Namibian, adj., n.
/neuh mib"ee euh/, n.
a republic in SW Africa: a former German protectorate; a mandate of South Africa 1920-66; gained independence 1990. 1,727,183; 318,261 sq. mi. (824,296 sq. km). Cap.: Windhoek. Formerly, German Southwest Africa (1884-1919), South-West Africa (1920-68).

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Introduction Namibia
Background: South Africa occupied the German colony of South-West Africa during World War I and administered it as a mandate until after World War II when it annexed the territory. In 1966 the Marxist South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) guerrilla group launched a war of independence for the area that was soon named Namibia, but it was not until 1988 that South Africa agreed to end its administration in accordance with a UN peace plan for the entire region. Independence came in 1990. Geography Namibia -
Location: Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and South Africa
Geographic coordinates: 22 00 S, 17 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 825,418 sq km water: 0 sq km land: 825,418 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly more than half the size of Alaska
Land boundaries: total: 3,936 km border countries: Angola 1,376 km, Botswana 1,360 km, South Africa 967 km, Zambia 233 km
Coastline: 1,572 km
Maritime claims: contiguous zone: 24 NM exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate: desert; hot, dry; rainfall sparse and erratic
Terrain: mostly high plateau; Namib Desert along coast; Kalahari Desert in east
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m highest point: Konigstein 2,606 m
Natural resources: diamonds, copper, uranium, gold, lead, tin, lithium, cadmium, zinc, salt, vanadium, natural gas, hydropower, fish note: suspected deposits of oil, coal, and iron ore
Land use: arable land: 0.99% permanent crops: 0% other: 99% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 70 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: prolonged periods of drought Environment - current issues: very limited natural fresh water resources; desertification; wildlife poaching; land degradation has led to few conservation areas Environment - international party to: Antarctic-Marine Living
agreements: Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: first country in the world to incorporate the protection of the environment into its constitution; some 14% of the land is protected, including virtually the entire Namib Desert coastal strip People Namibia
Population: 1,820,916 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 42.6% (male 392,706; female 382,690) 15-64 years: 53.7% (male 490,151; female 488,052) 65 years and over: 3.7% (male 29,345; female 37,972) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.19% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 34.17 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 22.28 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/ female total population: 1 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 72.43 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 38.97 years female: 37.07 years (2002 est.) male: 40.81 years
Total fertility rate: 4.77 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 19.54% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 160,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 18,000 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Namibian(s) adjective: Namibian
Ethnic groups: black 87.5%, white 6%, mixed 6.5% note: about 50% of the population belong to the Ovambo tribe and 9% to the Kavangos tribe; other ethnic groups are: Herero 7%, Damara 7%, Nama 5%, Caprivian 4%, Bushmen 3%, Baster 2%, Tswana 0.5%
Religions: Christian 80% to 90% (Lutheran 50% at least), indigenous beliefs 10% to 20%
Languages: English 7% (official), Afrikaans common language of most of the population and about 60% of the white population, German 32%, indigenous languages: Oshivambo, Herero, Nama
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 38% male: 45% female: 31% (1960 est.) Government Namibia
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Namibia conventional short form: Namibia former: German Southwest Africa, South-West Africa
Government type: republic
Capital: Windhoek Administrative divisions: 13 regions; Caprivi, Erongo, Hardap, Karas, Khomas, Kunene, Ohangwena, Okavango, Omaheke, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa
Independence: 21 March 1990 (from South African mandate)
National holiday: Independence Day, 21 March (1990)
Constitution: ratified 9 February 1990; effective 12 March 1990
Legal system: based on Roman-Dutch law and 1990 constitution
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Sam Shafishuna NUJOMA (since 21 March 1990); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government head of government: President Sam Shafishuna NUJOMA (since 21 March 1990); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among the members of the National Assembly elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 30 November- 1 December 1999 (next to be held NA 2004) election results: Sam Shafishuna NUJOMA elected president; percent of vote - Sam Shafishuna NUJOMA 77%
Legislative branch: bicameral legislature consists of the National Council (26 seats; two members are chosen from each regional council to serve six-year terms) and the National Assembly (72 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) elections: National Council - elections for regional councils, to determine members of the National Council, held 30 November-1 December 1998 (next to be held by December 2004); National Assembly - last held 30 November-1 December 1999 (next to be held by December 2004) note: the National Council is primarily an advisory body election results: National Council - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - SWAPO 21, DTA 4, UDF 1; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - SWAPO 76%, COD 10%, DTA 9%, UDF 3%, MAG 1%, other 1%; seats by party - SWAPO 55, COD 7, DTA 7, UDF 2, MAG 1,
Judicial branch: Supreme Court (judges appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission) Political parties and leaders: Congress of Democrats or COD [Ben ULENGA]; Democratic Turnhalle Alliance of Namibia or DTA [Katuutire KAURA, president]; Monitor Action Group or MAG [Kosie PRETORIUS]; South West Africa People's Organization or SWAPO [Sam Shafishuna NUJOMA]; United Democratic Front or UDF [Justus GAROEB] Political pressure groups and NA
leaders: International organization ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77,
participation: IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMEE, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Leonard Nangolo IIPUMBU chancery: 1605 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009 FAX: [1] (202) 986-0443 telephone: [1] (202) 986-0540 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador Kevin
US: J. McGUIRE embassy: Ausplan Building, 14 Lossen Street, Windhoek mailing address: Private Bag 12029 Ausspannplatz, Windhoek telephone: [264] (61) 221601 FAX: [264] (61) 229792
Flag description: a large blue triangle with a yellow sunburst fills the upper left section and an equal green triangle (solid) fills the lower right section; the triangles are separated by a red stripe that is contrasted by two narrow white-edge borders Economy Namibia -
Economy - overview: The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for 20% of GDP. Namibia is the fourth-largest exporter of nonfuel 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. About half of the population depends on agriculture (largely subsistence agriculture) for its livelihood. Namibia must import some of its food. Although per capita GDP is five times the per capita GDP of Africa's poorest countries, the majority of Namibia's people live in pronounced poverty because of large- scale unemployment, the great inequality of income distribution, and the large amount of wealth going to foreigners. The Namibian economy has close links to South Africa. Agreement has been reached on the privatization of several more enterprises in coming years, which should stimulate long-run foreign investment.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $8.1 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $4,500 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 11% industry: 28% services: 61% (2000 est.) Population below poverty line: NA% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): 8.8% (2001)
Labor force: 500,000 Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 47%, industry 20%, services 33% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate: 30% to 40%, including underemployment (1997 est.)
Budget: revenues: $883 million expenditures: $950 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998)
Industries: meatpacking, fish processing, dairy products; mining (diamond, lead, zinc, tin, silver, tungsten, uranium, copper) Industrial production growth rate: NA Electricity - production: 30 million kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 2% other: 0% (2000) hydro: 98% nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 890.9 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 863 million kWh note: supplied by South Africa (2000)
Agriculture - products: millet, sorghum, peanuts; livestock; fish
Exports: $1.58 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Exports - commodities: diamonds, copper, gold, zinc, lead, uranium; cattle, processed fish, karakul skins
Exports - partners: UK 43%, South Africa 26%, Spain 14%, France 8%, Japan (1998 est.)
Imports: $1.71 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs; petroleum products and fuel, machinery and equipment, chemicals
Imports - partners: South Africa 81%, US 4%, Germany 2% (1997 est.)
Debt - external: $217 million (2000 est.) Economic aid - recipient: $127 million (1998)
Currency: Namibian dollar (NAD); South African rand (ZAR)
Currency code: NAD; ZAR
Exchange rates: Namibian dollars per US dollar - 11.58786 (January 2002), 8.60918 (2001), 6.93983 (2000), 6.10948 (1999), 5.52828 (1998), 4.60796 (1997)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March Communications Namibia Telephones - main lines in use: 110,200 (2000) Telephones - mobile cellular: 82,000 (2000)
Telephone system: general assessment: good system; about 6 telephones for each 100 persons domestic: good urban services; fair rural service; microwave radio relay links major towns; connections to other populated places are by open wire; 100% digital international: fiber-optic cable to South Africa, microwave radio relay link to Botswana, direct links to other neighboring countries; connected to Africa ONE and South African Far East (SAFE) submarine cables through South Africa; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat (2002) Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 39, shortwave 4 (2001)
Radios: 232,000 (1997) Television broadcast stations: 8 (plus about 20 low-power repeaters) (1997)
Televisions: 60,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .na Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 2 (2000)
Internet users: 30,000 (2001) Transportation Namibia
Railways: total: 2,382 km narrow gauge: 2,382 km 1.067-m gauge (2001)
Highways: total: 64,800 km paved: 5,378 km unpaved: 59,430 km (2001)
Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: Luderitz, Walvis Bay
Merchant marine: none (2002 est.)
Airports: 137 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 22 over 3,047 m: 2 2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 1,524 to 2,437 m: 14 914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 115 2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 1,524 to 2,437 m: 21 914 to 1,523 m: 72 under 914 m: 20 (2001) Military Namibia
Military branches: National Defense Force (Army, including Air Wing), Police Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 436,642 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 260,879 (2002 est.)
service: Military expenditures - dollar $104.4 million (2001)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 2.6% (FY97/98)
GDP: Transnational Issues Namibia Disputes - international: none

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officially Republic of Namibia formerly (1915–68) South-West Africa

Nation, southwestern coast of Africa.

