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Namibia Population - History

Namibia Population - History

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Namibians are of diverse ethnic origins. The principal groups are the Ovambo, Kavango, Herero/Himba, Damara, mixed race ("Colored" and Rehoboth Baster), white (Afrikaner, German, and Portuguese), Nama, Caprivian (Lozi), Bushman, and Tswana.

The Ovambo make up about half of Namibia's people. The Ovambo, Kavango, and East Caprivian peoples, who occupy the relatively well- watered and wooded northern part of the country, are settled farmers and herders. Historically, they have shown little interest in the central and southern parts of Namibia, where conditions do not suit their traditional way of life.




country comparison to the world: 144
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2009 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 35.9% (male 381,904/female 375,059)
15-64 years: 60.2% (male 641,995/female 627,146)
65 years and over: 3.9% (male 36,894/female 45,667) (2009 est.)

Median age:

total: 21 years
male: 20.9 years
female: 21.1 years (2009 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.95% (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 131

Birth rate:

22.51 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 82

Death rate:

13.3 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 29

Net migration rate:

0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 71


urban population: 37% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 45.51 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 55
male: 48.98 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 41.94 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 51.24 years
country comparison to the world: 205
male: 51.61 years
female: 50.86 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.69 children born/woman (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 84

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

15.3% (2007 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

200,000 (2007 est.)

country comparison to the world: 31

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

5,100 (2007 est.)

country comparison to the world: 44

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2009)


noun: Namibian(s)
adjective: Namibian

Ethnic groups:

black 87.5%, white 6%, mixed 6.5%

note: about 50% of the population belong to the Ovambo tribe and 9% to the Kavangos tribe; other ethnic groups include Herero 7%, Damara 7%, Nama 5%, Caprivian 4%, Bushmen 3%, Baster 2%, Tswana 0.5%


Christian 80% to 90% (Lutheran 50% at least), indigenous beliefs 10% to 20%


English 7% (official), Afrikaans common language of most of the population and about 60% of the white population, German 32%, indigenous languages 1% (includes Oshivambo, Herero, Nama)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 85%
male: 86.8%
female: 83.5% (2001 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2006)

Education expenditures:

6.9% of GDP (2003)

country comparison to the world: 26

Namibia Rural Population 1960-2021

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Namibia Government, History, Population & Geography

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Population: 1,622,328 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 44% (male 362,310 female 354,386)
15-64 years: 52% (male 414,281 female 426,921)
65 years and over: 4% (male 27,001 female 37,429) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.6% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 35.84 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 19.82 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 66.76 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 41.48 years
male: 41.73 years
female: 41.24 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.99 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Namibian(s)
adjective: Namibian

Ethnic groups: black 86%, white 6.6%, mixed 7.4%
note: about 50% of the population belong to the Ovambo tribe and 9% to the Kavangos tribe other ethnic groups are: Herero 7%, Damara 7%, Nama 5%, Caprivian 4%, Bushmen 3%, Baster 2%, Tswana 0.5%

Religions: Christian 80% to 90% (Lutheran 50% at least, other Christian denominations 30%), native religions 10% to 20%

Languages: English 7% (official), Afrikaans common language of most of the population and about 60% of the white population, German 32%, indigenous languages: Oshivambo, Herero, Nama

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 38%
male: 45%
female: 31% (1960 est.)

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Namibia
conventional short form: Namibia

Government type: republic

National capital: Windhoek

Administrative divisions: 13 regions Caprivi, Erongo, Hardap, Karas, Khomas, Kunene, Ohangwena, Okavango, Omaheke, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa

Independence: 21 March 1990 (from South African mandate)

National holiday: Independence Day, 21 March (1990)

Constitution: ratified 9 February 1990 effective 12 March 1990

Legal system: based on Roman-Dutch law and 1990 constitution

Suffrage: 18 years of age universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Sam NUJOMA (since 21 March 1990) note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Sam NUJOMA (since 21 March 1990) note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among the members of the National Assembly
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term election last held 7-8 December 1994 (next to be held NA December 1999)
election results: Sam NUJOMA elected president percent of vote㭈%

Legislative branch: bicameral legislature consists of the National Council (26 seats two members are chosen from each regional council to serve six-year terms) and the National Assembly (72 seats members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: National Council—last held 30 November-3 December 1992 (next to be held by December 1998) National Assembly—last held 7-8 December 1994 (next to be held NA December 1999)
election results: National Council—percent of vote by party—NA seats by party—SWAPO 19, DTA 6, UDF 1 National Assembly—percent of vote by party—SWAPO 73.89%, DTA 20.78%, UDF 2.72%, DCN 0.83%, MAG 0.82% seats by party—SWAPO 53, DTA 15, UDF 2, MAG 1, DCN 1
note: the National Council is a purely advisory body

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges appointed by the president

Political parties and leaders: South West Africa People's Organization or SWAPO [Sam NUJOMA] National Democratic Party for Justice or NDPFJ [Nbhwete NDJOBA] Democratic Turnhalle Alliance of Namibia or DTA [Mishake MUYONGO, president] United Democratic Front or UDF [Justus GAROEB] Monitor Action Group or MAG [Kosie PRETORIUS] Democratic Coalition of Namibia or DCN [Moses K. KATJIUONGUA]

Political pressure groups and leaders: NA

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (subscriber), ITU, NAM, OAU, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Veiccoh NGHIWETE
chancery: 1605 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 986-0540
FAX: [1] (202) 986-0443

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador George F. WARD, Jr. (24 July 1996)
embassy: Ausplan Building, 14 Lossen St., Windhoek
mailing address: Private Bag 12029 Ausspannplatz, Windhoek
telephone: [264] (61) 221601
FAX: [264] (61) 229792

Flag description: a large blue triangle with a yellow sunburst fills the upper left section and an equal green triangle (solid) fills the lower right section the triangles are separated by a red stripe that is contrasted by two narrow white-edge borders

Economy—overview: The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for 20% of GDP. Namibia is the fourth-largest exporter of nonfuel minerals in Africa and the world's fifth-largest producer of uranium. Rich alluvial diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for gem-quality diamonds. Namibia also produces large quantities of lead, zinc, tin, silver, and tungsten. Half of the population depends on agriculture (largely subsistence agriculture) for its livelihood. Namibia must import some of its food. Although per capita GDP is three to six times the per capita GDP of Africa's poorest countries, the majority of Namibia's people live in pronounced poverty because of the great inequality of income distribution and the large amounts going to foreigners. The Namibian economy has close links to South Africa.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$6.2 billion (1996 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 3% (1996 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$3,700 (1996 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 15%
industry: 20%
services: 65% (1995 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 8% (1996 est.)

