The Herero people of Namibia

In 2013  the great Shepherds Bush Theatre presented an instructive play by the American playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury about the  history of  Namibia under Gerrman control 1884-1918.  The play is a good way to start an interest in modern day Namibia.   The play’s remarkable title in full is :-

“We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884–1915″ .


The play is a  dramatisation (lightened with some comedy) of the largely forgotten Herero and Namaqua genocide which took place in Namibia between 1904 and 1907 when the region was a German colony, after Germany confiscated tribal lands and the Herero people rebelled. The retribution over four years by German soldiers resulted in more than 65,000 deaths. The play deals with the enormity of this story by introducing it through the actors of a “presentation” which is intended to tell the story, and shows how the various players respond to the gruesome facts during first rehearsal.            [Thanks to Wiki here.]

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF NAMIBIA – [Thanks to the excellent website of the Namibia High Commission in London.  ]

Namibia, then known as South-West Africa, was proclaimed a German protectorate by Otto von Bismarck in 1884. The conquest of German South-West Africa by South Africa forces during World War I resulted in its subsequent administration by South Africa under a 1920 League of Nations mandate. On 19 April 1960 the South-West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) was formed as a liberation movement.

In 1966, the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), SWAPO’s military wing, waged a guerrilla struggle that effectively culminated in South African forces capitulating to end its illegal occupation of Namibia in 1988, in accordance with a United Nations peace plan for the entire region. In 1989, the implementation of United Nations Resolution 435 calling for free and fair elections under the supervision of the United Nations Transitional Assistance Group (UNTAG), resulted in SWAPO coming to power, after 106 years of colonialism and a protracted struggle for national liberation.

Namibia attained its hard-won independence on 21 March 1990 with Dr Sam Nujoma becoming the Founding President of an independent and sovereign state, the Republic of Namibia. President Nujoma stepped down in 2005 after serving three terms. A smooth democratic hand-over of power ensued when Hifikepunye Pohamba was elected President in November 2004.

In November 2014, Dr. Hage G. Geingob was elected as President while serving as prime minister. Dr.Hage Geingob was inaugurated as President of Namibia on 21 March 2015.


Coastal Namibia is mainly desert. As a consequence the country is sparsely populated (2.5 million people)

Mining is the mainstay of Namibia’s economy, being the largest contributor to the GDP. Namibia is the fourth largest exporter of non-fuel minerals in Africa and the world’s fifth largest producer of uranium. Rich alluvial diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for gem-quality diamonds. Namibia also produces large quantities of lead, zinc, tin, silver, and tungsten.  Agriculture is the main employer.

Main exports: 52% minerals (±70% diamonds), 25% fish and fish products, meat and animal products, beverages, grapes.

Main Export Destinations: United Kingdom, South Africa, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, Switzerland, United States, Angola and the Netherlands

Main Source of Imports: South Africa, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States.

More here. 


Namibia High Commission. On google streetview here.



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