Area: 318,580 sq mi (825,118 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 1,837,000. Capital: Windhoek. More than half the people are Ovambo. Others include Nama, Kavango, Herero, and San. Languages: English (official), Afrikaans, Bantu, German. Religions: Christianity, traditional religions. Currency: Namibian dollar. Namibia may be divided into three broad regions: the Namib Desert, the Central Plateau, and the Kalahari Desert. The economy is based largely on agriculture and on the production and export of diamonds. Namibia is a republic with two legislative houses; its head of state and government is the president. Long inhabited by indigenous peoples, it was explored by the Portuguese in the late 15th century. In 1885 it was annexed by Germany as German Southwest Africa. It was captured in World War I by South Africa, which received it as a mandate from the League of Nations in 1918 and refused to give it up after World War II. A UN resolution in 1966 ending the mandate was challenged by South Africa in the 1970s and '80s. Through long negotiations involving many factions and interests, Namibia achieved independence in 1990.

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▪ 2009

824,116 sq km (318,193 sq mi)
(2008 est.): 2,089,000
Chief of state and head of government:
President Hifikepunye Pohamba, assisted by Prime Minister Nahas Angula

      The Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), a new party that had been launched in Namibia in November 2007 by Hidipo Hamutenya, previously a leading figure in the ruling South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), did not do well in a constituency by- election held in early 2008; the RDP accused SWAPO of having rigged the election. Tensions increased between the two parties, with each accusing the other of pandering to ethnic loyalties. In May an RDP rally in the township of Katutura, in Windhoek, was called off in the face of SWAPO threats.

      Though SWAPO founder Sam Nujoma had bowed out as president of the party in December 2007 (following SWAPO's fourth congress, held in November), as “father of the nation” he retained much influence. In the cabinet reshuffle in April 2008, the most significant aspect was the return to government, after a six-year absence, of Hage Geingob, the deputy president of SWAPO and former prime minister, who became minister of trade and industry. Though the next presidential and parliamentary election was not due until late 2009, there was much jockeying between factions in SWAPO, with some hoping that Geingob would succeed Pres. Hifikepunye Pohamba. Meanwhile, the treason trial continued in the High Court in Windhoek for those who in 1999 had taken up arms for the secession of the Caprivi. A strike at TransNamib crippled road and rail transport before the Labour Court ordered the striking workers to return to work. In other news, in April a 16th-century Portuguese trading ship that had lain undisturbed for hundreds of years on Namibia's “Skeleton Coast” was unearthed in mining operations.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2008

824,116 sq km (318,193 sq mi)
(2007 est.): 2,074,000
Chief of state and head of government:
President Hifikepunye Pohamba, assisted by Prime Minister Nahas Angula

      There was intense speculation in Namibia for much of 2007 as to whether Sam Nujoma, the founding president of the ruling South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), would stand again as party president when SWAPO held its Congress (initially planned for August but postponed until November). One faction in SWAPO wanted Nujoma to cease being president of the party and to let Hifikepunye Pohamba serve as president both of the country and of the party. Nujoma, however, who was officially recognized as “father of the country,” had powerful backers. Some thought that the call by the maverick head of the country's National Society for Human Rights for Nujoma to be brought before the International Criminal Court on charges relating to the atrocities committed by SWAPO during the liberation war, a call Pohamba dismissed as frivolous, might backfire and increase Nujoma's popularity. There was even speculation that if Nujoma remained party president, he could run again for president of the country in 2009, on the grounds that the two- term limitation in the constitution meant two successive terms.

      The main Caprivi high treason trial finally ended with lengthy sentences for the accused (10 men were sentenced to a combined total of 314 years of imprisonment). Though Namibia's position on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index improved slightly, numerous cases of corruption came to light during the year. By September six senior police officers were facing charges or were under investigation for alleged corruption. Namibia's international standing also suffered owing to its continued support for the regime of Pres. Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and its invitation to Mugabe to make a state visit. The government was, however, able to persuade the De Beers diamond-mining company to sell it a larger share of its sea-floor mining and to agree to establish a Namibia Diamond Trading Company as a joint venture to sell some of Namibia's diamonds to local cutting and polishing companies. As a result of the increase in the price of uranium oxide, the Rossing uranium mine announced plans for large-scale expansion.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2007

824,116 sq km (318,193 sq mi)
(2006 est.): 1,959,000
Chief of state and head of government:
President Hifikepunye Pohamba, assisted by Prime Minister Nahas Angula

      In 2006 the controversies of the past were still alive in Namibia. In November 2005, as the parliament decided to give former president Sam Nujoma the title “father of the nation,” mass graves were discovered in northern Namibia. It soon became clear that they were the remains of South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) fighters killed by South African forces in 1989. Nujoma had to defend himself from charges that he had been responsible for the troops' entering the territory. Further, it was said that at a public rally he issued death threats against war veterans who were demanding compensation from the government, and in September it was revealed that he was suing The Namibian, the country's main newspaper, for N$5 million (about U.S.$658,000) because, he claimed, the newspaper had implied that he was corrupt because he held shares in the company with which the Social Security Commission had made a fraudulent investment. Despite much talk of corruption, it was announced in August that Namibia would receive funding from the new U.S. development aid program, the Millennium Challenge Account. Meanwhile, the treason trial of members of a Caprivi secessionist group continued. Though they faced the death penalty, they dispensed with their lawyers and remained defiant, insisting they were Caprivians, not Namibians. In another case the government was taken to court by a farmer who claimed that she had not been paid enough when her land was expropriated. After the supply of electricity from South Africa was jeopardized in early 2006, Namibia continued to develop the Kudu offshore gas field and decided to build the Epupa hydroelectric scheme on the Kunene River. There was even talk of Namibia's using nuclear power from its abundant uranium deposits as a potential energy source.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2006

825,118 sq km (318,580 sq mi)
(2005 est.): 2,031,000
Chief of state and head of government:
Presidents Sam Nujoma and, from March 21, Hifikepunye Pohamba, assisted by Prime Ministers Theo-Ben Gurirab and, from March 21, Nahas Angula

 On March 21, 2005, the 15th anniversary of Namibia's independence, Pres. Sam Nujoma, after three terms in office, handed over power to his handpicked successor, Hifikepunye Pohamba—>. (See Biographies.) Nujoma remained president of the South West African People's Organization (SWAPO), which he helped found in 1960 and which continued to enjoy a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly. The other, mostly small parties in Namibia were unable to put up any effective opposition to the government.

      Pohamba appointed former minister of education Nahas Angula his new prime minister, and initially the change of leadership seemed to herald little change in policy. It was expected, however, that the program of land reform would be stepped up. Between the program's launch in 1996 and 2005, the government had bought 146 commercial farms covering more than 900,000 ha (1 ha = about 2.5 ac), but critics pointed out that posttransfer support was necessary if the reform was to be a success. The government said that it intended to acquire 15 million ha by 2020 to resettle 240,000 people on its waiting list.

      In the 2005 UN Human Development Report, Namibia moved up only slightly from 126th of 177 countries to 125th place. An estimated 40% of the population lived below the poverty line, and about 230,000 Namibians were HIV-positive; of those only 17,000 had received antiretroviral medication. The UN granted Namibia $44.7 million to fight against HIV/AIDS, to help deal with food insecurity, and to improve the delivery of social services.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2005

825,118 sq km (318,580 sq mi)
(2004 est.): 1,954,000
Chief of state and head of government:
President Sam Nujoma, assisted by Prime Minister Theo-Ben Gurirab

      Until the South West African People's Organization (SWAPO) held an extraordinary congress in May 2004, there was intense competition over the successor to Sam Nujoma as president of Namibia. One of the leading contenders, Hidipo Hamutenya, was dismissed by Nujoma from his government on the eve of the congress. After Nujoma made clear that he favoured Hifikepunye Pohamba as his successor, the congress ratified the decision, and few were surprised that Pohamba won the election held in mid-November. Nujoma, who was voted a very generous retirement package by the parliament, was to remain SWAPO president after he stepped down as president of the country in March 2005.

      The issue of land redistribution continued to arouse much controversy. The government now claimed that some white farmers were unwilling to sell their land and began to use its powers to expropriate farms. An evaluation of commercial farmland was conducted, and on this basis a land tax was to be imposed to help fund the state's acquisition of agricultural land for resettling the estimated quarter of a million people who wanted such land. It remained unclear, however, how resettlement would work in a country as arid as Namibia.

      Some Herero people placed hope in the legal action they had brought against the German government. They sought recompense for the genocide carried out by the Germans against them after the Herero uprising of 1904. A German minister who attended the centenary commemoration of the genocide in August apologized for what had happened, but both the German and Namibian governments remained firmly opposed to the payment of reparations.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2004

825,118 sq km (318,580 sq mi)
(2003 est.): 1,927,000
Chief of state and head of government:
President Sam Nujoma, assisted by Prime Minister Theo-Ben Gurirab

      In February 2003 Pres. Sam Nujoma again declared that he would not stand for a fourth five-year term in office. The man most likely to succeed him was Minister for Foreign Affairs Hidipo Hamutenya, who could count on the backing of the Kwanyama, the largest subgroup of the majority Ovambo-speaking people. The other main contenders were Prime Minister Theo-Ben Gurirab, a Damara, and Hifikepunye Pohamba, the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) vice president. Hage Geingob, ousted as prime minister in 2002, was unable to find a role for himself in Namibia and left to become executive secretary of the Global Coalition for Africa in Washington, D.C.

