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Useful Notes / Namibia

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A country in Southern Africa. Known for its desert and the San people who live there. One of the major tribes, the Herero were nearly decimated under German occupation of the country. Its capital city is Windhoek. Is one of the world's youngest nations, having only been independent since 1990, when it fought South Africa to gain its independence.

One of the country's most notable features is the long panhandle in the northeast. This extension is called the Caprivi Strip and, unsurprisingly, is result of European colonialism. Between 1884 and 1915, Namibia was known as German South West Africa. In 1890, the chancellor of Germany, Leo Von Caprivi, negotiated a deal with Britain. Caprivi wanted access to the Zambezi river so German ships could navigate to the African east coast. In return, Germany gave up all claims to the British territory of Zanzibarnote  and was granted the 450 kilometer-long strip of land. However, it turned out that just 60 kilometers down the Zambezi from the edge of the strip was the world's largest waterfall, Victoria falls, leaving the river unnavigable. Despite this, the strip has remained throughout the country's existence.


The Caprivi Strip is home to Lozi people, who are ethnically and linguistically quite different from the rest of the country's people and who were not even considered when it was formed. This lead to the formation of a rebel group known as the Caprivi Liberation Army, who fought a war with the Namibian government in the late 90's.

Not only is one of the least densely populated countries (second only after Mongolia), it also has a huge income inequality (partially because of the Apartheid era). It's also expensive, since a lot of things have to be imported from other countries.

  • Crossing the Desert: Namib and Kalahari Desert.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: In Windhoek, Goering Street is not named after Hermann Göring. It is, however, named after his father, colonial administrator Heinrich Göring, who has just as much of a history.

Namibia and Namibians in fiction:

  • The Dogme 95 film The King Is Alive is set in Namibia. It is about a bus of tourists breaking down and the occupants deciding to put on an amateur production of King Lear.
  • The Thomas Pynchon novel V has deals partially with the Herero Wars.
  • The South African movie Lost in the Desert (known in Afrikaans as Dirkie) is a survival story also set in the Namibian deserts.
  • The Burning Shore by Wilber Smith is mostly set on the Skeleton Coast.
  • The South African film Oh shucks! Here comes UNTAG is set in the fictional country of Namabwe, which is obviously based on Namibia.
  • André P Brink set his novel The Other Side of Silence features Namibia and the Ghost Town of Kolmanskop.
  • Nwabudike Morgan of Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri made one of his several fortunes from diamond mines in Namibia.

The Namibian flag

The blue half symbolizes the sky and the Atlantic Ocean, while the green half to vegetation and natural resources; in between is a diagonal band colored red to signify the Namibians, whose white fimbriations symbolize peace and unity; and the yellow twelve-rayed sun at the canton symbolizes energy. The colors combine the blue/red/green color scheme of the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), Namibia's dominant party, and the red/white/blue of the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), the SWAPO's conservative opposition coalition.


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