Faculty of Social Science, University of Cape Town
Social Dynamics vol:41 issue:1 pages:166-183
In Kaoko, north-west Namibia, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) was the background to the local experience of colonialism and South African rule, a period that is locally remembered for the smell of putrefaction spread by animals bearing the disease. This article investigates what this smell tells us about the particular modalities of colonial rule in this remote borderland. By means of two case studies, it argues that in this particular context creating and sustaining a ‘state of ambiguity’ was a social and political strategy engaged in by colonizer and colonized alike.