      The issue of land reform and redistribution, raised in 2002, was reopened when the Namibian newspaper announced that a government list compiled in April 2003 contained the names of 300 commercial farms owned by non-Namibians, farms that were earmarked for resettling landless people. Though some landowners feared a Zimbabwean-style landgrab, the government said that it remained committed to working within the constitution and that there were no immediate plans for land seizures. Critics of the SWAPO government continued to complain of a lack of transparency and accountability. The president and a number of his ministers attacked the media, especially the Namibian newspaper, from time to time. The construction of a vast and very costly new statehouse went ahead in Windhoek. An estimated 260,000 Namibians were living with HIV/AIDS, and almost 400,000 cases of malaria were reported annually.

      With peace restored to Angola, unrest on Namibia's northern border ceased, and the Angolan refugees in Namibia began to be repatriated. Despite the suspension of U.S. military aid, Namibia rejected a U.S. request that American soldiers be given blanket immunity from prosecution in the International Criminal Court.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2003

825,118 sq km (318,580 sq mi)
(2002 est.): 1,837,000
Chief of state and head of government:
President Sam Nujoma, assisted by Prime Ministers Hage Geingob and, from August 28, Theo-Ben Gurirab

      The November 2001 announcement by the South West Africa People's Organization that Sam Nujoma, SWAPO's president since the formation of the party, would not seek another term as president of the country heightened speculation in 2002 regarding the identity of his successor after his term ended in March 2005. In August 2002, after denouncing “factions” within SWAPO, Nujoma unexpectedly reshuffled his cabinet, presumably with his succession in mind. He replaced Hage Geingob, prime minister since independence, with another Damara speaker, long-term Foreign Minister Theo-Ben Gurirab. Nujoma's closest Ovambo colleagues, Hidipo Hamutenya and Hifikepunye Pohamba, became foreign minister and SWAPO vice president, respectively. Nujoma himself took charge of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and soon insisted that the Namibian Broadcasting Corp. replace foreign television programs with ones containing local content. His increasingly authoritarian style was coupled with a strong defense of Pres. Robert Mugabe's land policies in Zimbabwe. As in Zimbabwe, the Namibian government employed North Koreans to build the expensive Heroes' Acre—a memorial burial place outside Windhoek—and a large new presidential complex.

      In August the SWAPO Congress determined that 192 farms belonging to foreign absentee landlords should be expropriated within the framework of the law and directed the government to increase the annual budget for land resettlement from about $1.9 million to about $9.5 million. Though whites made up less than 5% of the population, they owned more than 70% of the 360,000 sq km (139,000 sq mi) of farmland.

      The Caprivi region was affected by drought, but peace returned to the north, and many of those exiled in Botswana returned. Despite the peace in Angola, 78 alleged National Union for the Total Independence of Angola supporters continued to be held at Dordabis without trial, and efforts to secure their release from detention failed.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2002

825,118 sq km (318,580 sq mi)
(2001 est.): 1,798,000
Chief of state and head of government:
President Sam Nujoma, assisted by Prime Minister Hage Geingob

      The security situation in northeastern Namibia remained tense in 2001 in the aftermath of Angolan attacks from Namibian soil on National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) rebels and the failed secessionist attempt in the Caprivi Strip. Tourism, one of the country's main foreign-currency earners, was badly affected. In mid-October a dusk-to-dawn curfew was reimposed along a stretch of the border with Angola.

      At the first cabinet meeting of the year, Pres. Sam Nujoma criticized unnecessary expenditure by top officials and instructed them to give up their Mercedes-Benz vehicles and limit their overseas trips. By August most of the Namibian troops in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had been withdrawn. The president and some of his ministers were criticized for using strong words against human rights organizations, foreigners, and homosexuals. In March President Nujoma announced that the police had orders to imprison and deport homosexuals. Some suggested that he was frustrated by the increase in AIDS deaths; at least one in five Namibian adults was infected with HIV.

      Though legislation was introduced to establish an anticorruption commission with wide powers to investigate and uncover corruption in public and private bodies, the president was specifically excluded from its provisions. After sending out contradictory signals about his intention to stand for a fourth term in 2004, President Nujoma finally bowed to pressure and announced in late 2001 that he would not seek another term of office.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2001

825,118 sq km (318,580 sq mi)
(2000 est.): 1,771,000
Chief of state and head of government:
President Sam Nujoma, assisted by Prime Minister Hage Geingob

      Having been reelected with 77% of the vote in December 1999, Pres. Sam Nujoma in 2000 began his third term of office, made possible by an amendment to the constitution. The newly established Congress of Democrats, led by Ben Ulenga, won enough seats in the election for the National Assembly to take over from the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance as the main opposition party, and its members livened up proceedings in the new legislature. They criticized both Namibia's continuing military involvement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, involvement that had led both Germany and Finland to scale down aid to Namibia, and the authoritarian practices of the government. There was an outcry when the minister of home affairs said that gay people should be “eliminated.”

      Instability continued in the north of the country throughout much of the year. Nujoma's decision in late 1999 to allow the Angolan armed forces to operate from Namibian soil meant that Namibia became embroiled in the Angolan civil war. Angolan rebels carried out numerous attacks in the Kavango region of Namibia, and tourism in the north, already hard hit by the Caprivi secession conflict of late 1999, virtually dried up. A number of alleged Angolan rebels were detained without trial south of Windhoek.

      Reacting to the Zimbabwe land crisis of early 2000, the Namibian parliament approved legislation designed to speed up land redistribution. President Nujoma continued to support his controversial plan for a dam and hydroelectric project on the Kunene River despite new evidence that the Kudu gas field in the south would be a more valuable source of power.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2000

825,118 sq km (318,580 sq mi)
(1999 est.): 1,648,000
Chief of state and head of government:
President Sam Nujoma, assisted by Prime Minister Hage Geingob

      In presidential and National Assembly elections held in December 1999, incumbent Pres. Sam Nujoma and his South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) won large majorities of the votes. Nujoma gained 77% of the presidential poll, with his nearest rival, Ben Ulenga of the newly formed Congress of Democrats (CoD), winning only 11%. In the voting for the National Assembly, SWAPO won 55 of the 72 seats and 76% of the vote. The CoD, established in March, gained 2,465 more votes than the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance and thus became the official opposition party.

      A former leading figure in SWAPO, Ulenga had resigned in protest against the party's decision to support a third term for Nujoma, which meant amending the constitution, and because of Nujoma's decision to send Namibian troops to support Pres. Laurent Kabila in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As the number of Namibians killed in that country increased and the government released little information about what its troops were doing, there was much disquiet in Namibia about the country's role there.

      In August 1999 a group of separatist rebels, members of the Caprivi Liberation Front, attacked the broadcasting station at Katima Mulilo, the largest town in the Caprivi Strip. Earlier in the year more than 2,000 separatists had crossed into Botswana to escape what they claimed was increasing repression at home. Following the attack on Katima Mulilo, in which 13 people died, a state of emergency was imposed in Caprivi. The government subsequently had to acknowledge that its security forces were guilty of a number of human rights violations during the state of emergency. Within months of the attack, the government announced new plans to boost the development of Caprivi by investing new money in its game reserves, a move clearly designed to help meet the challenge the separatists posed.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 1999

      Area: 825,118 sq km (318,580 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 1,622,000

      Capital: Windhoek

      Chief of state and head of government: President Sam Nujoma, assisted by Prime Minister Hage Geingob

      The ruling South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) in August 1998 gave its backing to a third term for Pres. Sam Nujoma, even though this required amending the constitution. Though many opposed a third term, SWAPO clearly did not want a contest between contenders for the post. Nujoma then showed his hand by agreeing to send Namibian troops to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo [Kinshasa]). Fighting alongside Angolan forces, the Namibians helped the regime of Laurent Kabila survive against rebel attacks. In protest against SWAPO's support for a third term and the sending of troops to the Congo (Kinshasa), the Namibian ambassador in London, Ben Ulenga, resigned in late August but appeared not to have a clear strategy to challenge those in power.

      A strongly authoritarian culture continued to undermine Namibia's democratic pretensions. Annoyed at opposition to the building of the proposed dam and hydroelectric project at Epupa on the Kunene River and also at criticism of his decision to send troops to the Congo, Nujoma chose, in a number of speeches, to single out whites and threaten them with possible expulsion. The country's dispute with Botswana over two islands on their joint border remained unresolved, and Namibia's declared intention to divert water from the Kavango River caused further tension, for Botswana feared its Okavango Delta would become a desert.

      Namibia's currency, tied to the South African rand, fell by 30% in the worldwide financial crisis that began in May. Economic problems elsewhere reduced demand for Namibian minerals. One of the country's largest mines, at Tsumeb, was forced to close, with a loss of thousands of jobs.