Labor force:
total: 500,000
by occupation: agriculture 49%, industry and commerce 25%, services 5%, government 18%, mining 3% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 30% to 40%, including underemployment (1997 est.)

revenues: $1.1 billion
expenditures: $1.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $193 million (FY96/97 est.)

Industries: meat packing, fish processing, dairy products mining (diamond, lead, zinc, tin, silver, tungsten, uranium, copper)

Industrial production growth rate: 10% (1994)

Electricity—capacity: 0 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 0 kWh (1995)
note: imports electricity from South Africa

Electricity—consumption per capita: 584 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: millet, sorghum, peanuts livestock fish

total value: $1.45 billion (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: diamonds, copper, gold, zinc, lead, uranium, cattle, processed fish, karakul skins
partners: UK, South Africa, Spain, Japan (1994)

total value: $1.55 billion (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: foodstuffs, petroleum products and fuel, machinery and equipment, chemicals
partners: South Africa 85%, Germany, US, Japan (1994 est.)

Debt—external: $315 million (1996 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA

Currency: 1 Namibian dollar (N$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Nambian dollars (N$) per US$1ת.94193 (January 1998), 4.60796 (1997), 4.29935 (1996), 3.62709 (1995), 3.55080 (1994), 3.26774 (1993)

Fiscal year: 1 April㬛 March

Telephones: 89,722 (1992 est.)

Telephone system:
domestic: good urban services fair rural service microwave radio relay links major towns connections to other populated places are by open wire
international: NA
note: a fully automated digital network is to be operational by 1997

Radio broadcast stations: AM 4, FM 40, shortwave 0

Radios: 195,000 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 3

Televisions: 27,000 (1993 est.)

total: 2,382 km
narrow gauge: 2,382 km 1.067-m gauge single track (1995)

total: 64,799 km
paved: 7,841 km
unpaved: 56,958 km (1996 est.)

Ports and harbors: Luderitz, Walvis Bay

Merchant marine: none

Airports: 135 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 22
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 113
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 20
914 to 1,523 m: 70
under 914 m: 21 (1997 est.)

Military branches: National Defense Force (Army), Police

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 369,826 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 221,624 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $64 million (FY95/96)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 2.1% (FY95/96)

Disputes—international: quadripoint with Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe is in disagreement dispute with Botswana over uninhabited Kasikili (Sidudu) Island in Linyanti (Chobe) River is presently at the ICJ at least one other island in Linyanti River is contested


The city is the administrative, commercial, and industrial center of Namibia. A 1992/93 study estimated that Windhoek provides over half of Namibia's non-agricultural employment, with its national share of employment in utilities being 96%, in transport and communication 94%, finance and business services 82%. [3] Due to its relative size [4] Windhoek is, even more than many other national capital cities, the social, economic, and cultural centre of the country. Nearly every national enterprise is headquartered here. The University of Namibia is, too, as are the country's only theatre, all ministry head offices, and all major media and financial entities. [5] The governmental budget of the city of Windhoek nearly equals those of all other Namibian local authorities combined. [6] Of the 3,300 US$-millionaires in Namibia, 1,400 live in Windhoek. [7]

Transport Edit

Road Edit

Windhoek's three main access roads from Rehoboth, Gobabis, and Okahandja are paved, and are designed to be able to withstand the largest possible flood to be expected in fifty years. Sealed roads can carry traffic moving at 120 kilometres per hour (75 mph) and should last for 20 years.

In 1928, Kaiserstraße, now Independence Avenue, was the first paved road in Windhoek. Ten years later the next one, Gobabis road, now Sam Nujoma Drive, was also paved. Today out of ca. 40,000 kilometres (25,000 mi) of Namibia's total road network, about 5,000 kilometres (3,100 mi) is sealed.

In 2014, The Roads Authority has planned to upgrade the Windhoek-Okahandja road to a dual carriageway. It costs about N$1 billion and is expected to be completed in 2021. Later on, they also plan to upgrade the Windhoek and Hosea Kutako International Airport to a dual carriageway. This is expected to be completed in 2022.

As everywhere in Namibia, public transport is scarce and transportation across town is largely done by taxi there were 6,492 registered taxis in 2013. [8]

Air Edit

Windhoek is served by two airports, with the closest one being Eros, 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) south of the city center for smaller craft, and the other being Hosea Kutako International Airport, 42 kilometres (26 mi) east of the city. A number of foreign airlines operate to and from Windhoek. Air charters and helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft rentals are also available.

Hosea Kutako International Airport handles over 800,000 passengers a year. It has one runway without capacity limitations. The other international airport is located in Walvis Bay, with domestic airports at Luderitz, Oranjemund and Ondangwa.

Eros Airport is the busiest airport in Namibia in terms of take offs and landings. [9] This city airport handles approximately 150 to 200 movements per day (around 50,000 per year). In 2004, the airport served 141,605 passengers, the majority of which are light aircraft. Primarily, limitations such as runway length, noise, and air space congestion have kept Eros from developing into a larger airport. Most of Namibia's charter operators have Eros as their base.

