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Title of Paper Goes here
Service Learning for Social Justice

Brief History

Current Status of Namibia

Apartheid Issues

Effects of Apartheid on Physical Education & Sports

Other School Issues in Namibia

Girls & Women in Namibia

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Home > Brief History

Brief History

Overlooking downtown Windhoek, this beautiful landmark is a constant reminder to the German colonial and apartheid periods of Namibia's past.
The Rider Memorial
The Rider Memorial
Statue in commemoration of German soldiers killed in the Herero and Nama wars.
Because many issues pertaining to physical education and sport (especially when talking about gender) erupt from a culture or society's history, a brief description of where Namibia is and how the people of Namibia arrived there is in order. Namibia, located on the southwest coast of the African continent, is about half the size of Alaska with less than one percent arable land in its desert climate.2

Before the late 18th century, nomadic people who traveled the land with their cattle inhabited Namibia. Land ownership was a concept unknown to the people. However, in 1884, Germans arrived and German colonial power ruled until 1917. This "forced" colonization of the Namibian people cost the country more than 60 percent of the African population. 3

The German colonial period is still very much present in Namibia as evidenced by the street signs and German-speaking people. The house we stayed at during our stay in Namibia was located on the corner of Jenner and Simpson St., with Beethovenstrasse just a block over. The capital city of Windhoek has a main street running straight thru the bustling downtown called "Independence St.". Until recently, this street was known as "Kaiser Street".

Sitting atop a hill overlooking the setting sun in downtown Windhoek, is a Namibian landmark, the Christuskirche, a tall-steepled German Evangelical Lutheran church. Directly across the street is the Rider Memorial, built in 1912 in commemoration of German soldiers killed in the Herero and Nama wars. While some 65-80,000 Herero people were killed, there are no memorials or evidence reminding people of the injustices that occurred towards the Namibian peoples. 4

The South African period (1917-1990), which contained the imposition of apartheid as well as a 26-year war for independence between the South African Army (SADF) and the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) followed the German colonial period. In March of 1990, after years of struggle and war, Namibia finally became an independent nation.

Paper and photos by Bonnie J. Reimann.


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