklopädie : in zwanzig Bänden (pp.83-84). Wiesbaden


: Brockhaus.

Sennet, R. (1986). The actor deprived of his art. The fall of public man (p.313- 340), London
[etc.] : Faber and Faber.

Sunseri, T. (2005). Tanganyika (Tansania) : Maji Maji Rebellion, 1905- 1907. In K.


Shillington (Ed.), Encyclopedia of African History (pp. 1538- 1539). New York, London :
Fitzroy Dearborn.

Stanyer, J. & Wring, D. (2004). Public Images, Private Lives: An introduction. (Electronic
version) Parliamentary Affairs. 57(1): 1-8.

100
Steinbach, P. (1999) Zeitgeschichte und Massenmedien aus der Sicht der
Geschichtswissenschaften. In In J. Wilke (Ed.). Massenmedien und Zeitgeschichte (pp. 32-
52). Konstanz: UVK.

The mirror crack'd (2008, 10 January).The Economist. Retrieved May 5, 2008 from
http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10498947 .

Truschel, L.W. (2005). Namibia (Southwest Africa) :German Colonization, 1893- 1896. In K.
Shillington (Ed.), Encyclopedia of African History (pp. 1062- 1064). New York, London :
Fitzroy Dearborn.

Tyler, I. (2007). From ‘The Me Decade’ to ‘The Me Millennium’. The cultural history of
narcissism. (Electronic version) International Journal of Cultural Studies. 10(3): 343-363.

Wildenthal, L.(1997). Race, gender and citizenship in the German colonial empire. In
F.Cooper &A.L.Stoler. Tension of empire (pp.263-283). Berkely [etc.]: University of
California Press.

Wilke, J. (1999). Massenmedien und Zeitgeschichte aus der sichte der


Publizistikwissenschaften. In J. Wilke (Ed.). Massenmedien und Zeitgeschichte (pp. 19-31).
Konstanz: UVK.

Articles and readers’ letters used for the textual analyses

Documentary Soap: Wie die wilden (Like the savages)


Articles
Dokusoap. Heftige Kritik. Focus. Retrieved March 5, 2008 from
http://www.focus.de/panorama/welt/dokusoap_aid_114575.html .

Festl, F. (2006, 24 August). “Wie die Wilden” Sat.1 schickt Deutsche in den Busch. Focus.
Retrieved March 5, 2008 from http://www.focus.de/panorama/jahresueberblick/tv-
perlen/dschungel-tv_aid_114227.html .

101
“Himba-Dorf als Drehort für deutsche Reality-TV-Show” .(2006, 28, April). Allgemeine
Zeitung. Retrieved April 10, 2008 from
www.az.com.na/kultur/himba-dorf-als-drehort-fr-deutsche-reality-tv-show.15070.php .

Schader, P. (2006, 23 August). Stammgäste in Not. Der Spiegel.


Retrieved March 5, 2008 from
http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/gesellschaft/0,1518,433129,00.html .

Readers’ letter
“Ohne Respekt vor Fremden”.(2006, 5 May). Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved April 10, 2008
from www.az.com.na/leserbriefe/ohne-respekt-vor-fremden.15131.php .

Further links to letters and articles about the show in the Allgemeine Zeitung not mentioned in
the study:
(29.9.2006) http://www.az.com.na/...a-dreht-mit-himba-im-kaokoland.16732.php
(27.9.2006) http://www.az.com.na/...ie-himba-ber-den-tisch-gezogen.16695.php
(26.9.2006) http://www.az.com.na/.../sat-1-serie-grob-rechtswidrig.16674.php
(22.9.2006) http://www.az.com.na/kultur/die-idylle-wackelt.16635.php
(15.9.2006) http://www.az.com.na/...-die-wilden-alles-halb-so-wild.16564.php
(08.9.2006) http://www.az.com.na/...fe/tierparkhnliche-verhltnisse.16493.php
(08.9.2006) http://www.az.com.na/...gierung-soll-etwas-unternehmen.16494.php
(04.9.2006) http://www.az.com.na/...riefe/aufs-schrfste-kritisiert.16427.php
(04.9.2006) http://www.az.com.na/...e/beleidigend-und-geschmacklos.16429.php
(01.9.2006) http://www.az.com.na/.../komparsen-im-kasperle-theater.16408.php
(30.8.2006) http://www.az.com.na/kommentar/der-rutsch-ins-banale.16374.php
(30.8.2006) http://www.az.com.na/...mediengeschft-mit-den-ovahimba.16377.php
(03.3.2005) http://www.az.com.na/...f-den-spuren-der-vergangenheit.10343.php

