publication . Article . 2009

Posters act: Namibian poster action and the photographic poster archive

Rizzo, L; Miescher, G; Henrichsen, D; Silvester, J;
Open Access English
  • Published: 01 Nov 2009
  • Publisher: University of the Western Cape
  • Country: Switzerland
This article mainly draws from ideas and approaches developed in a recently published volume Posters in Action. Visuality in the Making of an African Nation. In contrast to most African poster historiography our argument has developed towards an understanding of posters as images in action and has linked them to their specific historical contexts of production, circulation and visual communication. While remaining critical of the assumption that posters were and are necessarily linked to urban and industrialised settings, we have acknowledged their being located within processes of negotiation of modernisation. The action approach understands posters as active a...
free text keywords: Institute of History, 900 History, History of Africa, DT1-3415, History (General), D1-2009
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9 Giorgio Miescher and Lorena Rizzo, ʻArchiving Ephemera: Namibian Posters as Heritageʼ, Paper presented at ʻIssues in Museum and Heritage Studiesʻ, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, 2005; The Charted Institute of Library and Information Professionals, Ephemera: the Stuff of History: Report on the Working Party on Ephemera Set Up by CILIP (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (Thatcham, 2003). In German, ephemera are also called Graue Literatur - ʻgrey literatureʼ.

10 On the BAB collection see Giorgio Miescher and Dag Henrichsen, African Posters: A Catalogue of the Poster Collection in the Basler Afrika Bibliographien (Basel: Basler Afrika Bibliographien, 2004), 8-15; on the poster collection in the National Archives of Namibia (as well the one of the National Library of Namibia) see Werner Hillebrecht, ʻCollecting Posters in Namibiaʼ. Paper presented at the workshop on ʻPosters in Namibian Historyʼ at the University of Namibia, 1 June 2002. Cataloguing of the BAB collection started in 1995, of the NAN collection in 1993.

11 This systematic research was done with the help of Anna Vögeli in 2007.

13 Giorgio Miescher, Lorena Rizzo and Jeremy Silvester, ʻVisualizing Namibia: Posters and publics before independenceʼ, Critical Interventions: Journal of African art history and visual culture, 2 (2008):102-124.

14 See, for example, John Tag, ʻEvidence, truth and order: a means of surveillanceʼ, in Jessica Evans and Stuart Hall, eds., Visual Culture: The Reader (London: SAGE, 2005 (originally 1999): 244-274, esp. 264ff.

15 See Dag Henrichsen, ʻ“Lees!,”ʼ : Historical photography, public reading sites and visualsʼ, in Miescher et al, Posters in Action: esp. 45-50.

16 Rolf and G. Schirmer operated their shop Photo Holler in the then Kaiser Wilhelm Street in Swakopmund from the 1950s until around 1991. Telephone interview with Dag Henrichsen, April 2006.

17 For more details see Henrichsen, ʻ“ Lees ”ʼ: 53f.

18 Robert Gordon, ʻThe battle for the bioscope in Namibiaʼ. African Identities, 3, 1, (2005): 45.

19 The name ʻAkuenjangaʼ refers to a village between Ongwediwa and Okatana. Thanks to Martha Akawa and Timo Mashuna for providing this information.

20 On commercialism in northern Namibia with reference to western cloth through (retail) shops see Vilho Shigwedha: ʻThe pre-colonial costumes of the Aawambo: Significant changes under colonialism and the construction of post-colonial identityʼ, in Lovisa Nampala and Vilho Shigwedha, Aawambo Kingdoms, History and Cultural Change. Perspectives from Northern Namibia (Basel: P. Schlettwein Publishing, 2006): 221ff.

23 See Ute Papen, TVs, textbooks and tour guides: Uses and meanings of literacy in Namibia (University of London, PhD, 2002): 69.

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