Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia (Afrikaans: Republiek van Namibië, German: Republik Namibia, Ovambo: Orepublika yaNamibia), is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with the Republic of Angola to the north, Botswana to the east and German South West Africa to the south. It gained independence from South Africa on 19 April 1984, following the collapse of the former after the devastating World War III. Its capital is Omuthiya. Namibia has applied for membership to the League of Nations.
The dry lands of Namibia were inhabited since early times by Bushmen, Damara and Namaqua, and since about the 14th century AD by immigrating Bantu who came with the Bantu expansion. It became a German Imperial protectorate in 1884 and remained a German colony until the end of World War I. In 1920, the League of Nations mandated the country to South Africa, which imposed its laws and, from 1948, its apartheid policy.
Uprisings and demands by African leaders led the UN to assume direct responsibility over the territory. It recognized the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) as the official representative of the Namibian people in 1973. Namibia, however, remained under South African administration during this time.
Although no nuclear weapons were dropped on Namibian territory, the general post-war chaos enveloped the lands.
Following Doomsday, the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) party members in northern Namibia urged their comrades to unite and form a government for their overall stability, and to prevent them from collapsing like their former occupiers South Africa. Namibia obtained full independence from the Union in 1984 with Sam Nujoma as president. By 1990 SWAPO held the northern third of Namibia.
Expedition to Walvis Bay and Eventual Civil War
President Nujoma organized an expedition to Walvis Bay, whose objectives were to reconnoiter and evaluate the land for possible annexation into Namibia. Unfortunately, when the SWAPO scouts arrived, they saw that it had been turned into the capital of the fledgling German South West Africa. Upon receiving the news, Nujoma and a heavily armed convoy of SWAPO officials and troops headed for the city and demanded that the city be handed over to them. When the GSWA refused, Nujoma and Namibia declared war and invaded the republic. By the end of 1990, Namibia and SWAPO controlled German Southwest Africa.
For three years, the area was occupied by SWAPO, until unrest began to grow amongst the non-African population, who were beginning to become victims of the "reverse-apartheid". With riots occurring nearly every day over better treatment for the German and English populations, until it reached the point when Namibian troops opened fire on a crowd of protesters in Walvis Bay. These attacks sparked a revolution amongst much of the local populations. The war started in 1993, but the losses were almost always on the German and English South African population. The GSWA's first success was in the winter of '94, when the guerrilla forces managed to secure Langstrand which would serve as the provisional capital for the remainder of the war. Multiple attacks throughout Southwest Africa eventually led to the near-complete destruction of Walvis Bay, as well as many other minor villages, many of which were completely destroyed.
By 1995, with over 8000 people dead, and more than 20,000 displaced throughout South-West Africa, the two factions eventually signed a peace treaty, known as the "Pueldo-Himmler Treaty", over the partition of South-West Africa. The German South-West Africans would once again receive the territory they once controlled, while the remainder of the land would go to the remnants of SWAPO. The next several years would be horrific for both sides, as the thousands of homeless citizens, many of whom were starving, would be forced to rebuild from the ground up.
After the devastating war with the GSWA, Nujoma focused his efforts in rebuilding Namibia. Rebuilding from their new capital Omuthiya, SWAPO reached out once again to surrounding cities and towns, but the fringe areas of the old nation had become distrustful of Namibia and SWAPO and so decided not to return to the fold.
A new era
Sam Nujoma surprised everyone when he announced that he would no longer run for president in 2005, instead allowing his hand-picked successor Hifikepunye Pohamba to become the SWAPO presidential candidate. Pohamba was elected president in a landslide victory, but German Southwest African critics denounced it as flawed. Under him, SWAPO received a resurgence in power, and Namibian influence began spreading out of its borders again. He personally received the scouts of the newly formed League of Nations just before he was reelected in 2009, which is rumored to have considerably boosted his already high popularity among the Namibians.
Pohamba was narrowly defeated by his Prime Minister, Nahas Angula, in the 2013 general elections.
The Government of Namibia consists of the executive, the legislative and the judiciary branches. The Cabinet is the executive organ of government, implementing the laws of the country. It consists of the President, the Prime Minister and his deputy, as well as the Ministers. The legislative organs of government are the National Council and the National Assembly. They make the laws of the country. The judiciary organs of government are the courts. The highest court of Namibia is the Supreme Court. There is also the High Court, and lower courts.
The Namibian government is partly centralised and partly regional. In the executive branch, Central government consists of ministries, offices and agencies, whereas regional government consists of Regional Councils, and constituencies within these. The legislation is centralised in the lower house (National Assembly), and regional in the upper house (National Council). The judiciary is centralised in the Supreme Court, whereas High Courts and lower courts are distributed all over the country.
The flag of Namibia is the same as the flag of SWAPO, the ruling party of the nation. It is described as a blue, red, and green tricolor, symbolizing the colors of the party.
Namibia controls only the north-central portion of former South-West Africa.
Namibia's economy is tied to the Republic of Angola, Botswana, and the new South Africa because of their small distance from each other. Unemployment is high in the country, and most of the people live below the international poverty line. Despite the remoteness, Namibia plans to be a regional transport hub alongside GSWA, but with Botswana gaining sea access through the Okavango, people claim that this plan is "as good as dead." A transportation corridor brings in trade from the NUSA.
Most of the population lives on subsistence farming, but Namibia still must import some of its food. Most of its imports are from Angola and NUSA, with Botswana occupying a small corner of the market. Mining provides a large part of Namibia's revenue. The country is a primary source of gemstones like diamonds, and its other mineral exports include lead, gold, tin, fluorspar, tungsten, manganese, marble, zinc, and copper.
Education in Namibia is compulsory for ten years between the ages of six and 16. The Constitution directs the government to provide free primary education. However, families must pay fees for uniforms, books, hostels, and school improvements.
The principal sports in Namibia are football (soccer), rugby union, golf and fishing. Boxing and athletics are also popular. Cricket is popular only among the Afrikaans and German populations, with the rest showing hardly any interest.
The Namibian national rugby union team regularly plays the other rugby union teams in the region.
Namibia's principal military arm is the Namibia Defence Force, which is composed of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (the military arm of SWAPO), and members of the South West African Territorial Force that switched sides after the breakup of South Africa. The main roles of the NDF are to "ensure the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country against external aggression, both conventional and unconventional; prevent violation of Namibia’s territorial integrity; and provide assistance to civil authorities in guarding and protecting government buildings and key installations as provided in the Defence Act. However, GSWA observers reported that the NDF's effectiveness was hampered by inadequate training, and that the troops suffered from a range of diseases.
Its Commander-in-Chief is President Nahas Angula.
Namibia has minimal relations with neighboring German South West Africa, which is not surprising given that they both fought a devastating civil war. It has embassies in the Republic of Angola, Botswana, the constituent nations of the New Union of South Africa, and New Britain.