Rail Edit

Expanding the town area has – apart from financial restrictions – proven to be challenging due to its geographical location. In southern, eastern and western directions, Windhoek is surrounded by rocky, mountainous areas, which make land development costly. The southern side is not suitable for industrial development because of the presence of underground aquifers. This leaves the vast Brakwater area north of town the only feasible place for Windhoek's expansion. [10]

Windhoek's City Council has plans to dramatically expand the city's boundaries such that the town area will cover 5,133.4 square kilometres (1,982.0 sq mi). Windhoek would become the third-largest city in the world by area, after Tianjin and Istanbul, although its population density is only 63 inhabitants per square kilometre. [11]

Suburbs Edit

Windhoek is subdivided into the following suburbs and townships: [12]

  • Academia
  • Auasblick
  • Avis
  • Dorado Park
  • Donkerhoek
  • Eros
  • Eros Park
  • Freedom Land (since September 2017) [13]
  • Goreangab
  • Havanna
  • Lafrenz Industrial Area
  • Ludwigsdorf
  • Luxushügel
  • Maxuilili
  • Northern Industrial Area
  • Olympia
  • Ombili
  • Prosperita
  • Southern Industrial Area
  • Suiderhof
  • Tauben Glen
  • Windhoek North

In many of Windhoek's townships residents live in shacks. In 2020 the city had a total of 41,900 of these informal housing structures, accommodating close to 100,000 inhabitants. [14]

Climate Edit

Windhoek has over 300 sunny days per year. [15] It experiences a hot semi-arid climate (BSh) according to Köppen climate classification as the annual average temperature is above 18 °C (64 °F). The temperature throughout the year would be called mild, due to altitude influence. The annual average high and low temperature range is 13.4 °C (56.1 °F). The coldest month is July, with an average temperature of 13.1 °C (55.6 °F), while the hottest month is December, with average temperature 23.5 °C (74.3 °F). Due to its location near the Kalahari Desert, the city receives 3,605 hours of sunshine. Precipitation is abundant during the summer season, and minimal during the winter season. The average annual precipitation is 367.4 millimetres (14.46 in), with lows of 106.7 millimetres (4.20 in) in the 2018/19 rainy season, and 97 millimetres (3.8 in) in 1929/30. [16]

Climate data for Windhoek (1728 m), Namibia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 36.0
Average high °C (°F) 30.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 23.3
Average low °C (°F) 17.2
Record low °C (°F) 7.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 78.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 11.1 10.7 10.5 5.5 1.9 0.7 0.5 0.3 0.9 2.8 5.3 7.5 57.7
Average relative humidity (%) 42 56 51 44 37 32 27 19 17 22 30 34 34
Mean monthly sunshine hours 288 254 282 273 310 309 326 341 321 319 297 285 3,605
Source 1: Deutscher Wetterdienst [17]
Source 2: Danish Meteorological Institute (sun only) [18]

Demographics Edit

In 1971, there were roughly 26,000 whites living in Windhoek, outnumbering the black population of 24,000. About one third of white residents at the time, at least 9,000 individuals, were German speakers. [19] Windhoek's population currently [update] stands at over 325,858 (65% black 17% white 18% other), and is growing 4% annually in part due to informal settlements that have even higher growth rates of nearly 10% a year. [10] In public life, Afrikaans, and to a lesser extent German, are still used as lingua francas even though the government only uses English. [20]

Historical population
YearPop. ±% p.a.
source: [21]

Local authority elections Edit

Windhoek is the only self-governed settlement in Khomas Region. It is governed by a multi-party municipal council that has fifteen seats. [22] The Council meets once a month (each last Wednesday of the month) its decisions are taken collectively and councillors are bound by such decisions. As individuals, council members have no administrative authority. They cannot give orders or otherwise supervise City employees unless specifically directed to do so by the Council. The Council, however, has complete authority over all administrative affairs in the city. Council members devote their official time to problems of basic policy and act as liaisons between the City and the general public.

SWAPO won the 2015 local authority election and gained twelve seats, by having 37,533 votes. Three opposition parties gained one seat each: The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), formerly DTA, with 4,171 votes, the National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO) with 1,453 votes, and the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) with 1,422 votes. [23] SWAPO also won the 2020 local authority election but lost the majority control over the town council. It obtained 20,250 votes and gained five seats. The Independent Patriots for Change (IPC), an opposition party formed in August 2020, obtained 14,028 votes and gained four seats. Two seats each went to the local branch of the Affirmative Repositioning movement (8,501 votes) and the Landless People's Movement (LPM, a new party registered in 2018, 7,365 votes). PDM (5,411 votes) and NUDO (1,455 votes) obtained one seat each. [24]

Twin towns – sister cities Edit

  • Berlin, Germany
  • Havana, Cuba
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Kingston, Jamaica
  • Nanjing, China
  • Richmond, United States
  • San Antonio, United States
  • Shanghai, China
  • Suzhou, China
  • Trossingen, Germany

Windhoek is known as the art capital of Namibia. The National Art Gallery, National Theatre and the National Museum are all located here. Two locations are part of the National Museum, [28] the Alte Feste (historical) showcases a range of colonial items such as wagons and domestic items, while the Owela Museum (scientific named after Owela, a traditional game played with pebbles) contains displays of minerals, fossils and meteorites and gives an insight into traditional village life. There are also the Independence Memorial Museum, the National Library of Namibia and the Windhoek Public Library, built in 1925, next to the Alte Feste. [29]

