Namibia gained independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990 making today the 33rd year of Namibia’s existence as an independent state.

The Flag of Namibia with the colours blue red and green in diagonal stripes and a sun in the top left hand corner. Underneath its coat of arms

The Republic of Namibia shares its land borders with Zambia and Angola to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east.

Although it does not border Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe, is less than 200 metres (660 feet) from the Botswana right bank of the Zambezi River which separates the two countries.

Interestingly Namibia only has a population of 2.55 million people at present which, for an African state, seems to many a small nation, and yet it is roughly half the population of Scotland and we are regularly told that we are “too wee” to be an independent state.

The name of this country is derived from the Namib Desert, the oldest desert in the world and the name means “vast place”.

In 1884, the German Empire established rule over most of the territory, forming a colony known as German South West Africa. Between 1904 and 1908, it perpetrated genocide against the Herero and Nama people. German rule ended in 1915 with a defeat by South African forces. In 1920, after the end of World War 1, the League of Nations mandated administration of the colony to South Africa. As mandatory power, South Africa imposed its laws, including racial classifications and rules.

From 1948, with the National Party elected to power, this included South Africa applying apartheid to what was then known as South West Africa. In the later 20th century, uprisings and demands for political representation by native African political activists seeking independence resulted in the UN assuming direct responsibility over the territory in 1966, but the country of South Africa maintained de facto rule.

In 1973, the UN recognised the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO)) as the official representative of the Namibian people. Following continued guerrilla warfare, Namibia obtained independence in 1990. However, Walvis Bay and the Penguin Islands remained under South African control until 1991 when these territories were ceded to Nambia.

Despite all of this disruption Namibia became, and remains today, a stable multi-party parliamentary democracy.

It is a country full of interesting places to see and things to do such as

  • the Kalahari Desert
  • an abundance of wildlife.
  • ghost towns in the desert

However, Namibia is much more than a tourism rich state and Namibia’s government requires local participation before issuing licenses to exploit natural resources and has additional restrictions in the case of certain “strategic minerals”. 

In 2011, the Namibian government declared uranium, diamonds, gold, copper, and rare earth metals to be strategic minerals.  The declaration aimed to make the government and people of Namibia meaningful participants in the mining sector by granting state-owned companies the right to own all new licenses issued for the exploration and mining of strategic minerals.

The Land Reform Act regulates the acquisition of agricultural land by foreign nationals and no foreign national is allowed to acquire agricultural land without the prior consent of the Minister of Land Reform.

All of the above seems to ensure that Namibia, a country with a population smaller than Scotland, looks after not only its economy and resources but its people, and the economy is moving forward in a positive and responsible way

elephants near body of water
Photo by Dick Hoskins on

From our archives: 16thC Shipwreck Reveals New Information on African Elephants

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    • Thank you for those kind comments – it is always nice to hear from readers as it encourages me to think further
      Thanks again and all the best

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