This book is Margaret Courtney-Clarke’s (born 1949) visual ode to her home country of Namibia, and describes the bare circumstances of ordinary Namibians, of women and men forced to negotiate ravaged lives. Returning to Namibia in 2009 after decades of living abroad, Courtney-Clarke encountered a changed country in the throes of unrestrained development, the Namib Desert desecrated, and peoples migrating from rural settlements to towns in search of a better life. “With strong memories of my formative years growing up on the edge of the Namib Desert,” she recalls, “I have returned to explore my obsession with this place and my lifelong curiosity for the notion of shelter.”
These photos are the result of Courtney-Clarke’s travels over 30,000 kilometers across dusty plains, sand dunes and salt pans, through conservancies, homelands and forgotten outposts. They evidence her passionate concern for human enterprise and failure, and for an inhospitable environment infused with remnants of apartheid as well as hope.