Namibia. During a visit to Zimbabwe in April, President Hage Geingob drew attention when he spoke in praise of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his controversial and violent land reform when predominantly white farmers were forced to leave land. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for frequently used acronyms and abbreviations related to as well as country profile of Namibia.
According to Countryaah.com, many Namibians are disappointed that the redistribution of agricultural land for the benefit of the poor and the homeless is going too slowly. The country’s major commercial ranches are owned almost exclusively by whites. The situation is the same in business, where almost all companies are owned by the white minority, which makes up about 6% of the population. During the year, work was underway with a law that will lead to a more equal society. Under the proposed law, all businesses must be owned by at least 25% of people who are “racially disadvantaged”. In a statement, Namibia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry warned that such a proposal would lead to capital flight.
In early October, nearly 120 hippos died in a short time in the Bwabwata National Park in the northeastern part of the country. The reason was believed to be that they were infected by anthrax. In order to prevent the infection from being passed on to humans and domestic animals, cattle were vaccinated and over 700 people in the area were treated for preventive purposes.
Namibia was one of 17 countries and territories on the EU’s first “black list” of tax havens, published in December.
1989 First Free Election
In November 89, 710,000 Namibians participated in the election of representatives to a constitutional assembly. The UN monitored the elections in which 10 different parties participated. SWAPO got 60% of the vote, giving the movement full control of the assembly and power to appoint 60-year-old Sam Nujoma as Namibia’s first president.
Independence was proclaimed on March 21, 1990 in the presence of an honor guard consisting of units from SWAPO and from the SWA Territory Force – South Africa’s military forces to remain in the country until a new army (National Army of Namibia) was built.
Namibia’s new government was confronted with the legacy of apartheid – the social inequalities and racial segregation policy in particular in the health care and education system. While in the areas traditionally reserved for Europeans an acceptable educational and health infrastructure existed, this was largely absent in the areas where the indigenous population lived – primarily in the northern part of the country.
With independence, Namibia introduced English as the official language to replace Afrikaans. The government set up a Ministry of Informal Education – especially for literacy of women. In collaboration with UNICEF, the Ministry decided that Namibia’s women should first be literate in their own languages and only subsequently learn English. In the health sector, the government allocated funds for the rehabilitation of some 40,000 war invalids – victims of the 23-year guerrilla struggle for independence.
The United Nations Development Organization (UNDP) considered that the implementation of a land reform was one of the most important issues facing the country in the short term. The background was that about 65% of the land was in European hands and that many Europeans did not live on their property at all.
In mid-February 91, the employees of the municipalities and the state-owned enterprises carried out a strike demanding increases in wages, implementation of labor legislation and in protest of alleged racist measures by the government. This one responded by characterizing the strike as financial sabotage. The continuing huge income gaps caused several economic observers to characterize the country as a “two-tier economy”, for 70% of the population lives in third world conditions, 25% lives in a transitional economy, and only 5% of the population live under conditions linked to the development of the country.
Most of the population belongs to Bantu peoples (Ovambo, Kavango, Herero, Damara etc.), who arrived, as in all of southern Africa, through migratory waves coming from the North, and especially from the region of the great equatorial lakes ; the population of European origin – German, British and above all Boer – has declined sharply during the troubled period that preceded the achievement of independence and is largely concentrated in the capital and other urban centers; the indigenous background, represented by Khoisan populations (Hottentots, Bushmen), has almost disappeared; then there are the coloureds, descendants of the Boers and Hottentot women, also predominantly urban. Therefore, Namibia is an ethnically and culturally composite country, where there is no lack of coexistence problems between the various groups, whose solution was certainly not helped by the long South African administration that had tried here too the application of the apartheid policy and the institution of the Bantu Homelands (➔ bantustan). The population is unevenly distributed, concentrated mainly in the northern and north-eastern areas, less disadvantaged by the climate, and completely absent in the Namib; the urban one is the 37% (2008) of the total and the only real city is the capital.
The official language is English, but numerous Bantu and Afrikaans languages are widely used; a minority speaks German. The population is Protestant (51.4%), Catholic (16.5%), Anglican (5.5%), of other confessions (19.5%).