Places of worship Edit

Architecture Edit

    – (Old Fortress) Built in 1890, today houses the National Museum.
  • Curt von François monument in front of the municipality building. Inaugurated on 18 October 1965 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the second foundation of the town by von François. [31] (Equestrian Monument), a statue celebrating the victory of the German Empire over the Herero and Nama in the Herero and Namaqua War of 1904–1907 [32] The statue has been removed from its historical place next to Christuskirche in December 2013 and is now on display in the yard of the Alte Feste. [33] – situated in Michael Scott Street on Eliakim Namundjebo Plaza. Built between 1994 and 1996 [34] it is Windhoek's only building erected post-independence in an African style of architecture. [35]
  • The three castles of Windhoek built by architect Wilhelm Sander: Heinitzburg, Sanderburg, and Schwerinsburg[36] – (Ink Palace) within Parliament Gardens, the seat of both chambers of the Parliament of Namibia. Built between 1912 and 1913 and situated just north of Robert Mugabe Avenue. – neo-classicist building of Wilhelmine architecture, inaugurated in 1909. [37] – a public park on Independence Avenue in downtown Windhoek. The current park is landscaped and features a pond, playground and open-air theatre. [38]

Sport Edit

Rugby is a popular sport in Namibia, and the national team is called the Welwitchias. Namibia has made the Rugby World Cup on six occasions, in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019, but has never won a game.

Many boxers such as Paulus Moses, Paulus Ambunda and Abmerk Shindjuu are from the city.

The Namibia national cricket team, the Eagles, plays the majority of its home games at the Wanderers Cricket Ground. [39] It has also played at other grounds in the city, including the United Ground and the Trans Namib Ground. [40] [41] The team took part in the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa, though they lost all their games. They have played in each edition of the ICC Intercontinental Cup.

Men's baseball was introduced to Namibia in 1950 at the Ramblers sports club in town.

The 'Tony Rust Raceway' is located west of Windhoek on the Daan Viljoen road, and reopened in 2007. [42]

Tertiary institutions Edit

The general institutions of higher education in Windhoek are:

Other institutions Edit

Other recognisable institutions of higher learning:

Secondary schools Edit

Windhoek has [update] 29 secondary schools and 58 primary schools. [43] Some of the notable schools are:

Etymology Edit

Theories vary on how the place got its modern name of Windhoek. Most believe it is derived from the Afrikaans word wind-hoek (wind corner). Another theory suggests that Captain Jonker Afrikaner named Windhoek after the Winterhoek Mountains at Tulbagh in South Africa, where his ancestors had lived. The first known mention of the name Windhoek was in a letter from Jonker Afrikaner to Joseph Tindall, dated 12 August 1844. [48]

Pre-colonial Edit

In 1840 Jonker Afrikaner established an Orlam settlement at Windhoek. [49] He and his followers stayed near one of the main hot springs, located in the present-day Klein Windhoek suburb. [50] He built a stone church that held 500 people it was also used as a school. Two Rhenish missionaries, Carl Hugo Hahn and Franz Heinrich Kleinschmidt, started working there in late 1842. Two years later they were driven out by two Methodist Wesleyans, Richard Haddy and Joseph Tindall. [51] [52] Gardens were laid out and for a while Windhoek prospered. Wars between the Nama and Herero peoples eventually destroyed the settlement. After a long absence, Hahn visited Windhoek again in 1873 and was dismayed to see that nothing remained of the town's former prosperity. In June 1885, a Swiss botanist found only jackals and starving guinea fowl amongst neglected fruit trees. [53]

Colonial era Edit

A request by merchants from Lüderitzbucht resulted in the declaration in 1884 of a German protectorate over what was called German Southwest Africa (Deutsch-Südwestafrika), now Namibia. The borders of the German colony were determined in 1890 and Germany sent a protective corps, the Schutztruppe under Major Curt von François, to maintain order. [54] Von François stationed his garrison at Windhoek, which was strategically situated as a buffer between the Nama and Herero peoples. The twelve strong springs provided water for the cultivation of produce and grains.

Colonial Windhoek was founded on 18 October 1890, when von François fixed the foundation stone of the fort, which is now known as the Alte Feste (Old Fortress). [55] After 1907, development accelerated as indigenous people migrated from the countryside to the growing town to seek work. More European settlers arrived from Germany and South Africa. Businesses were erected on Kaiser Street (presently Independence Avenue), and along the dominant mountain ridge over the city. At this time, Windhoek's three castles, Heinitzburg, Sanderburg, and Schwerinsburg, were built.

South African administration after World War I Edit

The German colonial era came to an end after the end of World War I but South West Africa, and with it Windhoek, already fell in 1915. [56] Until the end of the war the city was administered by a South African military government, and no further development occurred. [57] In 1920, after the Treaty of Versailles, the territory was placed under a League of Nations Class C mandate and again administered by South Africa. [58]

After World War II more capital became available to improve the area's economy. After 1955, large public projects were undertaken, such as the building of new schools and hospitals, tarring of the city's roads (a project begun in 1928 with Kaiser Street), and the building of dams and pipelines to stabilise the water supply. [53] The city introduced the world's first potable re-use plant in 1958, treating recycled sewage and sending it directly into the town's water supply. [59] On 1 October 1966 the then Administrator of South West Africa granted Windhoek the coat of arms, which was registered on 2 October 1970 with the South African Bureau of Heraldry. Initially a stylized aloe was the principal emblem, but this was amended to a natural aloe (Aloe littoralis) on 15 September 1972. The Coat of Arms is described as "A Windhoek aloe with a raceme of three flowers on an island. Crest: A mural crown Or. Motto: SUUM CUIQUE (To each his own)". [60]

Windhoek formally received its town privileges on 18 October 1965 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the second foundation of the town by von François. [31]

Since Namibian independence Edit

Since independence in 1990, Windhoek has remained the national capital, as well as the provincial capital of the central Khomas Region. Since independence and the end of warfare, the city has had accelerated growth and development.

Population Growth and Population Density

Namibia is one of the least densely populated countries in the world with just 3.13 people per square kilometer, which ranks 226th worldwide. The only sovereign country that is less densely populated is Mongolia with 2 people per square kilometers. The largest city and capital is Windhoek, with a population of about 268,000. This is the only city with a population exceeding 100,000. The next-largest cities are Rundu and Walvis Bay, with about 55,000 people each.

