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Namibia’s Celebration of Freedom: Independence Day

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Independence Day of Namibia: March 21

Independence Day is a public holiday in Namibia

The Republic of Namibia, or simply Namibia, is located in southern Africa bordering the nation of South Africa (south), Angola, Zambia (north), Botswana, and Zimbabwe (east). The western portion of the African country is a gateway to the Atlantic ocean.

Namibia celebrates its anniversary of independence from South African rule every 21st of March yearly. March 21 also marks the day when the Namibian War of Independence ended in 1990. Independence Day is one of the highly observed public holidays in the country.

History of Independence Day of Namibia

Namibia has long been an independent country before it was colonized by the Germans in the latter part of the 19th century (1884). The collapse of the German government in the aftermath of World War I allowed South Africa to administer the land as imposed by the then League of Nations. Namibia was then known as South West Africa.

South Africa was reluctant to relinquish the country from their direct rule arguing that the people of Namibia were contented with the government setup. However, Namibian guerilla group called nationalist South-West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) maintained resistance and launch an offensive attack against the local South African government mainly to abolish the apartheid rule imposed by South Africa in the region, inhumane treatment to the local Namibians, among others.

The offensive attack made by SWAPO against the South African military contingents during the Namibian War of Independence (South African Defence Force) at Omugulugwombashe in northern Namibia was the first and successful attack by the Namibian militant forces. It is commemorated in Namibia as Heroes’ Day.

The war between the fighting guerilla and South Africa continued for more than two decades (24 years) ended only in 1988. Government power transition happened in the next two years ending on March 21, 1990, granting the country freedom from South Africa’s administration.

Independence Day of Namibia: Traditions, Customs and Activities

During the celebration, many Namibians take time off from work to join various street celebrations in major cities and towns across the country. Since this is a public holiday, government offices are closed.

Major celebrations usually happen in the capital, Windhoek with parades and with government leaders.

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