With just 2.1 persons per square kilometers and a population of 1.8 million, Namibia’s different cultures span an impressively diverse population for what is a sparsely populated country. From the Bantu – speaking Ovambo and Herero tribes (the latter of which are admired for their colourful Victorian dress) to the Damara minorities and nomadic San Bushmen, Namibia boasts cultural and historical flavour in spades.

German colonization left its own imprint on this southern African nation with German being a widely spoken language today and German architecture and cuisine featuring prominently. Namibia’s diverse and, at times, harsh climate contributed to its colourful history with skirmishes, reflected in much of its modern history. Those who opposed colonial rule preferred Namibia, from a Nama/ Damara word meaning “shield” used for the coastal desert, the Namib, which long protected the interior from access by sea.

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There are lot of tribes in Namibia, but a few will be mentioned which are The San people, The Nama, The Damara. Despite the small population, there is great linguistics variety. Most Namibians speak Bantu languages like Oshiwambo and Otjiherero as their first language (Nama/Damara and various Bushman languages), while a smaller percentage are native speakers of Indo-European languages like Afrikaans and English.

For Agriculturalist, the staple foods are millet and sorghum, for pastoralists, diary products. Beans and greens are eaten with millet in the north, but otherwise few vegetables are grown or consumed. Hunting and gatherings, more important in the past, still provides a dietary supplement for some. Meat is highly desired and eaten. Important occasions are marked by the slaughter of cattle or goats, and the consumption of meat, home brewed beer, purchased beverages, and other foods. In some cultures, left over meat is sent home with the guests.

Regarding trade, diamonds and other minerals are the most important exports, followed by processed and unprocessed fish, other food products, and live animals. The main export destinations include the United Kingdom, South Africa and Spain. Most imports are purchased from South Africa, and include food and beverages as well as a wide variety of manufactured goods. Imports slightly exceed exports.

Going through social stratification, Namibia is characterized by classes and castes, symbols of social system. Political life, military activity, leadership posts etc.

Although a small percentage of the population practices traditional religions, the vast majority are Christians. The Lutheran Church is the largest, other major denominations include the Catholic, Dutch reformed, and Anglican churches. Easter and Christmas are public holidays and especially popular times for travel so families can gather together.

Weddings are extremely important social events in Namibia, bringing family and friends together to sing, dance and feast. Most weddings, combine old and new elements. Many Owambo couples, for example, say their vows in a church ceremony accompanied by identically dressed bridesmaids and groomsmen, exit to a crowd of guests shouting praises dancing and waving horse tail whisks.

Corporate kin group are formed by ties traced through women (matrilineal), men (patrilineal) or both (bilateral), depending on ethnicity. These kin groups provide a support network for their members and control joint property especially live stock. There has been a general shift from matrilinealism to patrilinealism for example, wives and children in matrilineal communities can now assert rights to the property of deceased husbands and fathers, which has been traditionally inherently by the man’s matrilineal relatives (his siblings and sister’s children).

They have a great taste when it comes to art, graphics, literature etc. As for crafts, people produce objects for local use and the tourists trade, wood cravings (containers, furniture, animals) from the Kavango and basketry from Owambo are the best known examples. The national theatre of Namibia serves as a venue for both Namibian, foreign musicians and stage actors. Traditional dance troupes representing the various ethnic groups of Namibia perform at local and national festivals and holiday celebrations, and also participate in competitions.

There are lots of buildings in the central and southern Namibia (formerly known as the police zone). Today it consists of large commercial farms and widely scattered towns with western – style buildings, some distinctly German. In the rural communal areas (former ethnic homelands) there are a variety of architectural styles in addition to Western buildings. Construction materials include sticks and logs, earth and thatch. Houses maybe round, square, or beehive shaped in some areas, clusters of huts are enclosed in wooden Palisades.

Lots and lots of festivals celebrations are held every year in Namibia. These festivals are always widely expressed as a good fortune in the deeds of their people.



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