Population development in Namibia since 1960

ChangeBirthrateDeathrate Population
19610.62 M2.45 % 3,075 M1.35 %
19620.63 M2.49 % 3,128 M1.72 %
19630.65 M2.53 % 3,193 M2.07 %
19640.67 M2.56 % 3,258 M2.05 %
19650.68 M2.60 % 3,325 M2.05 %
19660.70 M2.61 % 3,395 M2.10 %
19670.72 M2.62 % 3,464 M2.05 %
19680.74 M2.67 % 3,535 M2.03 %
19690.76 M2.78 % 3,609 M2.11 %
19700.78 M2.90 % 3,685 M2.09 %
19710.80 M3.05 % 3,762 M2.10 %
19720.83 M3.14 % 3,839 M2.04 %
19730.86 M3.13 % 3,915 M1.98 %
19740.88 M2.97 % 3,991 M1.96 %
19750.90 M2.73 % 4,066 M1.87 %
19760.93 M2.50 % 4,139 M1.79 %
19770.95 M2.34 % 4,212 M1.75 %
19780.97 M2.22 % 4,286 M1.75 %
19791.04 M6.71 %43.2 ‰11.6 ‰ 4,358 M1.68 %
19801.06 M2.16 %42.7 ‰11.4 ‰ 4,434 M1.75 %
19811.08 M2.19 %42.2 ‰11.1 ‰ 4,512 M1.76 %
19821.11 M2.24 %41.7 ‰10.8 ‰ 4,593 M1.80 %
19831.13 M2.40 %41.2 ‰10.6 ‰ 4,675 M1.78 %
19841.16 M2.71 %40.7 ‰10.3 ‰ 4,757 M1.75 %
19851.20 M3.09 %40.2 ‰10.0 ‰ 4,840 M1.75 %
19861.24 M3.49 %39.8 ‰9.7 ‰ 4,926 M1.77 %
19871.29 M3.78 %39.4 ‰9.4 ‰ 5,014 M1.78 %
19881.34 M3.87 %39.0 ‰9.2 ‰ 5,102 M1.77 %
19891.39 M3.70 %38.6 ‰8.9 ‰ 5,191 M1.74 %
19901.43 M3.38 %38.2 ‰8.8 ‰ 5,281 M1.74 %
19911.48 M3.03 %37.7 ‰8.6 ‰ 5,369 M1.66 %
19921.52 M2.75 %37.1 ‰8.6 ‰ 5,453 M1.57 %
19931.56 M2.51 %36.5 ‰8.7 ‰ 5,538 M1.56 %
19941.59 M2.36 %35.8 ‰8.8 ‰ 5,623 M1.52 %
19951.63 M2.26 %35.1 ‰9.0 ‰ 5,708 M1.51 %
19961.66 M2.18 %34.4 ‰9.3 ‰ 5,790 M1.45 %
19971.70 M2.08 %33.6 ‰9.7 ‰ 5,873 M1.43 %
19981.73 M1.98 %32.9 ‰10.1 ‰ 5,955 M1.39 %
19991.76 M1.86 %32.3 ‰10.6 ‰ 6,035 M1.35 %
20001.79 M1.74 %31.7 ‰11.0 ‰ 6,115 M1.32 %
20011.82 M1.62 %31.2 ‰11.4 ‰ 6,194 M1.30 %
20021.85 M1.53 %30.7 ‰11.7 ‰ 6,274 M1.28 %
20031.88 M1.49 %30.3 ‰11.9 ‰ 6,353 M1.26 %
20041.91 M1.52 %30.0 ‰12.1 ‰ 6,432 M1.25 %
20051.94 M1.60 %29.8 ‰12.0 ‰ 6,513 M1.25 %
20061.97 M1.70 %29.6 ‰11.8 ‰ 6,594 M1.24 %
20072.01 M1.79 %29.6 ‰11.5 ‰ 6,675 M1.24 %
20082.04 M1.84 %29.7 ‰11.0 ‰ 6,758 M1.24 %
20092.08 M1.84 %30.3 ‰12.0 ‰ 6,841 M1.22 %
20102.12 M1.82 %30.4 ‰11.3 ‰ 6,922 M1.19 %
20112.16 M1.79 %30.5 ‰10.7 ‰ 7,003 M1.17 %
20122.19 M1.77 %30.5 ‰10.0 ‰ 7,086 M1.18 %
20132.23 M1.76 %30.4 ‰9.5 ‰ 7,170 M1.18 %
20142.27 M1.79 %30.2 ‰9.0 ‰ 7,254 M1.18 %
20152.31 M1.82 %29.9 ‰8.7 ‰ 7,339 M1.17 %
20162.36 M1.86 %29.5 ‰8.4 ‰ 7,424 M1.16 %
20172.40 M1.89 %29.1 ‰8.2 ‰ 7,509 M1.14 %
20182.45 M1.90 %28.6 ‰8.1 ‰ 7,592 M1.10 %
20192.49 M1.89 %28.2 ‰7.9 ‰ 7,674 M1.08 %

Namibia Population - History

The Odendaal Plan: "Development" for colonial Namibia

By Dr. Christo Botha, Head of the History Department at the University of Namibia

In 1963 the South African government published the Report of the Commission of Enquiry into South West African Affairs, commonly known as the Odendaal Report, after its chairman, Fox Odendaal, former administrator of the Transvaal Province.
In many ways the report can be considered a watershed in the history of Namibia, but not necessarily in the way the South African government intended.
South Africa's decision to commission a study to recommend the best ways to promote development in Namibia, should be seen against the background of increasing domestic and international opposition to South Africa's occupation. The Odendaal Report can be seen as central to South Africa's political and social-economic response to this offensive.

