SOUTH AFRICA: Clinging to the Land of Thirst

In the Afrikaans language. South West Africa, or Namibia,* is known as a dorsland, or land of thirst. It is a vast, desolate, sun-scorched and sand-blown country—desert for the most part, wild scrubland for the rest. Its Skeleton Coast takes its name from the eerie hulks of ships that foundered on the sandy shore, from ghost towns partly buried beneath the shifting desert, and from stark tombstones of long-dead diamond seekers.

Since 1915, when Afrikaner General Louis Botha rode into Windhoek, the capital, and accepted the surrender of the German colony there, the...

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