Land Reform
Articles
Baur, D. (2004, 30 June). Mugabes gefährlicher Schatten. Der Spiegel. Retrieved March 28,
2008 from http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,306368,00.html.

102
“Halwahrheiten” über die Landreform. (2004, 8 July) Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved April
10, 2008 from http://www.az.com.na/politik/halbwahrheiten-and-quot-ber-die-
landreform.8089.php .

Thielke, T. (2004, 5 July). Kriegstrommel in Südwest. Der Spiegel. Retrieved March 28,
2008 from
http://wissen.spiegel.de/wissen/dokument/00/00/dokument.html?titel=Kriegstrommeln+in+S
%C3%BCdwest&id=31410000&top=SPIEGEL&suchbegriff=kriegstrommeln+in&quellen=
&vl=0 .

Räther, F.B. (2004, 10 May). Simbabwes Schatten. Focus. Retrieved March 28, 2008 from
http://www.focus.de/politik/ausland/namibia_aid_201045.html .

Letters/ Reactions on the article in the Spiegel


Erhabene Geringschätzung? Leserbriefe (2004, 19 July). Der Spiegel. Retrieved April 5,
2008 from
http://wissen.spiegel.de/wissen/dokument/31/48/dokument.html?titel=Erhabene+Geringsch%
C3%A4tzung%3F&id=31548413&top=SPIEGEL&suchbegriff=erhabene+geringschaetzung
&quellen=&vl=0 .

Goldbeck, M & Kanzler, S.E. (2004, 30 July). There is a future in Namibia despite Der
Spiegel’s analyis. The Namibia Newspaper. Retrieved March 30, 2008 from
http://www.namibian.com.na/2004/July/columns/0459362297.html .

Goldbeck, M & Kanzler, S.E.(2004, 30 July). In Namibia keine Zukunft mehr? Allgemeine
Zeitung. Retrieved March 30, 2008 from
http://www.namibian.com.na/2004/July/columns/0459362297.html .

Hillig, R. (2004, 2 August). Problematik findet Gehör. Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved April
10, 2008 from http://www.az.com.na/leserbriefe/problematik-findet-jetzt-gehr.8306.php .

Lilienthal, D.(2004, 27 July). Geht “Spiegel anderswo auch so vor? Allgemeine Zeitung.
Retrieved April 10, 2008 from http://www.az.com.na/leserbriefe/geht-spiegel-and-quot-
anderswo-auch-so-vor.8256.php .

103
Plöger, A. (2004, 3 September) Reden ist Silber... Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved April 10,
2008 from http://www.az.com.na/leserbriefe/reden-ist-silber.8560.php .

“Spiegelbild der Relalität”( 2004, 9 July). Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved April 10, 2008
from http://www.az.com.na/kommentar/spiegelbild-der-realitt.8110.php.

Thielke, T. (2004 b, 30 July) Rumpfs Kritik lässt erschaudern. Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved
April 10, 2008 from http://www.az.com.na/leserbriefe/rumpfs-zynismus-lsst-
erschaudern.8291.php .