▪ 1998

      Area: 825,118 sq km (318,580 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 1,727,000

      Capital: Windhoek

      Chief of state: President Sam Nujoma

      Head of government: Prime Minister Hage Geingob

      At the 1997 congress of the ruling South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), held on May 28-June 1 in Windhoek, Pres. Sam Nujoma, running unopposed, won a third term as party president and was recommended for a third term as president of Namibia. The deliberations of the congress were held behind closed doors, and critics of SWAPO continued to accuse the party of authoritarian practices. Hifikepunye Pohamba, the minister of fisheries and marine resources, was elected secretary-general of SWAPO to replace Netumbo Ndaitwah.

      The government refused to become involved in the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission process and its continuing failure to hold an inquiry in Namibia into human rights violations committed during the decades-long guerrilla war that preceded Namibian independence in 1990. Namibia's refusal to grant the request remained a source of tension between the two countries. The government was also accused by health organizations of not doing enough to halt the spread of AIDS. By 1997 the number of Namibians infected with HIV had reached 150,000.

      A key event of 1997 was the breaking of a devastating drought; the best rains in many decades fell in Namibia in February. The fishing industry continued in the doldrums as the catch remained small. Some mines scaled down operations, though production at the giant Rossing uranium mine slowly increased. Many former members of the SWAPO army remained jobless, and some participated in a series of protests against unemployment, which the government largely ignored, just as it ignored protests against its plan to build a giant hydroelectric plant at Epupa on the Kunene River in the north of the country. The seminomadic Himba people who lived in the vicinity of the proposed dam would have to be relocated.

      This article updates Namibia, history of (Namibia).

▪ 1997

      A republic and member of the Commonwealth, Namibia is situated in southern Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean. Area: 825,118 sq km (318,580 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 1,709,000. Cap.: Windhoek. Monetary unit: Namibian dollar, at par with the South African rand (also legal currency), with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of Nam$4.54 to U.S. $1 (Nam$7.16 = £ 1 sterling). President in 1996, Sam Nujoma; prime minister, Hage Geingob.

      In March 1996 Pres. Sam Nujoma appeared on television to denounce a newly released book detailing the detention and torture of people by the South West Africa People's Organization during the 1980s as "false history" and to accuse those who were promoting it of threatening national reconciliation. He and the governing party were in turn accused of failing to face up to, and apologize for, what had happened. The government then published a listing of those who had died for liberation, including detainees.

      In mid-l996 an agreement was finally reached with South Africa on how to cancel Namibia's preindependence debt. This followed President Nujoma's first state visit to South Africa, during which he pleaded for South African investment in his country.

      The government was criticized for having agreed to large increases in pay for politicians and top civil servants, especially when a severe drought was showing no sign of ending. The country's terms of trade continued to deteriorate, and in order to diversify the economy and create jobs for the unemployed, the government pressed ahead with its Export Processing Zone strategy. Legislation was passed to provide that there could be no strikes at EPZ factories for five years. (CHRISTOPHER SAUNDERS)

      This article updates Namibia, history of (Namibia).

▪ 1996

      A republic and member of the Commonwealth, Namibia is in southern Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean. Area: 825,118 sq km (318,580 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 1,651,000. Cap.: Windhoek. Monetary unit: Namibian dollar, at par with the South African rand (also legal currency), with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of Nam$3.66 to U.S. $1 (Nam$5.79 = £1 sterling). President in 1995, Sam Nujoma; prime minister, Hage Geingob.

      In the wake of his sweeping victory in the December 1994 elections, Pres. Sam Nujoma promised that any amendments to the constitution would be submitted to a referendum. In May dissidents within his South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) left to form a new party called SWAPO for Justice. Misheke Muyongo, leader of the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance, labeled Namibia an "ethnic democracy" because, he said, SWAPO's support came overwhelmingly from the Ovambo.

      The economy, which grew by about 5% in 1994, was expected to grow by 3% in 1995 even though foreign investors had shown little interest in the country. About 38% of the workforce was unemployed, and the rate of inflation approached 11%. When a severe drought cut agricultural harvests in half, the government appealed for Nam$100 million in aid. The request was ignored because earlier aid had been misused.

      The government authorized an Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in the port of Walvis Bay, aimed at creating 10,000 jobs over a period of five years. The trade unions and the Namibian Council of Churches objected to the proposed suspension of the 1992 Labour Act in the EPZ. A compromise kept the act in place but prohibited strikes and lockouts.

      In December 1994 a new diamond-mining company, Namdeb, was established. De Beers, an equal partner with the government, acquired a 25-year right to mine diamonds on payment of 4% of income. The feasibility of opening a large new copper mine at Haib was studied, as was also the construction, with Scandinavian assistance, of a hydroelectric dam on the Kunene River. Construction of the trans-Caprivi Highway linking Namibia to Zambia and Zimbabwe was expected to be completed at the end of 1996.

      The inquest into the 1989 assassination of SWAPO activist Anton Lubowski by a South African "hit squad" was reopened. Four agents of the South African Civil Cooperation Bureau had been subpoenaed to testify. Environmentalists continued to protest Namibia's seal culling, even though the quotas had been cut from preceding years. In May Namibia became the first African nation to act as host of the Miss Universe contest. (MARTIN LEGASSICK)

      This updates the article Namibia, history of (Namibia).

▪ 1995

      A republic and member of the Commonwealth, Namibia is in southern Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean. Area: 825,118 sq km (318,580 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 1,596,000. Cap.: Windhoek. Monetary unit: Namibian dollar, at par with the commercial rate of the South African rand (also legal currency), with (Oct. 7, 1994) a rate of Nam$3.57 to U.S. $1 (Nam$5.68 = £ 1 sterling). President in 1994, Sam Nujoma; prime minister, Hage Geingob.

      In December 1994 Namibia held its first national elections since becoming independent in 1990. As expected, Sam Nujoma was reelected president, defeating his only challenger, Mishake Muyongo of the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance, by a margin of 3-1. His popularity stemmed from his leadership of the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) during the 23-year-old struggle to free the territory from South African domination. SWAPO also swept to victory in the parliamentary elections, winning more than 70% of the popular vote. Its huge majority meant it would have the decisive voice in rewriting the constitution.

      Walvis Bay was handed over by South Africa to Namibia at midnight on February 28, and plans were set in motion to turn the area (1,124 sq km [434 sq mi]) into a free-trade zone. In June an inquest was completed and an announcement made that SWAPO advocate Anton Lubowski had been assassinated in 1989 by an Irish mercenary, Donald Acheson, at the behest of the South African Defense Force's Civil Cooperation Bureau. Four of Namibia's top white police officers, implicated in the assassination, were suspended from duty.

      South African Pres. Nelson Mandela paid a visit to Namibia in August and announced the possible cancellation of all or part of the country's debt of Nam$1,330,000,000 to South Africa. In September Namibia introduced a Land Reform Bill forbidding foreign nationals to own rural freehold land without special permission and also giving the government powers of compulsory purchase and expropriation over such land. In discussion of the bill it was alleged that 75% of the land suitable for farming was controlled by less than 1% of the population. Allegations of corruption by government ministers were made.

      Crop production improved dramatically, leading to a reduction of food aid. The growth in gross domestic product in 1993 was about 2%. The budget for 1994-95 anticipated spending of Nam$3,010,000,000, 23.8% on education and 17.1% on health. Inflation averaged 8.5% in 1993, down from 17.7% in 1992. (MARTIN LEGASSICK)

      This updates the article Namibia, history of (Namibia).

▪ 1994

      A republic and member of the Commonwealth, Namibia is in southern Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean; it surrounds the 1,124-sq km jointly administered (with South Africa) area of Walvis Bay. Area: 823,994 sq km (318,146 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 1,537,000. Cap.: Windhoek. Monetary unit: Namibian dollar, at par with the South African rand (also legal currency), with (Oct. 4, 1993) a rate of Nam$3.45 to U.S. $1 (Nam$5.22 = £ 1 sterling). President in 1993, Sam Nujoma; prime minister, Hage Geingob.

      In a four-day poll with an 80% turnout in December 1992, the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) convincingly won regional and local elections. In the course of 1993 the leader of the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), Dirk Mudge, announced his retirement, and the president of the South West African National Union, Vekuii Rukoro, resigned and was replaced by Hitjevi Veii. On June 6, Pres. Sam Nujoma was the first tropical African head of state to be received by U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton.

      During the year Namibia became a member of the Preferential Trade Area for East and Southern Africa. In September the country introduced its own currency, the Namibian dollar. Namibia continued to experience the effects of the severe drought and harvest failure of 1992 and was the recipient of World Food Program aid. The foreign aid component of the budget was projected at R 91 million. In July farmers with 100 trucks staged a demonstration in Windhoek against new taxes. In September generous tax incentives for manufacturers were announced.

      A Labour Advisory Council with representation from government, business, and labour was established, but the National Union of Namibian Workers complained that it was underrepresented on the body. During the year a farmworkers union was launched. Consolidated Diamond Mines laid off 1,000 workers with the agreement of the Mineworkers Union of Namibia and asked the government to take up shareholding. The government took over a fish factory at a low cost to save 580 jobs.

