Some countries are noted for lush vegetation with lakes and rivers and serene beauty. Namibia could not be more different. Namibia is known for its stark beauty. It has to be one of the countries with the most harsh, if not the harshest landscape on earth. The country is mostly desert ith virtually endless deserts. The Saharan Desert is much larger, but divided among several countries. The Namib Desert is mostly located in Naminia. The country is bordered by Angola, Botswana, and South Arica and touching on Zambia and Zimbanwe. Along with the desert dunes there are rugged mountains, and rugged coastline. The cold northrly flowing Benguela Current is responsible for the minimal precipitation. Namimbia is one the least densely populated countries in the world, with only 2.1 million people in a relatively large country. Much of the population because of the harsh enviroment was nomadic herders. The environment is so harsh that the country has become a tourist attraction. The Namibian Tourist Board advises tourists, "Explore the oldest, driest desert in the world and take time to listen to the silence and to your soul." Along with the country's stark beauty are important wildlife populations which have benefitted from the enviroment hostile to humans. The stark enviroment also deflected the Bantu southerly migraion to the east. Namibia was the former German colony of Southwest Africa. German colonial rule was especially harsh in the native people. We have not yet managed to acquire much information on Namibia. We do not yet yet have a Namibian history page. We do have a page on the Himba people, the survivors of the Herero Wars. We also have a school page.
Some countries are noted for lush vegetation with lakes and rivers and serene beauty. Namibia could not be more different. Namibia is known for its stark beauty. It has to be one of the countries with the most harsh, if not the harshest landscape on earth. The country is mostly desert ith virtually endless deserts. The Saharan Desert is much larger, but divided among several countries. The Namib Desert is mostly located in Namibia. The country is bordered by Angola, Botswana, and South Arica and touching on Zambia and Zimbanwe. Along with the desert dunes there are rugged mountains, and rugged coastline. The cold northerly flowing Benguela Current is responsible for the minimal precipitation.
The pre-history of Naminia is not well understood because there is little archeological evidence and the first written evidence only comes with the Europeans. Presumbably different humanoid species migrated into the region, but left little evidence. The Europeans encountered several African peoples or tribes. The best known are the San people, known as Bushmen. They are the earliest known modern human inhabitants of Namibia and the rest of southern Africa, including Botswana and South Africa. They are believed to have inhabited the region for much of th neolithic era. The San were hunter and gatherers leading a nomadic life wjich left little archeological evidence. They lived on fruits, nuts and roots, but hunted small animals and antelopes. Over more advanced ethnic groups arrived and began displacing the San from large areas of southern Africa (about the 1st century AD). This included th Ovambo and Kavango, and Khoisan peoples. The stark Namib Desert appeard to have defelected Bantu southerly migration to the east.
The final group were the Oorians (armed Koisans and other non-whites) and Basters (mulatoes). The only hint of the regions history before the arrival of the Europeans is found in the oral tradition of th various African peoples. This occured mich later in Namibia than in other Aftican areas, largely because the arid offered few enducemebts. European settlment begab very late (early-19th century). This is about the same time that Oorlams (the population descended from the mixture of Malay slaves, Khoi-San, Dutch, and English)crossed the Orange River pressed by the Afrikaaners with horses and guns. These made them he most powerful group in what is now Namibia. They tended substantial herds cattle and goats on land taken from Bantu peoples (the Nama and Herero). The relationship is not well understood. Oral history suugesta a kind of Wild West with cattle raiding, ambushes, drinking, smoking marihuana. orses were needed to tend cattle on wide open landscapes like the Aamerican West. The first Europeans north of the Orange River were missionaries who pursued a 'guns for converts' efforts. The Oorlams maintained trafe links with the Cape Colony and the Afrikaaners. They established a kind of capital at Windhoek, first called Winterhoek. It was the Germans who colonized Naminia, calling in Southwest Africa (1880s), this essentually set off the Scrable for Africa. The Europeans at the Berlin Conference began dividing up Africa and settling conflicting claims (1883). The Germans as newly united and late comers to Africa wound up with scattere fragments and this arid regions that other Europeans saw of little interest. A small detachment of German troops led by Curt Von FranJoise landed at Walvis Bay reportedly desguised as tourists (1889). Walvis Bay at the time was controlled by the British. So the Grmans seized control of Winterhoek and claimed all of Southwest Africa except Walvis Bay. This was a huge area and the German presence was not large nough to ocupy it all. They commited what is today known as the Herero Genocide. Some 60,000 Hereros and related people were kille out of a total population of some 80,000 people. South Africa occupied the Germn colony as a result of World War I and after the War administered it as a League of Nations mandate territory. After the War, South African without international sanction occupied the country. Namibia achieved independence (1990).