In a revealing statement in the introduction to the report, the authors effectively conceded that very little had been done to promote development of the African people of Namibia. However the report argued that a sound foundation for development could only be achieved by the white population group, which explained why government support was largely directed at the white commercial farming sector. The Odendaal Commission recommended that the next stage of 'development' should be based on the ethnic division of Namibian society.

The creation of so-called homelands for each ethnic group was proposed, not because it was believed that it would provide a better way of promoting development, but because it was argued that a unitary Namibia would lead to constant conflict caused by ethnic rivalry. Critics argued that this blueprint would merely reproduce white domination and splinter development projects. However, to understand why the Odendaal plan failed to achieve its objectives, one should look beyond the ethnic argument. The plan failed to bring development due to its inadequate investment in human resources and the fact that its primary aim was clearly political manipulation, rather than economic development. The plan did have some positive outcomes. A lot of money was made available for capital projects in Namibia. For the first time piped water was channelled to communities in Owamboland. Significant concessions in land were also granted to African communities to expand the former communal reserves. In the former Damaraland alone, 223 white farms were purchased to be included in the new homeland (in purely statistical terms, the land made available to black Namibians in terms of the Odendaal plan substantially exceeds that which has been made available by the Namibian government since independence).

The huge Kunene Hydro-electric scheme was developed in the 1970s to provide power to towns and industries in the rest of Namibia. The Bantu Investment Corporation (BIC) was established to promote small-scale industrial and commercial development in homelands through loans to entrepreneurs, traders and artisans. A significant expansion of health and educational facilities (clinics, hospitals, schools and colleges) took place.

However the fatal weakness of the plan was that it was conceived as an instrument to achieve political, not socio-economic goals. African participation in the administration was to take place in a segregated fashion, thereby preventing the development of an integrated economy and society in Namibia.

Whilst training and education opportunities increased people were channelled into the very limited economic opportunities in the homelands or a few low-paid jobs in the white dominated central area of Namibia What is significant about the way the Odendaal recommendations were implemented, is the fact that unlike in South Africa and Zimbabwe, for example, colonial officials did not drastically intervene in the affairs of African communities in Namibia to support development. In South Africa in the 1950s, this was called betterment. It derived from concerns about soil degradation and its aim was to reorganise communities by separating land into sections for the grazing of stock, cultivation and settlement. The same happened in Zimbabwe when the Native Land Husbandry Act was introduced to compel people to utilise land more effectively, i.e. like commercial farmers. In Namibia when people were resettled in the new homelands, each family was granted a section of a former commercial farm, usually a camp or two.

Here they were supposed to farm effectively, meaning that they were to sell-off excess stock, maintain and repair infrastructure, practice scientific farming practices, in short, invest capital in order to maximise income. The problem however, was that hardly anybody possessed the resources to do this most were very poor, they possessed very little stock and had no access to credit, either private or public. It is no surprise that people failed to farm scientifically and rather simply tried to survive. Interestingly enough, the colonial administration, while constantly telling people what poor farmers they were, avoided introducing drastic steps to force black people to comply with official guidelines. South Africa wanted to establish a social layer of wealthier peasant farmers, who, together with small groups of traders and lower middle class people (teachers, nurses, civil servants) could provide support for the states campaign against political organisations, such as SWAPO. To achieve its political objectives, South Africa resisted introducing measures that would alienate African people in homelands and turned a blind eye to corruption and mismanagement in these areas. The destructive message of the Odendaal plan was that local economic development was dependent upon effective ethnic political mobilisation. Ethnic groups were constructed as competitors, rather than Namibians with a common national interest.


The United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) opened operations in April 1989. After a disastrous start—in which South African forces massacred PLAN forces seeking to report to UNTAG to be confined to designated areas—UNTAG slowly gained control over the registration and electoral process in most areas.

The election of 1989, held under the auspices of the UN, gave SWAPO 57 percent of the vote and 60 percent of the seats. Sam Nujoma, the longtime leader of SWAPO, became president. With two-thirds majorities needed to draft and adopt a constitution, some measure of reconciliation was necessary to avoid deadlock. In fact, SWAPO and the business community—as well as many settlers—wanted a climate of national reconciliation in order to achieve a relatively peaceful initial independence period.

As a result, a constitution emphasizing human, civil, and property rights was adopted unanimously by the end of 1990, and reconciliation with settlers and (to a degree) with South Africa became the dominant mood. For the new government, the costs of reconciliation included retaining about 15,000 unneeded white civil servants, deferring the landownership and mineral-company terms issues, and offering de facto amnesty for all pre-independence acts of violence (including those of SWAPO against suspected spies and dissidents in Angola in the late 1980s). The benefits were the takeover of a functioning public administration and economy (with growth rising to 3 percent in 1990) and grudging but real South African cooperation on fishing and use of Walvis Bay. Above all, South Africa forebore from mounting destabilization measures or creating proxy armed forces.

On March 21, 1990, the South African flag was lowered and Namibia’s raised at the National Stadium Namibia subsequently joined the Commonwealth, the UN, and the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union). Diplomatic relations were established with many countries. The Namibian Defense Force—which included members of PLAN as well as the former South West African Territory Force—was created with the assistance of British military advisers.

South Africa agreed to a transition to Namibian sovereignty over Walvis Bay, which was effected in 1994. It also agreed to a revised boundary along the Orange River, giving Namibia riparian rights the earlier border had been placed on the north bank and thus left Namibia without water rights. Namibia remained a member of the Southern African Customs Union.

The political climate was calm. The main opposition party, the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (heir to South Africa’s puppet government efforts and beneficiary of considerable South African funds for campaign financing), held almost one-third of the seats in the legislature but was neither particularly constructive nor totally obstructive. In the 1994 national elections, SWAPO consolidated its hold on power, surpassing the two-thirds majority needed to revise the constitution—which it did in 1998, passing an amendment that allowed President Nujoma to run for a third term. Despite widespread disapproval of the amendment, Nujoma was easily reelected in 1999.