      A presidential commission investigated allegations that a tribal authority had allocated farms to top civil servants and a deputy minister. In July police used tear gas to break up a clash allegedly between two rival tribal groups in Katima Mulilo in Caprivi. Joint Namibian-South African administration of Walvis Bay was initiated in January, and in August the South African multiparty negotiating forum resolved that Walvis Bay should be handed over to Namibia beginning March 1, 1994. (MARTIN LEGASSICK)

      This updates the article Namibia, history of (Namibia).

* * *

officially  Republic of Namibia , also called (internationally until 1968)  South West Africa , Afrikaans  Namibië , or  Suidwesafrica 
Namibia, flag of country located on the southwestern coast of Africa. It is bordered by Angola to the north, Zambia to the northeast, Botswana to the east, South Africa to the southeast and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It ranges from arid in the north to desert on the coast and in the east. The landscape is spectacular, but the desert, mountains, canyons, and savannas are perhaps better to see than to occupy.

      The only permanent rivers are the Kunene (Cunene (Cunene River)), the Okavango (Cubango (Okavango River)), the Mashi (Kwando), and the Zambezi on the northern border and the Orange on the southern. Only the northern frontier—and not all of it—is readily passable. The coastal Namib desert, the treacherous reefs and shoals of the coast (half aptly named the “Skeleton Coast”), the near deserts along the Orange River, and the dry Kalahari region to the east explain the late conquest of Namibia and form a geographic frame around the country.

      Roughly rectangular (600 by 300 to 450 miles [965 by 480 to 725 kilometres]), Namibia has a long, narrow eastern extension (the Caprivi Strip) based on a German misconception that access to the Zambezi—despite the Victoria Falls—meant access to the Indian Ocean.

      After 106 years of German and South African rule, Namibia became independent on March 21, 1990, under a democratic multiparty constitution. The capital of the country is Windhoek.

The land


       Namibia is divided from west to east into three main topographic zones: the coastal Namib desert, the Central Plateau, and the Kalahari. The Namib is partly rocky and partly (in the central stretch) dunes. While having complex flora and fauna, it is a fragile and sparsely covered environment unsuitable for pastoral or agricultural activities. Diamonds (probably washed down from the Basotho highlands by the Orange River) and uranium are found at Oranjemund in the south and Arandis in the centre. The Namib, 50 to 80 miles wide over most of its length, is constricted in the north where the Kaokoveld, the western mountain scarp of the Central Plateau, abuts on the sea.

      The Central Plateau, which varies in altitude from 3,200 to 6,500 feet (975 to 1,980 metres), is the core of the agricultural life of Namibia. In the north it abuts on the Kunene and Okavango river valleys and in the south on the Orange. Largely savanna and scrub, it is somewhat more wooded in parts of the north and is broken throughout by hills, mountains, ravines (including the massive Fish River Canyon), and salt pans (notably the Etosha Pan). Mount Brand (8,445 feet [2,574 metres]), Namibia's highest peak, is located along the plateau's western escarpment.

      In the east, Namibia slopes gradually downward, and the savanna merges into the Kalahari. In the north, hardpan and rock beneath the sand, in addition to more abundant river water and rainfall, make both herding and cultivation possible.

Drainage and soils
      As noted, only the border rivers are permanent. The Swakop and Kuiseb rivers rise on the plateau, descend the western escarpment, and die out in the Namib (except in rare flood years, when they reach the sea at Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, respectively). The Fish (Vis (Fish River)) River rises in the Central Plateau and (seasonally) flows south to the Orange. Various lesser rivers rise on the plateau and die out downstream in the Namib or Kalahari desert.

      Namibia's soils range from barren sand and rock to low-quality sand-dominated to relatively fertile soils. The best soils are in the north, in the Otavi Mountains, in parts of the central and southern portions of the plateau, and in the Caprivi Strip. Water—not soil fertility—is the primary constraint on agriculture. Both in the densely populated Ovambo region in the north and in the commercial farming areas, overuse of land has reduced tree and bush cover, compacted soils, led to serious erosion, and lowered the water table by as much as 100 feet in the 20th century.

      Namibia is located on the southern margin of the tropics and has distinct seasons. The coast is cooled by the Benguela Current (which carries with it the country's rich and recovering fish stocks) and averages less than 2 inches (50 millimetres) of rainfall annually. The Central Plateau and the Kalahari have wide diurnal temperature ranges, more than 50° F (30° C) on summer days and less than 20° F (10° C) in winter. In Windhoek, on the plateau, the average temperature for December is 75° F (24° C), and the average maximum 88° F (31° C). In July these averages are 55° F (13° C) and 68° F (20° C), respectively. Humidity is normally low, and rainfall increases from about 10 inches (250 millimetres) on the southern and western parts of the plateau to about 20 inches in the north-central part and more than 24 inches on the Caprivi Strip and Otavi Mountains. However, rainfall is highly variable, and multiyear droughts are common. In the north and adjacent to mountains, groundwater is as important as—but only slightly less variable than—rainfall. Kalahari rainfall—in its Namibian portion—is not radically different from that of the plateau, but, except in the northern Karstveld and isolated artesian areas, groundwater is less available.

Plant and animal life
      Both the Namib and Kalahari deserts are characterized by exotic, fragile desert plants. The mountains are sparsely wooded, and the plateau is predominantly scrub bush and grass. Trees are much more frequent in the north. Varieties of aloe are common throughout the plateau and the less sandy portions of the Kalahari.

      Namibia is richly endowed with game, albeit poaching has seriously diminished it in parts of the north. Throughout the ranching zone, game (notably antelope and giraffes) coexists with cattle and sheep. The Etosha Pan in the north is a major game area and tourist attraction.

Settlement patterns
      Less than 1 percent of the country is estimated to be arable, though almost two-thirds is suitable for pastoralism. Wasteland (mountain and desert) and bush or wooded savanna, plus a small forest zone, constitute the remainder.

      About half of the entire population live in the far north, roughly 15 percent in the commercial ranching areas north and south of Windhoek, 10 percent in central and southern ex-black homelands, more than 10 percent in Greater Windhoek, and the remainder in coastal towns and inland mining towns. More than one-fourth of the total population live in urban areas. Namibia's population is young—about half are 16 years of age or younger—and is growing at a relatively modest rate compared with those of other African countries.

The people

Ethnic and linguistic composition
      About 85 percent of Namibians (Namibia) are black, 5 percent of European ancestry, and 10 percent, in South African terminology, Coloured (Cape Coloured, Nama, and Rehobother (Baster)). Of the black majority, about two-thirds are Ovambo (Ambo), with the Kavango, the Herero, the Damara, and the Caprivian peoples following in population size. Other ethnic groups have much smaller populations. Afrikaners (Boer) and Germans constitute two-thirds and one-fifth of the European population, respectively. Most ethnic Europeans are Namibian citizens, though some have retained South African citizenship.

      English is the national language, though it is the home language of only about 3 percent of the population. Ovambo languages are spoken by more than 80 percent of the population, followed by Nama-Damara with about 6 percent. Kavango and Caprivian languages and Herero, as well as Afrikaans, constitute about 4 percent of home languages. Many Namibians speak two or more indigenous languages and at least a little of two of the three European languages (English, Afrikaans, German) in common use.

      Some 80 to 90 percent of the population at least formally adheres to a Christian confession. The largest denominations are two Lutheran churches, which together encompass about one-half the total population. Roman Catholics comprise another one-fifth of the population, while the Dutch Reformed and Anglican denominations make up about 5 percent each. There are also smaller groups belonging to the African Methodist Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches.

      Namibia's annual rate of population growth is approximately 3 percent. The average life expectancy is about 55 years. Infant mortality remains a serious problem, but the overall rate is about average for countries in southern Africa and is below that of most countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Like almost all other human welfare indicators, the black-white disparity in demographics is very high—a legacy, in large part, of the South African occupation regime's practice of apartheid. Internal migration is primarily from rural to urban areas, a result of rural poverty, war dislocation, and removal of residence restrictions. Many exiles have returned to the country since independence, while some 10,000 Europeans and almost as many black South African hired troops and auxiliaries have departed.

The economy
      Nominally Namibia is a lower-middle-income economy with a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) that is significantly above average for countries in sub-Saharan Africa. But that summary is misleading. Only one-quarter of all Namibians and only one-sixth of black Namibians have adequate incomes; up to two-thirds live in abject poverty with limited access to public services. Economic growth remains problematic because of a shrinking productive sector, lack of capital stock, and severe world market problems for base metals and uranium oxide. Furthermore, the prudent fiscal policy instituted by the government after independence means that, unless foreign assistance commitments rapidly turn into large actual inflows and private external investment in mining, manufacturing, and fishing emerges, the one segment of the GDP that grew rapidly in the 1980s will decline. Superimposed on these factors are near-stagnant wage employment and the collapse of the local economy that arose owing to the presence of South African troops and, later, UNTAG units in the northern towns.

Agriculture and fishing
      Commercial farming (undertaken predominantly by white settlers) is concentrated on the production of Karakul sheep and beef for export. It has been damaged by drought and drops in world prices, but in the early 1990s karakul prices, a commitment by the European Community (EC) to purchase beef, and relatively good weather improved short-term prospects. Crop raising is a distinctly secondary activity on commercial farms, but it is almost coequal with livestock production on small African family farms (many of which operate at sub-subsistence level and are headed by women) in the north. Rural development efforts aimed at small farmers and a 1991 land conference to explore land policy point to agricultural improvements in favour of black (and female) farmers, but major results are expected only in the medium term. The 11 percent of GDP produced by the agricultural sector contrasts sharply with the 35 percent of Namibians dependent on it for employment.