Namimbia is one the least densely populated countries in the world, with only 2.1 million people in a relatively large country. Much of the population because of the harsh enviroment was nomadic herders.
The environment is so harsh that the country has become a tourist attraction. The Namibian Tourist Board advises tourists, "Explore the oldest, driest desert in the world and take time to listen to the silence and to your soul." Along with the country's stark beauty are important wildlife populations which have benefitted from the enviroment hostile to humans.
Namibians has a diverse ethnic structure. The principal Aftrican group is the are the Ovambo. Other tribes include: Caprivian (Lozi), Damara, Herero/Himba, Kavango, Nama, San, and Tswana. Mixed race groups include: Coloured and Rehoboth Baster. White Namibians include Afrikaner, German, British and Portuguese). The mixed race people are a little complicated. Coloured sems to mean means mixed African/White ancestry. Rehoboth Baster sems to means mixed race peole (African/Afrikanner) ancestry. There is relatively little mixing among the different groups in Namibia.
The Coloureds and Basters share similar ancestries and cultural attributes (such as language), but nonetheless maintain largely separate communal identities, as do most white Namibians and African Namibians. The Ovambo are the dominant African group and are riughly half of Namibia's population. The Ovambo, Kavango, and East Caprivian historically inhabited the relatively well-watered and wooded northern area of Namibia. They maintain traditional settled farming and herding lifestyle. They have exhibited minimal interest in the harsh, arid central and southern parts of Namibia which offered little posibility of agiculture. The population was as a resulted mostly located in the north. Before the arrival of Europeans, these tribes had little contact with the Nama, Damara, and Herero to the south. These tribes settled in the central region of Namibia struggled for control of the limited,sparse pastureland. Warfare was thus endmic. The Europeans showed little interest in what is now Namibia, except for Walfis Bay. Thus the area was up for grabs when the nwly unifoed German enteed the Scranble for Africa. German colonial rule was brutal. Large numbers of the Herero perished in the Herero Wars. The Germans did end the fighting. The Germans or South Africans after World War II did not, however, attempt to change identities and traditional organization. Thee have been demographic chnges since indeoendence. People from the noerhern tribs have now settled throughout the country as aesult of urbanization, industrialization, and employment opportunities. The mining, farming, and industrial sectors continues to be contolled by the white minority. Thee sectorshave had an impacr on traditional African society without completely transforming it. Urban as well as migratory workers have largely adopted Western life styles. People living in rural areas continue to live traditional lfe styles. The various Africans speak various indigenous languages. The white population is largely of Afrikaaner discent. There are also people of British, and German descent, with a few Portuguese. Some 60 percent of Namibia whites speak Afrikaans (a language derived from the 17th century Dutch settlers). Another 30 percent speak German. Some 5 percent speak English.
Mostly German missionary work during the late-19th and early-20 centuries converted many Namibians. Most Namibians became Luterans, but there are other denominations (Roman Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, African Methodist Episcopal, and Dutch Reformed hurches).
We do not know about education in the pre-colonial era. Namibia was orginally a German colony, Southwest Africa. Walvis Bay, the largest city and port, was a separate British colony. We have little informarion about schools in the German colony. It is unlikely there were any German state schools for the native population, but there were probably some mission schools. The German colony was seized by the South Africans during World War I. Te League of Nations apprived South African control as a mandate. South Africa thus administered the colony as a result of World War I and after the War administered it as a League of Nations mandate territory. After World War II South African without international sanction continued to occupy the country. The same Apartheid systen developed in South Africa was imposed on Namibia. Presumably the South Africans developed a school system similar to that in South Africa itself. This meant a system focused on education white children and limited resources devoted to the native population, but native eucation was established. Namibia achieved independence (1990). We have only limited information on the school system at this time. The Constitution of independent Namibia provides for free education until age 16 years or until children complete their primary education. English is the official language, primarily because it is a common language. Some 12 native languages are used in the beginning primary years with English gradually introduced anbd used for the upper grades and univerity education. Children begin primary school at age 6 years. Some for some reason bein later. There are 7 years of primary education (grades 1-7). This is followed by 3 years of junior secondary school (Grades 8-10). Many children end their schooling at this point. And unlike earlier grades, grade 10 can usually not be repeated to earn the Junior Secondary Certificate. There is a non-formal education sector. The next step is Senior Secondary School, a program with high acadeic standards (grades 11-12). Stidents finishing this program are awarded the Senior Secondary Certificate qualification, either the International General Certificate of Education (IGCSE) or the Higher International General Certificate of Education (HIGCSE), depending on the program chosen. IGCSE exam papers are set and marked in Namibia, but moderated by Cambridge University. HIGCSE question papers are set, marked and moderated by the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
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