Namibian Independence Day

Namibia Public Holiday in Namibia

This public holiday was established to celebrate the anniversary of Namibia's independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990.

When is Namibian Independence Day?

How long until Independence Day?
This holiday next takes place in 306 Days.
Dates of
Year Weekday Date
2020 Saturday March 21
2019 Thursday March 21
2018 Wednesday March 21
2017 Tuesday March 21
1 Day
Marks independence from South African mandate in 1990

This national holiday is celebrated on 21 March each year.

The holiday celebrates Namibia's independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990.

History of Namibian Independence Day

The European powers started to show an interest in the region at the start of the nineteenth century. In 1884, fearing the British was about to take control of the whole of Southern Africa, Namibia was made a German colony called German South West Africa. Following Germany's defeat in the First World War, the League of Nations mandated South Africa, who had occupied the country during the war, to administer the territory.

In April 1946, after the Second World War, the League of Nations was dissolved and succeed by United Nations. The UN instituted a Trusteeship system to bring all the former German colonies in Africa under UN control.

South Africa refused to give up control, arguing that a majority of the territory's people were content with South African rule. While the region wasn't formally made part of South Africa, it was essentially treated as such and was called South-West Africa.

Since the 1960's there had been external and internal pressure for South Africa to give up control and give independence to the territory as was happening across the Africa at that time as the Europeans began relinquishing their colonial control over the continent.

In the 1970's the independence of neighbouring states such as Zambia and Angola give a base for resistance against South Africa with a guerrilla group, the People's Liberation Army of Namibia leading the armed struggle for independence as part of the Namibian War of Independence.

It took until 1988 before South Africa agreed to end its occupation of Namibia, in accordance with a UN peace plan for the entire region.

The country officially gained independence on 21 March 1990 changing its name to Namibia and adopting its current flag. Sam Nujoma was sworn in as the first President of Namibia at a ceremony attended by Nelson Mandela of South Africa, who had only been released from prison the month before.

Did you know?

Namibia is named after the Namib Desert, which is thought to be the oldest desert in the world.

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