Namibia celebrates Independence Day on 21 March every year. It is one of the most memorable days in the country’s history. On 21 March in 1990, Namibia, previously known as South West Africa, got its freedom from the South African regime’s rule.
Before Namibia’s colonisation in 1884, the region was initially inhabited by the native San, Damara, and Nama ethnic groups. They were joined by the Bantu sometime in the 14th Century. Namibia is named after the Namib Desert, which is thought to be the world’s oldest desert.
The history leading up to today
In 1884, fearing the British were about to take control of Southern Africa, Germany colonised Namibia. They called the country German South West Africa. Following Germany’s defeat in the First World War, the League of Nations instructed South Africa, who had occupied the country during the war, to administer the territory.
In April 1946, after the Second World War, the League of Nations was dissolved and succeeded by the United Nations. The UN instituted a Trusteeship system to bring all the former German colonies in Africa under UN control.
South Africa refused to give up control, arguing that most of the territory’s people were content with South African rule. While the region was not formally made part of South Africa, it was treated as such and was called South-West Africa.
There had been external and internal pressure since the 1960s for South Africa to give up control and give independence to the territory. This was happening across Africa as the Europeans began relinquishing their colonial control over the continent.
In the 1970s, the independence of neighbouring states such as Zambia and Angola gave a base for resistance against South Africa. A guerrilla group, the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia, lead the armed struggle for independence.
It was 1988 before South Africa ended its occupation of Namibia. This thanks to a UN peace plan for the entire region.
The country officially gained independence on 21 March 1990, changing its name to Namibia. On this day, the first republican president, Sam Nujoma, of Namibia unfurled our new national flag at Independence Stadium in the capital city for the first time in our history and declared Namibia “free at last”. The ceremony was attended by Nelson Mandela of South Africa. He had been released from prison only the month before.
Reason to celebrate
Independence Day is celebrated with great enthusiasm around Namibia. We remember the sacrifices made and everyone’s struggle to help the country attain its freedom. The day is to remind us of everyone involved. Of the hardships, sacrifices, and support from peace-loving nations worldwide for the common cause of our freedom.
The importance of freedom
This day is instrumental in reminding us about the importance of freedom. It reminds us that we should be proud of our country and its heritage. This will ensure we maintain peace, stability, and the brotherhood’s strong bonds that we have created. Our future generation should be inspired to strive to maintain these values. This is why it is essential to know our great country’s history and know where we came from.
As Namibians, we enjoy cultural unity even though we are a diverse nation. We celebrate Independence Day with intense feelings of love for the country – with a sense of nationalism and patriotism. Therefore, we hoist our national flag and sing the African Union and national anthem with all the pride we can muster.