SWAPO maintained its hold on power in the country’s 1999 elections, in the face of allegations from the opposition—now headed by a SWAPO splinter party, the Congress of Democrats—that the government was engaging in authoritarian practices. Opponents also questioned the government’s 1998 decision to dispatch troops to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to support the government of Congolese President Laurent Kabila during that country’s civil war. The government generated even greater controversy in 1999 when it granted the Angolan government permission to pursue Angolan rebels into Namibian territory, leading to unrest along the border that did not subside until 2002.

At the beginning of the 21st century and after its first decade of independence, Namibia stood apart from many other African countries as a model of political and economic stability. Nevertheless, the country still had serious matters to address. As in much of Africa, the spread of AIDS was a concern: by 2000 one in five adult Namibians was infected. Another issue at the forefront was land reform—the government program of purchasing farmland owned by the white minority and redistributing it to the historically disadvantaged and landless black Namibians. The controversy surrounding land reform continued to escalate in the first decade of the new century as the slow progress of the program frustrated many, and the threat of forcible seizures of farmland loomed.

The new millennium also saw the democratic transfer of power in the country. After leading Namibia since the country gained independence, Nujoma stepped down from office at the end of his third term. Fellow SWAPO member Hifikepunye Pohamba prevailed in the November 2004 presidential elections and was inaugurated the next year. In the presidential and parliamentary elections of November 2009, Pohamba was reelected, and SWAPO maintained its hold on the majority of parliamentary seats. International observers, while noting that some aspects of electoral procedures needed improvement, declared that the elections were largely transparent and fair. Several opposition groups, however, refused to accept the results of the election, claiming that the country’s electoral laws had been violated. The parties filed an appeal of the results with the High Court in early 2010 and the case moved through the judicial system before finally being dismissed by the Supreme Court in 2012.

Prior to the 2014 elections, controversial constitutional amendments were passed that included provisions for holding elections on one day rather than over the course of two days, increasing the number of seats in Parliament, and creating a new vice president position. Although the government maintained that it was necessary to pass the amendments ahead of the upcoming elections, critics claimed that many of the provisions in the new amendments would benefit the SWAPO party and were rushed through without adequate public discussion while SWAPO maintained the necessary two-thirds majority in Parliament—something which could not be guaranteed after the elections.

Presidential and parliamentary elections were held on November 28, 2014. With Pohamba barred from standing for a third term as president, Prime Minister Hage Geingob was SWAPO’s presidential candidate. Geingob won easily, with 86.73 percent of the vote, and SWAPO won an overwhelming majority in the parliamentary vote. Geingob was inaugurated on March 21, 2015, which was Namibia’s 25th anniversary of independence. Geingob was reelected in the November 27, 2019, presidential election, taking 56.3 percent of the vote—enough to avoid a runoff election but a much smaller total than he had won in 2014. Likewise, SWAPO won a majority of the parliamentary vote but saw its share of seats fall from the 2014 elections. Geingob and SWAPO’s support appeared to be affected by the economic recession the country was mired in, as well as by a corruption scandal involving two cabinet ministers.

Culture and traditions

Namibia is filled with many traditions and different ways of life, and the German presence is just one of them. Namibia’s German population is relatively small, but the group controls a large portion of the country’s resources by farming land passed down by the first German settlers.

A popular event that welcomes Namibians from around the country is the annual Oktoberfest, which features traditional games such as “Stamm-sägen” (log sawing), dancing and a taste of authentic German food. The Windhoek Karneval (or WIKA) is also a widely popular celebration of German culture, and is one of the largest in the country, taking place over two weeks in March or April every year. WIKA consists of a “Prinzen ball” or royal ball, parades through the capital city, traditional performances and a mini festival for children.

Organisations such as the Goethe-Institut have also been established in the country to teach people about German culture and offers classes in the German language.

Namibia Country ,Population, Capital City, Language, Tourism, Map, History, Culture, Facts

Namibia is a country in Southern Africa. Its western border is the Atlantic Ocean it shares land borders with Zambia and Angola to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. Although it does not border Zimbabwe, less than 200 metres (660 feet) of the Zambezi River separates the two countries. Namibia gained independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990, following the Namibian War of Independence. Its capital and largest city is Windhoek. Namibia is a member state of the United Nations (UN), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the Commonwealth of Nations.

The driest country in Sub-Saharan Africa,Namibia has been inhabited since early times by the San, Damara and Nama people. Around the 14th century, immigrating Bantu peoples arrived as part of the Bantu expansion. Since then, the Bantu groups, the largest being the Ovambo, have dominated the population of the country since the late 19th century, they have constituted a majority.

In 1878, the Cape of Good Hope, then a British colony, annexed the port of Walvis Bay and the offshore Penguin Islands these became an integral part of the new Union of South Africa at its creation in 1910. In 1884 the German Empire established rule over most of the territory, forming a colony known as German South West Africa. It developed farming and infrastructure. Between 1904 and 1908 it perpetrated a genocide against the Herero and Nama people. German rule ended in 1915 with a defeat by South African forces. In 1920, after the end of World War I, the League of Nations mandated administration of the colony to South Africa. As Mandatory power, South Africa imposed its laws, including racial classifications and rules. From 1948, with the National Party elected to power, this included South Africa applying apartheid to what was then known as South West Africa.

In the later 20th century, uprisings and demands for political representation by native African political activists seeking independence resulted in the UN assuming direct responsibility over the territory in 1966, but South Africa maintained de facto rule. In 1973 the UN recognised the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) as the official representative of the Namibian people the party is dominated by the Ovambo, who are a large plurality in the territory. Following continued guerrilla warfare, South Africa installed an interim administration in Namibia in 1985. Namibia obtained full independence from South Africa in 1990. However, Walvis Bay and the Penguin Islands remained under South African control until 1994.

