Customs and traditions
In the young nation Namibia, national symbols are important. The school children sing the national anthem every day, and it is often played on radio and at festivals. In terms of culture and traditions, there are differences between the different groups of people.
A visitor should be somewhat careful to inquire about a Namibian’s ethnic background – for many, national unity is central and all emphasis on different peoples is viewed with suspicion. Others identify themselves more with an individual group of people and are happy to point out ethnic characteristics.
- Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Namibia, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Unlike the other traditional kinship of the mother, the Ovambo people count. For example, san and nama have a strong oral storytelling tradition. Among the herdsmen, some women still wear Victorian-style dresses, a hundred-year-old heritage of German missionaries. Others have maintained the tradition of lubricating themselves with red sugar and fat, and marking age and social status through the hairstyle.
An odd custom is practiced among the people of himba and zemba in northern Namibia. There, a man can lend his wife to his friends who can have sex with her. In theory, women also have the right to lend their men the same way, but it is very uncommon for this to happen. Among himba and zemba, custom is seen as a way to strengthen friendship and prevent promiscuity, but it is strongly criticized by groups that fight for women’s rights. They point out that it is above all men who like the custom. They also point to the risk of spreading HIV / AIDS as an argument against partner exchanges.
Know and label
Many Namibians, regardless of ethnicity, are happy to send greetings out of time. Handshaking is important for most people. It’s nice to see the one you’re talking to, but without staring. You show restraint with strong feelings in the public place. Gratitude between two people is preferably avoided, especially in rural areas.
Punctuality is important, especially in a workplace. Minimum delay can be considered bad behavior.
Football is extremely popular and a safe topic of conversation.
According to Abbreviationfinder, Namibians are quite formal in terms of clothing in public contexts. Shorts and t-shirts are considered informal clothing. Jeans, especially women, are not allowed in workplaces or churches.
Eating habits vary. People who live mostly from livestock farming eat a lot of milk products, those who primarily grow the soil eat millet, sorghum and corn. Beans and some greens are found mainly in the north, but overall there is a dearth of vegetables. Meat is sought after and eaten at least at holidays. On festive occasions, the one who can slaughter a cow or goat, and serves home-brewed beer. Fish consumption is quite low, but the government has tried to increase interest.
Weekends and holidays
Namibians celebrate their independence day on March 21. Another important holiday falls on May 4, the so-called Cassinga Day. The celebration commemorates the fact that hundreds of Namibians were killed in a South African flight attack against a Swap camp in 1978. On August 26, Heroes Day is in memory of when the Freedom War began in 1966.
According to Countryaah, other non-religious holidays are January 1 and May 1, as well as Africa Day on May 25, which celebrates the founding of the African Unity Organization in 1963 (OAU, later replaced by the African Union, AU), and Human Rights Day on December 10 (when the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights signed, 1948).
Long Friday, Easter Sunday, Ascension Day, Christmas Day and Christmas Day are also national holidays. Christmas and New Year are important family holidays, as many travel to their hometowns.
Namibia’s transport network maintains a high standard according to African conditions. It was built to fit in with the South African network. Roads and railways run mainly from north to south and from the capital Windhoek to the port city of Walvis Bay.
After independence in 1990, Namibia, with the help of foreign aid donors, built new road links to neighboring countries in the east. One road goes through the Kalahari Desert to Botswana and one through the Zambezi region to Zambia. Zambezi Road means that exports from the rich copper fields in Zambia and southern Congo-Kinshasa can go via Walvis Bay. In 2004, a bridge replaced ferry traffic across the Zambezi River at the border.
There is close to 250 miles of railroad, but maintenance is neglected along certain sections. The only railway abroad goes to South Africa. However, an expansion is ongoing in the country’s densely populated northern parts and will reach the border with Angola. In 2014, Botswana and Namibia also agreed to build a railway through Kalahari, from coalfields in Botswana to Walvis Bay.
The port of Walvis Bay has been expanded and modernized in stages, and a further expansion is ongoing. There is also a smaller port in Lüderitz.
From the international airport in Windhoek, Air Namibia has direct flights to some countries in Africa as well as to a couple in Europe. The state plans to sell the debt-laden airline, but has had difficulty finding stakeholders.