Further links to letters and articles about the Spiegel article in the Allgemeine Zeitung not
mentioned in the study:

(26.07.2004) http://www.az.com.na/politik/knnen-mit-landreform-ngsten-umgehen.8237.php
(12.08.2004) http://www.az.com.na/leserbriefe/wesentliche-tatbestnde-weggelassen.8381.php

Appendix

1. Questionnaire

2. Blog (without the video frames)

104
Ich führe im Rahmen meines Masterstudiums eine Studie zur Deutschen Kolonialgeschichte und ihrer
möglichen Relevanz für die Gegenwart durch.
Die Daten, die ich aus diesem Fragebogen erhalte, werden anonym bleiben und vertraulich behandelt.

Der erste Teil dieses Fragebogens dient der Sammlung von Daten über deine
Mediennutzung. Bitte beantworte alle Fragen!

Alter:

Geschlecht (ankreuzen)
Männlich
Weiblich

1. Hast du in den letzten 24 Stunden das Internet benutzt?

Ja:
Nein:

2. Wenn ja: wie lange? (Wenn nein, geh zu Frage 3)

Weniger als 30 Minuten


30 Minuten bis 1h
1-2 Stunden
2-3 Stunden
3-4 Stunden
Mehr als 4 Stunden

2 a) Wozu hast du das Internet benutzt?

Chat: Messenger, ICQ


Emails lesen, schreiben
Recherche für Hausaufgaben
Spiele
Anderes (bitte nennen):

105
3. Welche Fernsehkanäle hast du in den letzten 24 Stunden gesehen?
(gib Stunden an)

Kanal Stunden
ARD
Arte
Pro7
RTL
RTL2
Sat1
WDR
ZDF
Andere (Name):

Keine

4. Hast du in den letzten 24 Stunden eine Zeitung/ Zeitschrift/ Magazin


gelesen?
(Kreuze an)

Ja:
Nein:

4 a). Wenn ja welche? Wen nein, geh zu Frage 5

................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................

5. Wie erfährst du über aktuelle Themen und Nachrichten?


Bitte nummeriere die aufgeführten Quellen nach Häufigkeit: 1- Die Quelle, die
du am häufigsten benutzt 7- Die Quelle, die du am seltensten benutzt.
Familie
Fernsehn
Freunde
Internet
Radio
Unterricht
Zeitung

106
Der nächste Teil des Fragebogens beschäftigt sich mit deutscher
Kolonialgeschichte. Es handelt sich hierbei nicht um einen Test oder
Leistungsbewertung.
Bitte fülle einfach alle Fragen nach Bestem Wissen aus!

6. Weisst du welche Kolonien Deutschland hatte?

Ja
Nein

6 a) Wenn ja, welche? Wenn nein, geh zu Frage 7

................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................

6 b) Woher weißt du das? Wenn du nichts darüber weißt, geh zu Frage 7

(Hier↓ genauere Angaben) (Hier↓ ankreuzen)


Bücher (welche?) :

Familie
Fernsehen: (Bitte genauer beschreiben)

Freunde
Internet (Bitte genauer beschreiben)

Unterricht (bitte nenne das Fach/die Fächer, wenn es geht):

Radio
Zeitung
Anderes (bitte nennen:)

107
7. Was weißt du über ‚Herero’? (Wenn du extra Platz benötigst, schreibe auf die
Rückseite, wenn du nichts darüber weißt, gehe zu Frage 8)
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................

7 b) Woher weißt du das? Wenn du nichts darüber weißt, geh zu Frage 8

(Hier↓ genauere Angaben) (Hier↓ ankreuzen)


Bücher (welche?) :

Familie
Fernsehen: (Bitte genauer beschreiben)

Freunde
Internet (Bitte genauer beschreiben)

Unterricht (bitte nenne das Fach/die Fächer, wenn es geht):

Radio
Zeitung
Anderes (bitte nennen:)

8. Wenn du etwas über deutsche Kolonialgeschichte mit Hilfe des Internet


rausfinden wolltest, wie würdest du das anstellen?
(z.B. : Suchmaschine, Suchbegriff)

................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................

