World Cultures/Culture in Africa/Culture of Namibia

World Cultures/Culture in Africa/Culture of Namibia


Tradition in Namibia is a mix of many various folks and its tradition and customs have absorbed each African and European parts and fused them into a mix of the 2. The Namibian majority nonetheless has a considerable variety of rural inhabitants who lead largely impoverished lives. It’s amongst these folks, nevertheless, that cultural custom survive most strongly. With simply 2.1 individuals per sq. kilometer and a inhabitants of two.5 million, Namibia’s completely different cultures span an impressively numerous inhabitants for what’s a sparsely populated nation.

From the Bantu-speaking Ovambo and Herero tribes (the latter of that are admired for his or her colourful Victorian costume) to the Damara minorities and nomadic San Bushmen, Namibia boasts cultural and historic taste in spades. German colonization left its personal imprint on this Southern African nation with German being a broadly spoken language immediately and German structure and delicacies that includes prominently. Namibia’s numerous and, at occasions, harsh local weather contributed to its colourful historical past with skirmishes, worldwide and nationwide, mirrored in a lot of its fashionable historical past. Round 50 % of Namibians belong to the Ovambos, most of whom dwell within the northern areas of the nation. Though Finnish missionaries turned many of the Ovambo into practising Christians, particularly Lutherans, many nonetheless comply with conventional customs. Households nonetheless dwell in homesteads, teams of huts enclosed by wood fence poles. Every hut serves a selected objective as a bed room, kitchen, or storage room.

The descendants of Southern African migrants additionally name Namibia their residence. They’re the Khoisan folks, a mix of the Namaqua and San cultures. The Namaqua put nice significance on music, dance, and story-telling, all of which have been handed down orally from era to era. They’re additionally recognized for his or her crafts comparable to sheepskin cloaks, clay pots, leather-based work, jewellery, and musical devices, particularly reed flutes. The San, alternatively, are the unique folks of Namibia. They’re one of many 14 ancestral inhabitants clusters from which all fashionable people are thought to have developed. What unites the Khoisan is their language, which contains of clicking sounds, distinct from every other African language.

Non secular Tradition[edit]

Faith in Namibia is dominated by numerous branches of Christianity, with greater than 90 % of Namibian residents figuring out themselves as Christian. In accordance with the USA DRL, in 2007 as much as 75% had been Protestant, together with as a lot as 50% Lutheran.
In accordance with the Namibia Demographic and Well being Surveys (2013), the proportions are:

  1. 65.1% Protestant (43.7% Lutheran, 4.4% Seventh-day Adventist, 17.0% Anglican or different Protestant denomination);
  2. 22.8% Roman Catholic;
  3. 10.5% a non-Christian faith (primarily African conventional religions, Sunni Islam, Buddhism);
  4. 1.5% unaffiliated or irreligious.

Overseas missionary teams function within the nation. The Structure supplies for freedom of faith, and the Authorities typically respects this proper in apply. The US authorities acquired no studies of societal abuses or discrimination primarily based on spiritual perception or apply in 2007. Islam in Namibia is subscribed to by about 9,000 folks,lots of them Nama.[1]Namibia is residence to a small Jewish group of about 100 folks.[2]

Ethnic Teams[edit]

Namibians are of numerous ethnic origins. The principal teams are the Ovambo, Kavango, Herero, Himba, Damara, mixed-race (Colored and Rehoboth Baster), White Namibians (Afrikaner, German, Swedish, British, and Portuguese), Nama, Caprivian (Lozi), San, and Tswana. The Coloureds and Basters share related genealogical origins and cultural attributes (comparable to residence language) however nonetheless preserve distinctly separate communal identities, as do most white Namibians and black Namibians, respectively. By formal estimations, there are 11 ethnic teams in Namibia, though realistically every of those is definitely a group of smaller ethnic teams that share related languages and customs.

The minority white inhabitants is primarily of South African, British, and German descent, with just a few Portuguese. About 60% of the whites communicate Afrikaans (a language derived from the 17th century Dutch), 32% communicate German, and seven% communicate English.The Ovambo make up about half of Namibia’s folks. The Ovambo, Kavango, and East Caprivian peoples, who occupy the comparatively well-watered and wooded northern a part of the nation, are settled, farmers and herders. Traditionally, they’ve proven little curiosity within the central and southern components of Namibia, the place circumstances don’t swimsuit their conventional lifestyle.