      Fishing is limited by depleted stocks. Better conservation controls and a 200-mile exclusive economic zone have improved its outlook. By 1990 it accounted for more than 3 percent of the GDP and could triple in real terms by the year 2000.

       mining is central to the economy: it accounts for just under 30 percent of the GDP, though less than 10 percent of the labour force is employed in this sector. Diamonds, uranium oxide, and base metals dominate mining; however, gold and natural gas are increasingly significant, and oil production (offshore and in the Etosha basin) is potentially so. Namibia supplies about 30 percent of the world diamond output, but the value of this contribution varies with world prices. Uranium production is also important, but the key Tsumeb/Matchless (Tsumeb) mine complex near Windhoek faces problems in reaching new ore bodies, and new mines are needed to avert loss of output in the medium term. Other important minerals include tin, lithium, lead, cadmium, zinc, copper, tungsten, and silver. While the offshore Kudo natural gas field is proven, development will be costly. The appropriate uses appear to be domestic ammonia-urea production or sale to South Africa.

      Manufacturing produces about 5 percent of the GDP. It is dominated by meat and fish processing, brewing, and light engineering work (especially metal fabrication). Strategic growth areas include light engineering, building materials, and salt- and natural-gas-based chemical processing, plus import substitution and consumer goods.

      Tourism began to expand in the 1990s, and, given the beauty and diversity of the landscape—especially on the coast, at Etosha, and in the Fish River Canyon—its development may be significant.

Finance and trade
      Two commercial banks, First National Bank of Southern Africa and Standard Bank Namibia (subsidiaries of South African parent companies), account for most banking business. Reorganization of land, housing, and development banks was begun after independence. The Central Bank of Namibia launched an independent currency, the Namibian dollar, to replace the South African rand in the mid-1990s.

      Exports constitute up to 90 percent of the goods produced. Diamonds; uranium oxide; meats, furs, and other animal products; base metals; fish; and gold are shipped to the United States, South Africa, Japan, and western Europe. Imports originate predominantly in South Africa as a result of long-standing business links, proximity, and, until 1992, Namibia's membership in the Southern African Customs Union. Major imports include food, consumer goods, fuel, and capital goods.

      Transportation is dominated by Trans-Namib, a public-sector rail, road, and airline operator. Transport infrastructure is reasonably good, with main routes through the Caprivi Strip (and thence to Zambia and Zimbabwe) and to Botswana being upgraded. Air Namibia flies to national and regional destinations and to Europe. There is an international airport at Windhoek. A handful of large road-transport companies compete with larger numbers of small haulers.

Administration and social conditions

      Under the constitution (constitutional law) of 1990, Namibia is a multiparty democracy. The constitution, which took effect at independence, is highly rights-conscious and aimed at achieving a durable separation of powers. Executive power is vested in the president, who is directly elected to a five-year term, and the cabinet, which consists of the prime minister and other ministers who are appointed by the president.

      Legislative power is vested in the bicameral Parliament. The National Assembly is constituted to initiate and pass legislation. It consists of 72 members who are directly elected to five-year terms under universal adult suffrage and 6 appointed members. The second house, the National Council, serves in an advisory capacity on legislative matters and comprises two representatives from each of Namibia's 13 administrative regions. National Council members are elected by Regional Councils and serve six-year terms.

      The judicial system comprises the Supreme Court, the High Court, and lower courts.

      Internationally, Namibia hastened to join regional organizations (e.g., the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (Southern African Development Community) and the Organization of African Unity, now the African Union) as well as global bodies (the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the EC Lomé Conventions, and the Commonwealth). Its relations with South Africa have been pragmatic and surprisingly noncontentious (on the South African side as well).

      The government offers seven years of primary education and five years of secondary education. Primary education is compulsory and may be completed between the ages 6 and 16. More than 80 percent of all children of age for primary education are enrolled in school—a figure higher than that in many African countries.

      With more than 80 percent of its adult population literate, Namibia has one of the highest rates of literacy in sub-Saharan Africa. Various informal adult education programs have been implemented to combat the remaining illiteracy. Higher education is provided by the University of Namibia and the Polytechnic of Namibia, both located in Windhoek, and four teacher-training colleges.

Health and welfare
      Most Namibians are poor—about half of the population falls below the poverty line—and nutritional standards are low. Undernutrition and malnutrition are problematic, especially among children. Formal wage employment engages less than half of the workforce, and unemployment is high. An unfortunate legacy of Namibia's colonial past is apparent in the income disparity between blacks and whites, whose average incomes are several times higher than those of black Namibians.

      Namibia has one of the best health care systems in Africa, as measured by both its population-to-doctor and its population-to-hospital-bed ratios. Emphasis is placed on primary and preventative health services, and the country's system of regional hospitals and mobile clinics has attempted to raise the level of services available in rural locations.

      The AIDS epidemic is a serious problem in Namibia. The country has one of the highest infection rates in the world: by 2000 one in five adults was infected, and the number of HIV/AIDS cases overwhelmed the government's health care system. To curb the spread of the disease, the government developed prevention and treatment strategies and in 2003 began offering free antiretroviral treatment.

      Women and children, being the most disadvantaged groups, have received special attention in social policy. In the case of women, ending legal and social discrimination and improving access to education, land, and employment are stated goals toward which some action has begun. The government has also sought to meet the child health, education, nutrition, and other goals adopted by the 1990 World Summit on Children.

Cultural life
      Namibian cultures are diverse. Just as the culture of the Afrikaners differs significantly from that of the German-speaking community and as both of those cultures differ from that of the more varied technical-assistance community, so do African and Creole cultures differ. The Rehobothers (Baster) closely resemble the rural Afrikaner culture of the mid-20th century, while the Nama have more in common with the other pastoral black communities, and the “Cape Coloured (Coloured)” have a distinct urban culture with both black and European elements. The northern black cultures—while distinctive as to language and forms of music and dance—formed out of a mixed farming context unlike that of the Damara and Herero. The San are a tragic case. Their culture was ruined by ranch serfdom and wartime exploitation as trackers, and efforts to rebuild from the fragments have been limited by lack of knowledge, resources, and space as well as by the paternalism of many of their self-appointed “guardians.”

      With the exception of the San, Namibian cultures appear to be alive and evolving, not least in the urban areas. However, rising unemployment may lead to the breakdown of neighbourhood and other social groupings and to the anomie and lawlessness that characterize the townships of many southern African cities, notably in both Zambia and South Africa. The black cultures are not well supported by formal institutions or the government, owing both to doubts as to what would enable rather than smother their development and to a lack of fiscal resources.

      A number of holidays and festivals are observed, most of which are religious or historic in significance, albeit not necessarily of specific current content. Sports are popular among both spectators and participants. A wide variety of sports are followed by the white communities, but the black communities concentrate on football (soccer).

      Radio and television broadcasting services are government-owned, as is one daily newspaper. All appear to have substantial intellectual and programmatic freedom. A fluctuating band of party, semiparty, and (in one case) independent newspapers exist and are not subject to censorship, but the survival of most is in doubt for economic reasons. They are supplemented by an array of religious, trade union, and other specialized papers that also have complete freedom of expression.

Reginald Herbold Green

      The history of Namibia is not well chronicled. Its isolated geographic position limited contact with the outside world until the 19th century. Explorer, missionary, trader, conqueror, and settler sources are neither comprehensive, notable for accuracy, nor unbiased. Professional historiography is a post-1960 development in the country, and the political events of the years since then have coloured most of the written history.

Independence before the conquest
      The earliest Namibians were San, nomadic peoples with a survival-oriented culture based on hunting and gathering. Their clans were small and rarely federated, and their military technology was so weak that, even before the arrival of the Europeans, they had been pushed back to the desert margins.

      The first conquerors in southern Namibia were the Nama. They had a larger clan system, with interclan alliances, and a pastoral economy. Closely linked (usually in a dependent role) were the Damara (Bergdama), a people from central Africa whose culture combined pastoralism, hunting, and copper smelting. In northeastern and central Namibia the Herero (a pastoral people from central Africa) built up interlocked clan systems eventually headed by a paramount chief. The unity of the Herero nation, however, was always subject to splintering. In the north the Ovambo (Ambo) people developed several kingdoms on both sides of the Kunene River. They were mixed farmers (largely because of a more hospitable environment for crops) and also smelted and worked copper. To the east the related Kavango peoples had a somewhat similar but weaker state system. On the margins of Namibia—i.e., the Caprivi Strip in the far east and on the margins of the Kalahari—the local peoples and groupings were spillovers from southern Zambia (Barotse) and Botswana (Tswana).

      Until the 1860s, European contact and penetration were slight. Diogo Cão and Bartolomeu Dias touched on the Namibian coast in 1486 and 1488 respectively, en route to and returning from the Cape of Good Hope, but there was virtually no contact until the 1670s. Afrikaner explorers after 1670 and Afrikaner traders and settlers about 1790 came to Namibia and eventually reached the southern boundaries of the Ovambo kingdoms, notably at the Etosha Pan. They—together with German missionaries, explorers of varied nationality, British traders, and Norwegian whalers—did not play a dominant role before 1860. Instead, they created the first avenues for trade (ivory and later cattle) and introduced firearms.