Namibia has a population of 2.6 million people and a stable multi-party parliamentary democracy. Agriculture, tourism and the mining industry – including mining for gem diamonds, uranium, gold, silver and base metals – form the basis of its economy, while the manufacturing sector is comparatively small. The large, arid Namib Desert from which the country derived its name has resulted in Namibia being overall one of the least densely populated countries in the world.


The dry lands of Namibia have been inhabited since early times by San, Damara, and Nama. Around the 14th century, immigrating Bantu people began to arrive during the Bantu expansion from central Africa.
From the late 18th century onward, Oorlam people from Cape Colony crossed the Orange River and moved into the area that today is southern Namibia.Their encounters with the nomadic Nama tribes were largely peaceful. They received the missionaries accompanying the Oorlam very well,granting them the right to use waterholes and grazing against an annual payment.On their way further north, however, the Oorlam encountered clans of the OvaHerero at Windhoek, Gobabis, and Okahandja, who resisted their encroachment. The Nama-Herero War broke out in 1880, with hostilities ebbing only after the German Empire deployed troops to the contested places and cemented the status quo among the Nama, Oorlam, and Herero.

The first Europeans to disembark and explore the region were the Portuguese navigators Diogo Cão in 1485 and Bartolomeu Dias in 1486, but the Portuguese did not try to claim the area. Like most of interior Sub-Saharan Africa, Namibia was not extensively explored by Europeans until the 19th century. At that time traders and settlers came principally from Germany and Sweden. In the late 19th century, Dorsland Trekkers crossed the area on their way from the Transvaal to Angola. Some of them settled in Namibia instead of continuing their journey.


Tourism is a major contributor (14.5%) to Namibia's GDP, creating tens of thousands of jobs (18.2% of all employment) directly or indirectly and servicing over a million tourists per year.[132] The country is a prime destination in Africa and is known for ecotourism, which features Namibia's extensive wildlife.[133]

There are many lodges and reserves to accommodate ecotourists. Sport and trophy hunting is also a large and growing component of the Namibian economy, accounting for 14% of total tourism in the year 2000, or 19.6 million U.S. dollars, with Namibia boasting numerous species sought after by international sport hunters.[134]

In addition, extreme sports such as sandboarding, skydiving and 4x4ing have become popular, and many cities have companies that provide tours.[citation needed] The most visited places include the capital city of Windhoek, Caprivi Strip, Fish River Canyon, Sossusvlei, the Skeleton Coast Park, Sesriem, Etosha Pan and the coastal towns of Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Lüderitz.[135]

Windhoek plays a very important role in Namibia's tourism due to its central location and close proximity to Hosea Kutako International Airport. According to The Namibia Tourism Exit Survey, which was produced by the Millennium Challenge Corporation for the Namibian Directorate of Tourism, 56% of all tourists visiting Namibia in 2012󈝹 visited Windhoek.[136] Many of Namibia's tourism-related parastatals and governing bodies such as Namibia Wildlife Resorts, Air Namibia and the Namibia Tourism Board as well as Namibia's tourism-related trade associations such as the Hospitality Association of Namibia are headquartered in Windhoek.[137] There are also a number of notable hotels in Windhoek, such as Windhoek Country Club Resort, and some international hotel chains, such as Hilton Hotels and Resorts.

Namibia's primary tourism-related governing body, the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB), was established by an Act of Parliament: the Namibia Tourism Board Act, 2000 (Act 21 of 2000). Its primary objectives are to regulate the tourism industry and to market Namibia as a tourist destination.There are also a number of trade associations that represent the tourism sector in Namibia, such as the Federation of Namibia Tourism Associations (the umbrella body for all tourism associations in Namibia), the Hospitality Association of Namibia, the Association of Namibian Travel Agents, Car Rental Association of Namibia and the Tour and Safari Association of Namibia.


Up to 1990, English, German, and Afrikaans were official languages. Long before Namibia's independence from South Africa, SWAPO was of the opinion that the country should become officially monolingual, choosing this approach in contrast to that of its neighbour South Africa (which granted all 11 of its major languages official status), which it saw as "a deliberate policy of ethnolinguistic fragmentation" Consequently, SWAPO instituted English as Namibia's sole official language, though only about 3% of the population speaks it as a home language. Its implementation is focused on the civil service, education and the broadcasting system, especially the state broadcaster NBC.Some other languages have received semi-official recognition by being allowed as medium of instruction in primary schools. Private schools are expected to follow the same policy as state schools, and "English language" is a compulsory subject.Some critics argue that, as in other postcolonial African societies, the push for monolingual instruction and policy has resulted in a high rate of school drop-outs and of individuals whose academic competence in any language is low.

According to the 2011 census, the most common languages are Oshiwambo (the most spoken language for 49% of households),Khoekhoegowab (11.3%), Afrikaans (10.4%), RuKwangali (9%), and Otjiherero (9%).The most widely understood national language is Afrikaans, the country's lingua franca. Both Afrikaans and English are used primarily as a second language reserved for public communication. A complete list of languages according to the 2011 census is 48.9% Oshiwambo, 11.3% Khoekhoegowab, 10.4% Afrikaans, 8.6% Otjiherero, 8.5% RuKwangali, 4.8% siLozi, 3.4% English, 1.2% Other African Languages, 0.9% German, 0.8% San, 0.7% Other European Languages, 0.3% Setswana, and 0.1% Asian Languages.

Most of the white population speaks either German or Afrikaans. Even today, 106 years after the end of the German colonial era, German plays a role as a commercial language. Afrikaans is spoken by 60% of the white community, German by 32%, English by 7% and Portuguese by 4𔃃%.Geographical proximity to Portuguese-speaking Angola explains the relatively high number of Portuguese speakers in 2011 these were estimated to be 100,000, or 4𔃃% of the total population.