Home > Brief History
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
Overlooking downtown Windhoek, this beautiful landmark is a constant reminder to the German colonial and apartheid periods of Namibia's past.
|The Rider Memorial
Statue in commemoration of German soldiers killed in the Herero and Nama wars.
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