In the course of the apartheid regime in Namibia, the three languages of English, German, and Afrikaans had been designated because the official languages of Namibia. Nonetheless, after Namibia gained independence from South Africa in 1990, the brand new authorities of the nation allowed solely the English language because the official language and talked about the identical within the structure of the nation. The language is now used within the authorities administration of the nation and is the medium of instruction in faculties and universities. Nonetheless, the colleges of Namibia are going through a scarcity of lecturers proficient within the English language, and a report reveals that 98% of the nation’s lecturers lack ample coaching within the language.

Essentially the most broadly spoken languages utilized in households are Oshiwambo dialects, by 49% of the inhabitants, Khoekhoegowab by 11%, Afrikaans by 10%, RuKwangali by 9%, and Otjiherero by 9%[3]. Different native languages embody the Bantu languages Setswana, Gciriku, Fwe, Kuhane, Mbukushu, Yeyi; and the Khoisan Naro, ǃXóõ, Kung-Ekoka, ǂKxʼauǁʼein and Kxoe. English, the official language, is spoken by 3% of individuals as their native language. Portuguese was spoken by 4–5% of the overall inhabitants, i.e. 100,000 folks, made up largely of the Angolan group in 2014. The variety of Angolans in Namibia declined from 2014 to 2015. The financial disaster within the neighboring nation affected the numbers. Among the many white inhabitants, 60% communicate Afrikaans, 32% German, 7% English, and 1% Portuguese.


Greetings are particularly essential to Namibians. Namibians are typically oblique communicators. Conversations virtually at all times start with a hiya and the way are you doing. It’s typically thought-about rude to only rush into making an attempt to acquire the precise data you want. Prolonged greetings and handshakes are crucial in most Namibian cultures. When foods and drinks are provided, it’s well mannered to just accept. There’s a basic emphasis on emotional restraint in public, and public shows of affection between spouses or lovers are frowned upon, particularly in rural areas.

Together with a curtsy, one other conventional present of respect is for the greeter to shake together with his or her proper hand whereas on the identical time touching their proper elbow with their left hand. The curtsy and the elbow contact carried out collectively are quite common within the northern areas, particularly the agricultural areas. It’s thought-about widespread courtesy to greet folks in. It’s thought-about disrespectful to not greet folks. When coming into a room for a gathering, it’s best to greet everybody with a handshake if attainable, earlier than sitting down. When asking somebody in a public institution for assist (i.e. instructions, costs, and many others.), at all times greet first and ask how they’re earlier than continuing to enterprise. Typically after shaking somebody’s hand, Namibians will proceed to carry on to one another’s hand whereas conversing, particularly if the 2 individuals are buddies with each other.

When shaking somebody’s hand particularly when its an elder, males are required to nod their heads whereas females are required to bend their knees just a little bit as a type of respect.

Household Constructions and Marriages[edit]

In Namibian, Most households usually are not nuclear households however include otherkin as properly. The top of the family manages home funds, makes essential choices, and organizes productive actions. Mother and father obtain substantial assist with child-rearing from different members of the family. It isn’t uncommon for kids to dwell with different kinfolk if the mother and father have work obligations, the kid must be nearer to high school, or a relative wants a toddler’s assist. Most girls and boys attend major faculty, though generally they keep at residence to assist with the livestock or crops.

Company kin teams are fashioned by ties traced via girls (matrilineal), males (patrilineal), or each (bilateral), relying on ethnicity. These kin teams present a assist community for his or her members and management joint property, particularly livestock; previously, additionally they performed important roles in political and spiritual affairs. There was a basic shift from matrilineal to patrilineal. For instance, wives and youngsters in matrilineal communities can now assert rights to the property of deceased husbands and fathers, which has been historically inherited by the person’s matrilineal kinfolk (his siblings and sisters’ kids).

In a Namibian tradition, the wealth of a household is measured by how a lot cattle it has, and households dwell a semi-nomadic life, following grazing and water sources for his or her livestock. Within the rural communal areas, males and boys typically look after livestock, construct and preserve homesteads, plow fields, and contribute some agricultural labor, whereas girls and women do many of the agricultural labor, meals preparation, childcare, and family work.


Weddings are extraordinarily essential social occasions in Namibia, bringing household and buddies collectively to sing, dance, and feast. Most weddings mix outdated and new parts. Many Owambo {couples}, for instance, say their vows in a church ceremony accompanied by identically-dressed bridesmaids and groomsmen, then exit to a crowd of company shouting praises, dancing, and waving horsetail whisks.

