Happy Independence Weekend

Martha Mukaiwa

It’s the weekend after Namibia’s Independence Day, and the most visionary among us have taken Friday off.

Anticipating that the saka would indeed be los, we’ve made the necessary arrangements to ensure we can happily test drive a three-day workweek while the nation debates the merits of working for a solid four.

Set loose for an extra hour or two with thanks to those who fought for and won Namibia’s freedom, today is as good a time as any to celebrate the things we appreciate about the country we call home.

First on the list is Namibia’s commitment to peace.

Having recently navigated the death of then sitting president Hage Geingob, Namibia stood tall as president Nangolo Mbumba ascended to the highest office without the Namibian Defence Force needing to show anyone who’s boss.

While abrupt changes in the guard can spark dissent, unrest and even civil war, Namibia is the kind of place where people of all politics and persuasions came together to honour the leader who steered the nation for almost a decade.

While we’re on the topic of the late president, another thing Namibians can appreciate about the land of the bravely telling it like it is, is our notable press freedom.

During his tenure, Geingob declared that, as long as he was president, the freedom of the press was guaranteed.

As a result, newspapers like The Namibian can report and opine about the state of the nation without fear of censorship, incarceration or assassination.

Namibia consistently ranks number one or two on press freedom in Africa and was ranked 22nd globally last year.

In a world where 99 journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2023 – more than 70% of those were Palestinians – this is no small thing.

Moving from politics to the character of our people, Namibia is a melting pot of diverse cultures and is home to some of the friendliest folks the world has to offer.

While international travel can reveal cultures in which it is bizarre to greet strangers, strike up conversation on public transport or make fast friends of those you encounter out and about, Namibians are a different breed and are always quick to find the humour in a situation.

The warmth of the Namibian sun is reflected in her people, so it is no wonder that, while somewhat underrated, Namibia is a travel destination that rarely fails to capture visitors’ hearts.

As for her natural charms, Namibia is a thing of beauty and human history.

The site of the world’s oldest desert, the Namib, one of earth’s tallest sand dunes, Dune 7, and the planet’s second-largest canyon, the Fish River Canyon, Namibia also boasts Africa’s largest concentration of petroglyphs (rock engravings) at Twyfelfontein.

The famously doubtful fountain is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation World Heritage Site alongside the Namib Sand Sea, a stunning coastal fog desert that includes Sandwich Harbour and Sossusvlei.

A bucket list destination for wanderers keen on wildlife, given their proliferation within the Etosha and Waterberg national parks, Namibia is an animal lover’s dream.

Though a segue from wildlife to meat may seem a little insensitive, a list of what’s to love about Namibia is incomplete without a shout-out to the country’s beef.

Generally free range and farmed without the use of hormones, Namibian beef is globally renowned and a crowning glory.

Here at home, we keep it simple.

Served as strips of kapana prepared by the skilled vendors at Windhoek’s Single Quarters or cooked on a blazing fire surrounded by family and friends, meat is where Namibians meet.

This Independence Day weekend, may we all be blessed with some of Namibia’s finest – a succulent slice of beef and a cold Windhoek Lager enjoyed below the brilliance of Namibia’s splendid sun.

– martha@namibian.com.na; Martha Mukaiwa on Twitter and Instagram, marthamukaiwa.com

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