Namibia History and Culture

HISTORY

The country was discovered by Bartholomeu Diaz in 1487, but remained practically unexplored until 1840 when German missionaries entered it. German protectorate since 1884, it was administered with such harshness that numerous revolts took place there. In 1907 an ordinance of the governor delimited the areas for the natives forbidding them the possession of herds in order to make them salaried for the European settlers. After the First World War, the League of Nations entrusted the mandate to administer the region to South Africa. The revocation of the mandate by the UN in 1966 and the appointment of a Council that was to administer the country until independence scheduled for 1968 remained a dead letter for the South African opposition. Meanwhile, the Marxist-inspired nationalist movement of the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO), which arose in 1959, went into armed action, thanks also to the support of various African countries. After the failure of the Constitutional Conference of Windhoek (1976-77), which provided for the establishment of a provisional multiracial government, in December 1978 the elections to the National Assembly were held (outside the control of the UN and with the boycott of the SWAPO), who assigned the vast majority of seats to the Turnhalle Democratic Alliance (ADT), openly supported by the Pretoria government. In January 1983, South Africa, through its general administrator, on the other hand, resumed direct control of the region, dissolving the National Assembly. In the second half of the 1980s, the framework of the policy of detente between the superpowers could create the conditions for the fulfillment of the resolution for the independence of Namibia voted by the UN in 1978. An essential element was the inclusion of the Namibian question in a regional pacification project negotiated between Angola, Cuba and South Africa, with parallel withdrawal of the South African and Cuban occupation forces (from neighboring Angola). Ceasefire announced on 8 August 1988, on the following 22 December the relative agreements were signed in New York which allowed, under international control, the holding of free elections (November 1989) and therefore the proclamation of independence (21 March 1990). The aforementioned consultations saw the SWAPO affirmation that, together with the forces of the ADT, they formed a government of national unity. President of the Republic was elected Sam Nujoma (SWAPO). Among the problems that the new president had to face, in addition to those of a fine-tuning of the institutions and the adjustment of the economy, there was the situation of the enclave of Walvis Bay (Bay of the Whale), the only deep water port between Luanda and Cape Town and therefore of important strategic and commercial value. Remained in the hands of South Africa, Walvis Bay was the subject of a pressing negotiation that had its first outcome in 1992 with the decision of a common management between Namibia and the powerful neighbor. Meanwhile, the country accentuated its fuller autonomy by adopting a new currency, the Namibian dollar, to replace the old South African rand (September 1993). The Walvis Bay question found its solution in the context of the profound renewal of South Africa, which in 1994 returned the port to the full sovereignty of Namibia. The elections of 1994 and 1999 also confirmed the previous presidential and legislative results, ensuring the stability of the political framework of a country which, although it has reached full sovereignty last, it is configured as one of the most peaceful on the African continent. However, problems related to the mismanagement of the state (corruption, international drug trafficking) are increasing and the failure to launch an agrarian reform led, in 2002, to the formation of a new government. The presidential elections of November 2004 were won by Hifikepunye Pohamba, dolphin of the outgoing head of state, Nujoma, who was then reconfirmed in the November 2009 elections.

CULTURE: GENERAL INFORMATION

According to a2zcamerablog, Namibia is a country located in Africa. Most of the residents of Namibia live in rural areas and their life is closely linked to their place of origin; in fact the villages are aggregated on the basis of families or clans and are directed by a chief called elenga. This village chief takes care of local affairs and settles disputes related to the administration of the common lands. The elenga he answers in turn to an older chief who represents a district comprising dozens of villages. This system works in parallel with the regional administration, linking tradition to the modern administrative division. Namibian society is still patriarchal, despite the fact that women have always worked a lot and hard in family management; the failure to conquer women’s rights is also due to the fact that for a long time the country relied on German laws, in force during apartheid. However, since independence, the government has been committed to developing women’s rights by enacting laws also in favor of married ones (1996), in which property rights were equalized and mothers were given equal rights of custody of children. While literature is struggling to develop independently, figurative art, dance and music are rooted in tradition. The handicraft of carpets, weaving and woven baskets is highly developed; traditional instruments are drums, flutes and simple stringed instruments, which serve to accompany the dances. In particular, the German settlers helped to spread the tradition of choirs. The most important recurrences are those linked to the wars between the Herero and the German colonizers, during which famous and courageous warrior leaders were killed. The European communities also have their anniversaries, such as the Windhoek Karnival, between April and May; the Küska (Küste Karnival) in Swakopmund between the end of August and the beginning of September; the Windhoek Oktoberfest in October. L’ diet is based on a sort of puree, made with various types of flour, which accompanies beef, goat or lamb or fish. The place reported as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO is Twyfelfontein (2007), located in northwestern Namibia; it is one of the largest areas of the continent where hundreds of rock graffiti dating from 4000 BC, depicting animals, figures and human footprints are located.

Namibia History