In accordance with the Marriage Act 25 of 1961 (SA), Women and men of full age, with none limitation on account of race, shade, ethnic origin, nationality, faith, creed, or social or financial standing shall have the suitable to marry and to discovered a household. They shall be entitled to equal rights as to marriage, throughout the marriage, and at its dissolution. Marriage shall be entered into solely with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. The household is the pure and basic group unit of society and is entitled to safety by society and the State.[3]


A Namibian literature Ebook

Namibian literature earlier than independence was actually extra an extension of the South African or German literary scene. After independence, at the least initially, there was a motion to publish “Namibian” books and create a real “Namibian literature”. That impetus has since eased off a bit. And Most literature within the indigenous languages consists of conventional tales, quick tales, and novels written for schoolchildren. Printed fiction, poetry, and autobiographical writings seem in each the English and Afrikaans languages.


The Nationwide Theatre of Namibia serves as a venue for each Namibian and international musicians and stage actors, along with helping community-based drama teams. Faculty and church teams create and stage much less formal productions. Conventional dance troupes representing the varied ethnic teams of Namibia carry out at native and nationwide festivals and vacation celebrations and in addition take part in competitions. Many craftspeople produce objects for native use and the vacationer commerce; wooden carvings (containers, furnishings, animals) from the Kavango and basketry from Owambo are the best-known examples. Some craftspeople have fashioned organizations to help one another with manufacturing and advertising and marketing.

Namibia has giant numbers of rock artwork websites scattered throughout the nation, particularly rock engraving websites. One of the best-known rock artwork areas are the Brandberg Massif in Damaraland (2697m – primarily portray websites), and Twyfelfontein, a UNESCO World Heritage rock artwork web site, additionally in Damaraland. Each of those websites are within the Erongo area in northwestern Namibia. One other essential portray space is the Erongo Mountains southeast of the Brandberg.

One of many richest rock portray areas/websites within the subcontinent, the Brandberg has giant numbers of web sites scattered throughout its 750 sq km that are largely the work of ancestral Bushman/San hunter-gatherers and could also be as much as 2,000 years outdated or extra in some instances. In the meantime, Twyfelfontein is without doubt one of the most essential rock engraving websites in southern Africa.Essentially the most celebrated rock portray is The White Woman rock portray, positioned on a panel, additionally depicting different paintings, on a small rock overhang, deep inside Brandberg Mountain. The enormous granite monolith positioned in Damaraland and known as ‘The Brandberg’ is Namibia’s highest mountain. The portray’s German title is Weiße Dame


Within the precolonial interval, indigenous delicacies was characterised by way of a really wide selection of fruits, nuts, bulbs, leaves, and different merchandise gathered from wild vegetation and by the looking of untamed sport. The domestication of cattle within the area about two thousand years in the past by Khoisan teams enabled using milk merchandise and the supply of meat. Nonetheless, throughout the colonial interval, the seizure of communal land in Namibia helped to discourage conventional agriculture and decreased the extent of land accessible to indigenous folks.

For agriculturalists, the staple meals are millet and sorghum; for pastoralists, dairy merchandise. Beans and greens are eaten with millet within the north, however in any other case few greens are grown or consumed. Looking and gathering, extra essential previously, nonetheless supplies a dietary complement for some. Meat is very desired and eaten. Vital events are marked by the slaughter of cattle or goats, and the consumption of meat, home-brewed beer, bought drinks, and different meals. In some cultures, leftover meat is distributed residence with the company.

Meals in Namibian Cultures:

  • oshifima ( Mahangu porridge )
  • Omutete ( conventional spinach)
  • Ombidi ( conventional spinach)
  • Oshikundu ( conventional drink )
  • Omalodu ( conventional breweries which are largely made for Events or Celebrating. )
  • Tripe (Afval)-It is a kind of edible offal from the stomachs of ruminants (e.g. oxen, sheep, goats). This dish is often ready as a curry.


Tradition will also be seen within the clothes that they put on. Girls in several areas of Namibia do costume in a different way from one another. Some girls put on conventional clothes whereas others put on Victorian-styled clothes due to the affect of the missionaries within the space. Herero girls put on conventional model clothes and costume with conventional jewellery. You may as well inform that one lady is completely different in rank by simply observing their hairstyles. A sure coiffure can let you know the age and social standing of the girl in society. What makes the Himba folks distinctive and instantly recognizable is their look and particularly the results of a paste that ladies rub on their our bodies and make them seem like terracotta statues.

Additional studying[edit]

  1. “Islam in Namibia, making an impression”. Islamonline.internet. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  2. “Namibia: Digital Jewish Historical past Tour”. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  3. Marriage Act, 1961 | Namibia Authorized Info Institute

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