Countries General Knowledge

10 Interesting Facts about Namibia

Namibia is one of the 54 African countries located in the South-West portion of the Africa. It borders South Atlantic Ocean and is situated between Angola and South Africa. Namibia has a population of 2.63million as of 2020. It’s an ethnically diverse country. The official name of Namibia is Republic of Namibia. Antelope is the national symbol of Namibia. The capital of Namibia is Windhoek.

1. Germany had colonised Namibia; naming it German South West Africa

A german trader in 1883 had bought a portion of the bay-coast in the South West Africa. During that time, European countries and stake holders were vying to have their own portion of land holdings in Africa. The attempt of attaining a geographical influence in Africa is called as Scramble for Africa in the history.

Soon after the purchase of the bay-coast; Otto von Bismarck, the blood and iron chancellor, was sought to create a colony in the area with German suzerainty. Therefore, in 1884 Germany took control of a part of current-day Namibia. It was then called as German South West Africa.

2. South Africa ruled Namibia after World War I

After World War 1, the position of Germany in the world soon weakened. The Central Powers (Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Ottoman Empire and Germany) had lost agains the Allied Powers (Serbia, Russia, France, UK, Italy, Belgium and the US). South Africa at the time of Namibian occupation was a member of British Commonwealth. The occupation was completed in the year 1915. The holding was finalised in 1920 using the charter of the League of Nations (An international organisations precursor to the United Nations).

The agreement was to create prosperity in Namibia under the South African regime.

3. Namibia Gained Independence in 1990

Almost every country in Africa got independence from their colonial masters in the 1960s and around. However, South Africa after occupying Namibia wasn’t ready to let go the territory. The rule was carried out in the name of de facto territory as South African province. Eventually Ethiopia and Liberia filed a case against South Africa in the International Court of Justice.

Ultimately with the continuous freedom struggles of South West Africa People’s Organisation commonly called as SWAPO, Namibia gained independence in 1990. They fought against South African occupation using guerrilla war tactics; same tactics which emerged in the Vietnam offensive. The UN Peace plan was finally implemented and it gained freedom on 21st March 1990.

4. Diamond Production plays a major role in Namibian Economy

Mineral extraction plays a significant role in the economy of Namibia. 12.5% of the GDP owes to the mineral sector in Namibia. Let small percentage of mineral market in GDP not fool you, as 50% of the Foreign Exchange Reserve in Namibia is earned through the mineral sector.

In addition to the diamond, Namibia has rich quantities of uranium. It’s one of the largest producers of uranium in the world. The total GDP of Namibia as of 2017 was $13bn approx.

5. Namib desert is considered one of the oldest in the world

Namib means vast place; therefore the name Namibia. The word is from the Nama/Damara/Khoekhoe language, which is the most widespread language spoken in Bantu people. South African culture shares a major portion of people from the Bantu ethnic group.

Namib desert is unique because it has a large number of small rodent species. The sand is so loose that some species are able to swim beneath. Further, the desert also offers good mineral resource for mining. Namib desert is the oldest desert in the world.

6. Christians form 80% of the population in Namibia

The major religion in Namibia is Christianity. In addition to christianity, there are beliefs which are indigenous in nature and are based on the Namibian history. A vast majority of the religious views owe much to the colonial past of the Namibia as is the case with other African countries. Christianity also played a role in the nationalistic sentiments of the Namibians once South Africa gained control of the country after World War 1.

7. Democracy is followed in Namibia

The government consists of the President and it is empowered by the bicameral parliament through the legislative reforms and lawmaking. The president is elected using the universal suffrage granted to the people above 18-year age. The president is eligible for a second term.

The efforts to install government lead by the local people were started by SWAPO under the nationalistic movements. The elections in 1989 were carried out under the supervision of the United Nations. A majority of the Namibians have much trust in SWAPO as a political force. The passage of years from 1994 to 2014 elections show that the faith in SWAPO has increased over time.

8. Namibia offers Safari and Coastal tourism

If someone wants to experience nature then Namibia offers best of it in the shape of Safari and coastal experience. Ethosha National Park offers a good experience to the tourists who want to experience animals in their natural habitat. It’s one of the African’s greatest animal game experience. One can experience elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, cheetah, hyena, giraffe and zebra.

In addition to the Safari experience, a surreal coastal experience is offered in Swakopmund which is one of the most popular destinations in Namibia. Swakopmund offers an ideal place to visit after the Safari experience due to the an air of the Germany, as once they were rulers on the coast. The Skeleton Coast in Swakopmund offers the experience of both past and present. The dunes meet sea at the Skeleton coast.

9. Caprivi is a salient belonging to Namibia

Salient is a land strip which is analogous to peninsula, as it’s a piece of land belonging to a sovereign country surrounded by other countries unlike a peninsula surrounded by water. Caprivi is a region in Namibia which is salient. It’s surrounded by Botswana, Angola and Zambia.

Picture Credits: Google Maps

10. Namibia has world’s largest free-roaming Cheetah population

The country is serious about the conservation of nature. It’s also honoured to be the first African country which implemented the environment protection clause in the constitution. According to the various resources, the country has the world’s largest free-roaming population of cheetah. According to one estimate, there are 2,500-3,000 cheetahs in Namibia.

Further, Namibia has the world’s largest population of Black Rhino. The Etosha National Park can be visited to experience this shrinking species.

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