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Namibia

2020 Stamp Programme

  1.   20 February 2020:  Squirrels of Namibia
  2.   02 April 2020:  Woodpeckers
  3.   18 June 2020:  Batsies
  4.   20 August 2020:  Kites of Namibia

The Republic of Namibia (Republiek van Namibië in Afrikaans and Republik Namibia in German) 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 recognized 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.

NamPost is the company responsible for postal service in Namibia. It currently has 743 employees and reserves of 2.51 million N$. The CEO of NamPost is Festus Hangula.

The first postal services in South West Africa started in 1814 with the deployment of messengers facilitating communication between the early mission stations at Warmbad and Bethanie and later to Keetmanshoop and Gross Barmen. This service was expanded in 1846, connecting the South West African mission stations to those in South Africa.

The first post office of South West Africa was founded in Otjimbingwe on 7 July 1888 when the regular postal service began using German postage stamps and postmarks reading OTYIMBINGUE. The service continued in this fashion for a number of years, eventually expanding to additional post offices in Windhoek (1891) and Swakopmund (1895).

The first stamp issue for the colony consisted of overprints applied to German stamps in May 1897, reading “Deutsch- / Südwest-Afrika” at an angle. On 15 November 1898, the overprint was changed to “Deutsch- / Südwestafrika” dropping the hyphen.

in 1900, the omnibus Yacht issue included stamps for South West Africa, printed on watermarked paper after 1906. The last of these was a 3 Mark value, printed in 1919, but never put on sale in the colony. Some values, such as the 3 and 5 Pfennig Yachts, are readily available today, with prices of around US$1. The others range up to several hundred dollars. The high values of the watermarked Yachts saw very little usage before the colony was captured, and genuinely used stamps are up to 10 times more valuable; but many of the used stamps are known to have forged cancellations.

The South African Army overran German South West Africa in 1914–15 and, in 1922, a League of Nations mandate gave South Africa the responsibility of administering the colony, now renamed South West Africa. South Africa controlled the postal service until Namibian independence in 1990. After World War II, the mandate was supposed to transform the colony into a United Nations Trust Territory, but South Africa objected to it coming under UN control and refused to allow the territory’s transition to independence, regarding it as a fifth province.

Stamps issued by the Union of South Africa were used from 1914 until 1923. The first stamps inscribed “South West Africa” were issued bilingually in English and Afrikaans (Suidwes Afrika) on 1 January 1923. From 1970, the abbreviation “SWA” was in general use. However, some postmarks featured German as well as Afrikaans and English.

In 1973, South West Africa became part of the South African post code system, using the number range 9000-9299. This was withdrawn from use after the territory gained independence as Namibia in 1990. In addition, Afrikaans was removed from postmarks, which, following independence, were in English only.

In 1989, the last stamps of South West Africa were a set of 15 depicting minerals and mining. Following independence, most of the designs were kept with only the name changed (cuprite was dropped and willemite added for the Namibian issue) and the removal of Afrikaans names. Another problem was that one of the stamps, for boltwoodite, had an error in its chemical equation. This was corrected in the Namibian issue. Namibia has issued regular definitive and commemorative stamps since independence in 1990.

In 1992 NamPost was founded, managing 92 post offices in Namibia. In 2012 this number had risen to 135.