      The latter heightened the destructiveness of conflicts among the various clans and peoples. So did the arrival, after the first quarter of the 19th century, of the Oorlam-Nama from the Cape. Their military technology (which included horses, guns, and a small mobile commando organizational pattern) was modeled on that of the Afrikaners. They came to dominate the resident Nama (Red Nation) and Damara. In the middle of the 19th century, a kingdom ruled by the Oorlam but partly Herero and supported by the Red Nation and Damara was established near Windhoek by the Oorlam chief Jonker Afrikaner.

      Central Namibia was then an area of conflict between the southward-moving Herero and the northward-migrating Nama. In 1870 a peace treaty was signed with the Germans on the border of Herero country. Meanwhile, largely as a result of war pressures, Maherero had emerged as the Herero paramount chief. At this time a South African Creole (“Coloured”) community, the Rehoboth Basters (Baster), had immigrated to a territory south of Windhoek, where they served as a buffer between the Herero and the Germans. Like the Oorlam, they were Europeanized in military technology as well as civil society and state organization, which were copied from the Afrikaners.

The German conquest
      In the 1870s, British (British Empire) annexation of Namibia appeared imminent. A treaty with the Herero and the raising of the British flag over Walvis Bay were seen as forerunners of the northward expansion of the Cape Colony. However, London proved reluctant to take on added costs in an apparently valueless area, and the way was left open to German colonial annexation as South West Africa in the 1880s. The acquisitions, by exceedingly dubious “treaties” and more naked theft, did not go smoothly, despite the employment of so-called “divide and rule” tactics within and between peoples. The first major resistance—by the Herero in 1885—forced the Germans back to Walvis Bay until British troops were sent out.

      By the turn of the century, German settlers had arrived, copper was minable, railway building from Swakopmund and Lüderitz was under way, and diamonds were soon discovered near Lüderitz. But from 1904 to 1907 a great war of resistance broke out, nearly expelling the Germans before it was quelled with extreme savagery by tactics including extermination, hangings, and forced detention in concentration camps (concentration camp).

      The first phase of the war was fought between the Germans and the Herero (with a single Ovambo battle at Fort Namutoni near the Etosha Pan). It reached a climax when General Lother van Trotha defeated the main Herero army at the Battle of Waterburg and, taking no prisoners, drove them into the Kalahari, where most died. By 1910 the loss of life by hanging, battle, or starvation and thirst—plus the escape of a few to the Bechuanaland protectorate—had reduced the Herero people by about 90 percent (80–85 percent dead, 5–10 percent in exile). The Nama resistance war came late because a key letter from Maherero's son and successor, Samuel Maherero, to the Oorlam chief Hendrik Witbooi that proposed joint action had been intercepted. The resistance was finally crushed in 1907, and Nama survivors were herded into concentration camps. War, starvation, and conditions in the camps claimed the lives of two-thirds of the Nama.

      The Germans allocated about half of the usable—and apparently all of the best—ranchland (except that of the Rehoboth Basters) to settlers and restricted Africans to reserves. The Tsumeb copper and zinc mines opened in 1906, and diamond mining (more accurately, sand sifting) began near Lüderitz in 1908 and at the main fields at the mouth of the Orange River (Oranjemund) a few years later. Railways linked Lüderitz, Keetmanshoop, and Windhoek as well as Swakopmund, Windhoek, and Tsumeb.

      German direct rule never extended to the north. The “red line”—now a quarantine boundary—delimited the Police Zone from the Ovambo and Kavango areas. In the latter, the near extinction of elephants, a rinderpest epidemic, and the rising consumption habits of the kings led to a migration of single male contract (contract labour) labourers to work in the mines and ranches and in construction. The “contract labour system”—which was to provide the cheap labour for the colonial economy and later provided the national communication and solidarity links to build the liberation movements of 1960–90—had begun.

The Boer conquest
      In 1914–15 South African troops invaded and captured South West Africa as part of the World War I conquest of the German colonies in Africa. Except for diamond mines, most property—including Tsumeb—found its way back into German hands. The rising De Beers (De Beers S.A.) colossus bought Oranjemund and the balance of the diamond-producing area to bolster its world domination; it was used as a market-balancing mine (that is, its production was varied to control the price of diamonds, and it was totally closed for more than two years in the 1930s), a role it played into the 1980s. Afrikaner settlers were encouraged to come to South West Africa for security reasons—to hold the inhabitants in check—at least as much as for economic reasons.

      The League of Nations (Nations, League of) awarded a Class C mandate (meaning no real targets for development of the people toward independence were intended) to the crown of Great Britain to be exercised by the Union of South Africa authorities. That “sacred trust” was read as justifying settlement, greater exploitation, and no rights for black (and precious few for Coloured) Africans, plus a creeping annexation into South Africa as a “fifth province.” The rail system was extended to Walvis Bay (the one good natural port) and south to the South African border and to Cape Town to tie South West Africa's economy to South Africa's on both the import and export sides.

      South Africa extended direct rule to the Kunene and Okavango rivers—parallel to a Portuguese push south to the Angola-Namibia border. Resistance there and elsewhere in South West Africa flared into violence repeatedly until the 1930s, while trade union organizing and political as well as economic resistance began in the 1920s. Until 1945 South West Africa was not a productive colony—cattle and karakul were in oversupply, diamond output was held low, and export prices for base metals were not attractive. Governance, security, and settler survival all had to be financed in large part from Pretoria.

The political economy of a colonial boom
      From 1945 the economy of South West Africa grew rapidly, reaching a peak of more than $1,000 per capita ($20,000 for Europeans and $150 for black Namibians) in the late 1970s. The pillars were base metal expansion at better prices and sharply increased output and prices for cattle (largely in South Africa), karakul (via South Africa to the European–North American fur market), and diamonds. Fourfold growth in world demand after World War II led to increases in output at De Beers' diamond mines. In addition, the fish catch (largely for fish meal and canned pilchards) exploded to 1,102,000 short (U.S.) tons (1,000,000 metric tons)—a level that laid the groundwork for the present stock depletion and conservation problems.

      The European enclave boomed. The situation was quite different for the other 90 percent of the people. Rising population was eroding productive capacity—per capita and absolutely by ecological damage—in African areas. Until the late 1970s, contract labour paid only enough to support a single person at subsistence level. Black nurses, teachers, and secretaries, as well as semiskilled workers, began to be trained and employed on a significant scale only in the mid-1970s. Land reallocations increased contract labour. A body called the Odendaal Commission organized separate development, which led to the creation of “homeland” authorities that benefited a new black elite (as in the 1980s did government wages and salaries for teachers, nurses, and black-area administrators and troops and a wage increase by large employers in mining and finance). A rising proportion of black Namibians—two-thirds by the late 1980s—was left in abject poverty. Further, contract labour eroded the social and civil structures, giving rise to numerous and usually very poor female-headed households in the “homelands” and the urban peripheries.

From resistance to liberation struggle
      From 1947, Namibians (initially via intermediaries) had begun to petition the United Nations (UN) against South African rule. A series of cases before the International Court of Justice (World Court)—the last, in 1971, declaring the mandate forfeiture by the United Nations in 1966 to be valid—led to a de jure UN assumption of sovereignty and de facto support via publicity, negotiation, and training for Namibian liberation.

      In South West Africa the churches (numbering at least 80 percent of black Namibians in their membership) took an early lead in petitioning the UN and South Africa and created a climate of black social and civil opinion favourable to the liberation struggle; they were slow, however, to endorse its armed phase. From the 1950s to the '70s the churches had become increasingly national in staff and outlook, in some cases after severe conflicts with the overseas “parent” bodies and local missionaries.

      Black trade union (organized labour) activity (illegal until the mid-1980s) began to revive as well and focused rather more on political than on economic mobilization. The major strike of 1971–72 was against contract labour, the implementation of apartheid, and the 1966 failure of the initial World Court case as much as it was for wage increases per se.

      From 1958 to 1960 the political focus turned from resistance to liberation, and leadership passed from traditional chiefs to party leaders. SWAPO (South West Africa People's Organization) (nominally South West Africa People's Organization, although only the acronym has been used since 1980) was founded as the Ovamboland People's Organization in 1958; it achieved a national following as SWAPO in 1960. In 1959 SWANU (South West Africa National Union) was formed, largely by Herero intellectuals. Within a decade, SWAPO had become the dominant party and had grown beyond its Ovambo roots. The presence of Ovambo throughout the nation due to contract labour was used to forge a national communication system and mobilizing capacity.

      The parties had been formed because petitioning seemed ineffective. The forced removal (with violence and deaths) of black Namibians from the Old Location in Windhoek to the outlying township of Katatura (sometimes translated as “The Place We Do Want to Be”) was perhaps the key catalytic event. Until 1966 the parties sought—in the face of increasing repression—to press for redress of grievances from South Africa and via the United Nations. Indeed, until the 1970s the armed struggle, then largely across the border from Zambia, was only a minor nuisance to South Africa.