108
Im folgenden Teil ist deine Meinung gefragt.
Bitte beantworte alle Fragen. Es geht auch hierbei nicht um richtige oder
falsche Antworten sondern ich bin an deiner Meinung interessiert.
Falls du nicht genug Platz hast zum Antworten kannst du auch die Rückseite
benutzen. Bitte gib aber an um welche Frage es sich handelt.

9. Findest du es allgemein wichtig „Geschichte“ zu lernen? (Bitte


begründe!)
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................

10. Meinst du, dass (junge) Menschen in Deutschland über deutsche


Kolonial-Geschichte Bescheid wissen? (Bitte begründe!)
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
11. Was könntest du aus der Kolonial-Geschichte für heute (deine
Gegenwart und Zukunft) lernen?
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................

109
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
...............................................................................................................................

12. Wie könntest du am Besten über deutsche Kolonial-Geschichte lernen?


( z.B. Referate, Spiele, Bücher, Filme, afrikanische Medien usw.)
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................
................................................................................................................................

Vielen Dank für deine Teilnahme!


Bitte besuche meinen online-blog www.kolo-nie.blogspot.com .
Dort werde ich die Ergebnisse dieser Umfrage veröffentlichen und würde
mich freuen wenn du deine Anmerkungen, Fragen oder Vorschläge dort
hinterlässt.

110
Kolo-nie
Freitag, 13. März 2009

Kolo-nie
Hallo, mein Name ist Sophie Mukenge Kabongo,
bin 26 Jahre alt, mache gerade meinen Master und schreibe meine Masterarbeit. "Kolo-nie"
ist ein Teil davon und beschreibt eigentlich schon ganz gut worum es geht: Deutsche
Kolonialgeschichte.

Warum weiß man nichts über dieses Thema? Und warum sollte man überhaupt etwas darüber
wissen? Könnte es irgendwie mit Themen verbunden sein, die uns heute betreffen? Wie
könnte Kolonialgeschichte für junge Leute relevant sein?

Fragen über Fragen...und ich hoffe ich finde ein paar Antworten.

Auf dieser Seite werde ich meine Erbgebnisse veröffentlichen und freu mich, wenn ihr dazu
etwas sagen möchtet.
Bitte gebt auch Alter, Geschlecht und Wohnort an. Danke!

Labels: Beschreibung

# Gepostet von SophieMuk @ 00:29 1 Kommentare

Donnerstag, 18. September 2008

Deutscher Hip Hop aus Namibia


Ich war nun gestern in der letzten Schulklasse und somit müßt ihr euch noch ein bißchen
gedulden bis die Ergebnisse kommen. In der Zwischenzeit habe ich ein Video auf Youtube
gefunden von Eric Sell (EeS) featuring Namany.
Windhoek City heißt das deutsche Hip-Hop Lied und hat zumindest auf Youtube heftige
Kommentare ausgelößt. http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=CSEKMUkFmcI

# Gepostet von SophieMuk @ 00:15 0 Kommentare

Mittwoch, 23. April 2008

Welche Kolonien hatte Deutschland noch gleich?


Hier könnt ihr einen Überblick über die Antworten der Schüler zu ehemaligen deutschen
Kolonien bekommen.

111
Fast die Hälfte der Befragten meinte die
ehemaligen deutschen Kolonien aufzählen zu können. Die meist genanntesten Länder waren
Südafrika (23%), Namibia (19%) und Kongo(11%), wobei davon eigentlich nur Namibia eine
ehemalige deutsche Kolonie ist.

Hier eine Linksammlung zum Thema: Herero

112
http://de.indymedia.org/2004/01/71560.shtml1/71560.shtml, wobei nur 21% der Schüler mit
dem Begriff etwas anfangen konnten.

Ansonsten könnt ihr die untere Karte Afrikas mit den aktuellen politschen Grenzen mit der
oberen 'Kolonien-Karte' vergleichen und sehen welche deutschen Kolonien es wirklich in
Afrika gab.

