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Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Research Unit

The Kwanhama, whose ancient kingdom occupies a vast area in Angola and in Namibia, are one of the African cases of people partitioned by the establishment of colonial borders. This division, along with the profound transformations of the last decades in the region – war, displacement and conditioned circulation – shaped the way a common identity has acquired different features in both countries. In the (under-researched) Angolan side, cross-border identity has progressively concentrated on the idea of a split between the two countries, as the Kwanhama king, Mandume, is believed to be buried on both sides of the border; and at the same time on the notion of a common belonging across the border. Based on data collected through fieldwork interviews in the Cunene province in Angola, this article adds to the discussion of the apparently ambiguous ideas of partitioned and shared notions of belonging.


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