Changes in the Distribution of the !Nara Plant that affect the life of the Topnaar People in the lower Kuiseb River, Namib Desert

Publication Year:

The !Nara plant is endemic to the central Namib Desert. The Topnaar people, who live along the Kuiseb River, use this plant in their daily lives, as it serves as a vital source of income, nutrition, and traditional culture. !Nara is virtually the only food source of the Topnaar during harvest time, and cash can be obtained by selling the seeds of the !Nara fruit. In fact, 40% of Topnaar harvesters have no other source of income. A flood protection wall was built in 1961 to protect Walvis Bay from fl ood damage, and a tributary that once flowed to the town was dammed as a result. A large percentage of !Nara was killed, and the crop yield decreased dramatically. The loss of floodwaters following the construction of the wall likely resulted in a decreased moisture supply, causing !Nara vegetation to suffer. It is probably difficult for seeds to germinate owing to the decreased flooding erosion, the increased accumulation of sand, and the lowered groundwater table. Keywords: !Nara, Topnaar, Namib Desert, Flood, Groundwater.

Publication Title:

African Study Monographs

Item Type:
Journal Article