# Gepostet von SophieMuk @ 03:02 0 Kommentare

Sonntag, 20. April 2008

Kolonial-Geschichte: Was hat das mit mir zu tun?


Hier findet ihr die Zusammenfassung des letzen Teils der Umfrage. Ich habe die Schüler zu
ihrer Meinung über die Wichtigkeit von (Kolonial-) Geschichte befragt.

# Gepostet von SophieMuk @ 03:15 0 Kommentare

Samstag, 19. April 2008

113
Ergebnisse I: Mediennutzung
Hier ist eine Zusammenfassung des 1.Teils der Umfragergebnisse: Mediennutzung!
Insgesamt haben 136 Schüler der 10.Klassen von 2 Klassen eines Gymnasium, 2. Klassen
einer Realschule und 1er Klasse einer Hauptschule teilgenommen.
Falls ihr mehr zu den Ergebnissen einer bestimmten Frage wissen wollt, könnt ihr mir
Bescheid sagen. Ansonten mache ich hier erstmal ne Kurzfassung.

# Gepostet von SophieMuk @ 23:45 0 Kommentare

Dienstag, 15. April 2008

Deutsche Kolonialgeschichte...
Gähn..schon so viel drüber gehört...wirklich???? Eigentlich nicht, oder?

Denn es scheint fast so als hätte es die Kolonie(n) nie gegeben... Ich habe meinen Bachelor in
Namibia gemacht, auch eine frühere "Kolo-nie" und dort weiss man natürlich schon darüber,
vor allen Dingen leben dort auch noch viele Deutsche.

Das heisst natürlich auch, dass dort das Verhältniss zu Deutschland anders verstanden wird
als hier...stimmt das denn so? Auf der Seite der Bundesregierung wird erklärt, dass
Deutschland 2007 noch einmal die Mittel für Namibia erhöht hat als "ein Zeichen seiner
historischen und moralischen Verantwortung gegenüber Namibia".
http://www.bundesregierung.de/nn_774/Content/DE/Artikel/2007/11/2007-11-08-deutsch-
namibische-verhandlungen.html

Hm..eine besondere Beziehung?..ich habe aber bevor ich nach Namibia gefahren bin nichts
von einer besonderen Beziehung gemerkt und habe auch jetzt nicht das Gefühl, dass dieses
besondere Bewußtsein in der Gesellschaft vorhanden ist..so bin ich auf das Thema
gekommen.
Ich mach eine Umfrage in 10erKlassen und eine Medientextanalyse.
Hier ist der Fragebogen zur Umfrage in den Schulen

Labels: deutsche kolonialgeschichte, kolonial, Namibia

# Gepostet von SophieMuk @ 05:10 0 Kommentare

Montag, 14. April 2008

NAM Flava
Der Künstler Eric Sell (EeS) erklärte in einem Interview mit der AZ 2006 daß er an der
Zusammenarbeit mit schwarzen namibianischen Musikern interessiert sei, “denn Musik sei
das Einzige, was Schwarz und Weiß in Namibia verbinde. Und das ist eine von vielen
Visionen, die Eric Sell hat: Ein harmonisches Zusammenleben der Bevölkerung
Namibias.”(http://www.az.com.na/...sy-ees-kein-bock-mehr-auf-agro.13865.php )
2007 hat er ein Lied mit dem namibianischen Kwaitomusiker Gazza rausgebracht:

114
International

Mehr über den Künstler findet ihr unter


http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benutzer:Elendur/Eesy_Eric_Sell

Noch andere Videos von EeS


http://www.museke.com/node/1172

# Gepostet von SophieMuk @ 01:12 1 Kommentare

Abonnieren Posts [Atom]

Über mich
Name: SophieMuk
Standort: Maastricht

Mein Profil vollständig anzeigen

Links

• Google News
• Edit-Me
• Edit-Me

Archive

• April 2008
• September 2008
• März 2009

115