      The 1971–72 strike marked a turning point in terms of national solidarity and nationwide participation in the struggle. It greatly alarmed South Africa; a rising crescendo of trials and summary imprisonment and torture was pursued, though this process had already begun when Herman Toivo ja Toivo and most other SWAPO leaders not already in exile were tried for terrorism and imprisoned on Robben Island in 1968. From 1969 SWAPO had operated along almost all of the northern border—an operation that was easier after Angolan independence (Angola) in 1975—and in the north-central farming areas around Grootfontein. Although set back by an internal leadership crisis and division among fighting cadres in 1976, the armed struggle had become militarily damaging and economically costly to South Africa by the end of the 1970s.

The road to Namibia
      From 1977 through 1988 the economy of Namibia stagnated overall and fell by more than 3 percent per year per capita. Five factors influenced this: six years of drought, decline in fishing yields (because of overfishing), serious worsening of import-export price ratios, the slow growth and mismanagement of the South African economy, and the impact of the war on the budget and on both domestic and foreign investor confidence. For white residents, real incomes (except in ranching) stagnated or rose slowly; for blacks, they rose for perhaps one-sixth of households in wage employment with government or large enterprises and declined rapidly for others, especially for residents of the northern “operational area” (war zone).

      For South Africa, Namibia turned from an economic asset to a millstone (with a war bill by the late 1980s on the order of $1 billion a year—comparable to Namibia's gross domestic product). Capital stock was run down, and output of all major products—beef, karakul, fish, base metals, uranium oxide, and diamonds—fell.

      On the domestic side a long series of South African attempts to build up pro-South African parties with substantial black support failed even when trade unions were legalized, wages raised, and petty apartheid laws (including abolition of the contract labour and residence restrictions) relaxed. Indeed, after the failure of the alliance between moderate black Bishop Abel Muzorewa and white Prime Minister Ian Smith in the Zimbabwe independence elections, South Africa's internal political maneuvers looked increasingly desperate and lacking in conviction.

      Internationally and militarily, decline was slower and less apparent. While the UN (United Nations) Security Council had passed resolutions (notably resolution 435) demanding independence for Namibia, South Africa skillfully and repeatedly protracted negotiations and played on U.S. fears of communism and paranoia about Cuba (whose troops had defeated the 1975 South African invasion of Angola and remained there to augment the defense against South Africa and its Angolan allies or proxies).

      Through 1986 about 2,500 South African soldiers had died, a figure proportionally higher per capita than the U.S. death toll in the Vietnam War. However, the South African government skillfully disguised the high casualty rate as well as the fiscal burden of the Namibian occupation and policy in Angola. The war, like the negotiations, appeared stalemated.

      The turning point came in 1988. South Africa's invasion of Angola was defeated near Cuito-Cuanavale, air control was lost, and the Western Front defenses were tumbled back to the border (by a force consisting largely of units of SWAPO's People's Liberation Army of Namibia [PLAN] under Angolan command). By June South Africa had to negotiate a total withdrawal from Angola to avoid a military disaster, and by the end of December it had negotiated a UN-supervised transition to elections, a new constitution, and independence for Namibia.

Reginald Herbold Green

      The United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) opened operations in April 1989. After a disastrous start—in which South African forces massacred PLAN forces seeking to report to UNTAG to be confined to designated areas—UNTAG slowly gained control over the registration and electoral process in most areas.

      The election of 1989, held under the auspices of the UN, gave SWAPO 57 percent of the vote and 60 percent of the seats. Sam Nujoma (Nujoma, Sam), the longtime leader of SWAPO, became president. With two-thirds majorities needed to draft and adopt a constitution, some measure of reconciliation was necessary to avoid deadlock. In fact, SWAPO and the business community—as well as many settlers—wanted a climate of national reconciliation in order to achieve a relatively peaceful initial independence period.

      As a result, a constitution emphasizing human, civil, and property rights was adopted unanimously by the end of 1990, and reconciliation with settlers and (to a degree) with South Africa became the dominant mood. For the new government, the costs of reconciliation included retaining about 15,000 unneeded white civil servants, deferring the landownership and mineral-company terms issues, and offering de facto amnesty for all pre-independence acts of violence (including those of SWAPO against suspected spies and dissidents in Angola in the late 1980s). The benefits were the takeover of a functioning public administration and economy (with growth rising to 3 percent in 1990) and grudging but real South African cooperation on fishing and use of Walvis Bay. Above all, South Africa forebore from mounting destabilization measures or creating proxy armed forces.

      On March 21, 1990, the South African flag was lowered and Namibia's raised at the National Stadium; Namibia subsequently joined the Commonwealth, the UN, and the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union). Diplomatic relations were established with many countries. The Namibian Defense Force—which included members of PLAN as well as the former South West African Territory Force—was created with the assistance of British military advisers.

      South Africa agreed to a transition to Namibian sovereignty over Walvis Bay, which was effected in 1994. It also agreed to a revised boundary along the Orange River, giving Namibia riparian rights; the earlier border had been placed on the north bank and thus left Namibia without water rights. Namibia remained a member of the Southern African Customs Union.

      The political climate was calm. The main opposition party, the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (heir to South Africa's puppet government efforts and beneficiary of considerable South African funds for campaign financing), held almost one-third of the seats in the legislature but was neither particularly constructive nor totally obstructive. In the 1994 national elections, SWAPO consolidated its hold on power, surpassing the two-thirds majority needed to revise the constitution—which it did in 1998, passing an amendment that allowed President Nujoma to run for a third term. Despite widespread disapproval of the amendment, Nujoma was easily reelected in 1999.

      SWAPO maintained its hold on power in the country's 1999 elections, in the face of allegations from the opposition—now headed by a SWAPO splinter party, the Congress of Democrats—that the government was engaging in authoritarian practices. Opponents also questioned the government's 1998 decision to dispatch troops to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to support the government of Congolese President Laurent Kabila during that country's civil war. The government generated even greater controversy in 1999 when it granted the Angolan government permission to pursue Angolan rebels into Namibian territory, leading to unrest along the border that did not subside until 2002.

      At the beginning of the 21st century and after its first decade of independence, Namibia stood apart from many other African countries as a model of political and economic stability. Nevertheless, the country still had serious matters to address. As in much of Africa, the spread of AIDS was a concern: by 2000 one in five adult Namibians was infected. Another issue at the forefront was land reform—the government program of purchasing farmland owned by the white minority and redistributing it to the historically disadvantaged and landless black Namibians. The controversy surrounding land reform continued to escalate in the first decade of the new century as the slow progress of the program frustrated many, and the threat of forcible seizures of farmland loomed.

      The new millennium also saw the democratic transfer of power in the country. After leading Namibia since the country's independence, Nujoma stepped down from office at the end of his third term. Fellow SWAPO member Hifikepunye Pohamba prevailed in the 2004 presidential elections and was inaugurated the next year.

Reginald Herbold Green Ed.

Additional Reading
Brian Wood, Namibia, 1884–1984: Readings on Namibia's History and Society (1988), is a collection of somewhat uneven chapters on historical, social, and economic aspects. J.H. Van der Merwe (ed.), National Atlas of South West Africa (1983), is a detailed study of all aspects of Namibia's geography. Richard Moorsom, “Underdevelopment, Contract Labor, and Worker Consciousness in Namibia, 1915–1972,” Journal of Southern African Studies, 17:71–82 (October 1977), analyzes the nature, context, goals, and evolution of Namibian workers. United Nations Institute for Namibia, Namibia: Perspectives for National Reconstruction and Development (1986), brings together data and option analysis on most social, political, and economic aspects, although the policy advice is dated because it did not forecast reconciliation. David Simon and Richard Moorsom, “Namibia's Political Economy: A Contemporary Perspective,” in Gerhard Tötemeyer, Vezera Kandetu, and Wolfgang Werner (eds.), Namibia in Perspective (1987), pp. 82–101, reviews the territorial economy, then approaching its low point. Reginald H. Green, Kimmo Kiljunen, and Marja-Liisa Kiljunen, Namibia: The Last Colony (1981), emphasizes the economy and the political-economic process. Tore Linné Eriksen and Richard Moorsom, The Political Economy of Namibia: An Annotated Critical Bibliography, 2nd ed. (1989), covers and comments on virtually all substantive material through 1988.H. Bley, South-West Africa Under German Rule, 1894–1914 (1971; originally published in German, 1968), is a major study of the German occupation era with some coverage of the precolonial period. Peter H. Katjavivi, A History of Resistance in Namibia (1988), is a major study of Namibian history, especially from 1860 through the mid-1980s. Reginald H. Green and P. Manning, “Namibia: Preparations for Destabilization,” in Phyllis Johnson and David Martin, Frontline Southern Africa: Destructive Engagement (1988), pp. 153–189, gives an overview of the post-World War II liberation effort to the late 1980s. Swapo Dept. of Information and Publicity, To Be Born a Nation: The Liberation Struggle for Namibia (1981), states the position, goals, and perception of history by the then-main nationalist movement, now the majority party. Colin Leys and John S. Saul, Namibia's Liberation Struggle: The Two-Edged Sword (1995), provides coverage of the liberation war and early years of independence. David Simon, Independent Namibia: One Year On (1991), is a review through early 1991; it may be supplemented by Donald L. Sparks and December Green, Namibia: The Nation After Independence (1992).Reginald Herbold Green Ed.

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