Society of Namibia



Population per sq km: 3

Life expectancy: 66 years

Net primary enrolment: 89% (2013)

Population: 2,458,000 (2015); density is extremely low overall and only 45 per cent of people live in urban areas; growth 2.3 per cent p.a. 1990–2015; birth rate 29 per 1,000 people (43 in 1970); life expectancy 66 years (53 in 1970 and 62 in 1990).

The Ovambo and Kavango together constitute about 60 per cent of the total population. Other groups are the Herero, Damara, Nama and the Caprivians. The San (Bushmen), who are among the world’s oldest surviving hunter-gatherers, have lived in this territory for more than 11,000 years. The Basters, who settled in Rehoboth in 1870, stem from marriages between white farmers and Khoi mothers in the Cape. The ‘Cape Coloureds’, immigrants from South Africa, tend to live in the urban areas. Of the white group of approximately 90,000, about 50 per cent are of South African and 25 per cent of German ancestry; about 20 per cent are Afrikaners (longer-established migrants); and a small minority are of UK ancestry.

Language: English, Oshiwambo, Herero, Nama, Afrikaans and German. The official language is English, first or second language to only about 20 per cent. Oshiwambo is spoken throughout most of the north. The Caprivians speak Lozi as their main language. Afrikaans is widely spoken and is the traditional language of the Cape Coloureds and Baster communities.

Religion: Christians 80–90 per cent (predominantly Lutherans), the rest holding traditional beliefs.

Media: Daily newspapers include The Namibian (in English and Oshiwambo), Namibia Economist, New Era (governmentowned), Die Republikein (in Afrikaans) and Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Namibian Sun and Windhoek Observer are published weekly.

The Namibian Broadcasting Corporation provides public TV and radio services. Several private and international TV channels are available via cable or satellite and there are many private radio stations broadcasting in the country.

Public holidays: New Year’s Day, Independence Day (21 March), Workers’ Day (1 May), Cassinga Day (4 May), Africa Day (25 May), Heroes’ Day (26 August), Human Rights Day (10 December), Christmas Day and Family Day (26 December).

Cassinga Day remembers those killed in 1978 when the South African Defence Force attacked a SWAPO refugee camp at Cassinga in southern Angola. Africa Day commemorates the founding of the Organization of African Unity in 1963 (now African Union). Heroes’ Day commemorates the start of SWAPO’s armed struggle against South African rule and those killed in the struggle. Human Rights Day remembers those killed in 1959 when residents of a black township near Windhoek resisted forcible removal to the present-day Katutura.

Religious holidays whose dates vary from year to year include Good Friday and Easter Monday