Namibia is a sparsely populated country on Africa’s western coast which is made up mainly of desert, containing as it does the arid Namib Desert and part of the Kalahari. Much of the population is therefore consigned to urban areas and the coast, although the northern Bushveld region is far more fertile than the rest of the country and has become a tourist destination due to the extensive wildlife in the area. Namibia only achieved independence from South Africa in 1990, following a guerrilla war which lasted from 1966 until 1988. Susan Brown looks at this struggle for independence in her book Histories of Namibia.
Prior to South African colonisation Namibia was a German Imperial Protectorate from 1884 until the end of World War I. Germany was responsible for several atrocities in the country including the massacre of thousands of the Herero ethnic group. This is examined in some depth in Casper W. Erichsen’s The Kaiser's Holocaust. Since independence Namibia has maintained multi-party democratic government and profited from the richness of its natural resources, as well as the growing tourism trade. However poverty is still pervasive in this country and the issue of the white population’s disproportionate ownership of farmland has recently come to the fore, with government plans to resettle many farmers.
Demographically the majority of Namibia’s two million people come from Bantu speaking ethnic groups such as the Ovambo, as well as from smaller ethnic groups such as the Herero and the Himba. Approximately 7 per cent of the population is white, with a similar linguistic and ancestral background as white South Africans. Riccardo Orizio’s Lost White Tribes looks into the descendants of the original European settlers in the Namibia. Culturally Namibia is a reflection of these distinctive ethnic groups and the geographic and environmental diversity which exists in the country. The most prominent contemporary writer from Namibia is Neshani Andreas who won acclaim for her novel The Purple Violet of Oshaantu. Some other books about Namibia include Christine Baillet’s Namibia and Peter Joyce’s This is Namibia. Henno Martin’s The Sheltering Desert is the story of two young Germans seeking refuge in the Namib Desert during World War II.