On June 30, 2015, the International School Network visited the Embassy of Namibia in Tokyo, Japan, to interview Ambassador Ms. Sophia N. Nangombe, about her country.
Cultures in Namibia - by Kate
Namibia is the best country to visit in the world to meet people from diverse cultures. While having the influence of European culture which advances modernisation in Namibia, there are still many cultural minorities who cherish their tradition. For example, the Himba tribe who are considered the last nomadic tribe in Namibia has refused to modernise and chose to follow their traditions. Although the official language in Namibia is English, there are numerous other national languages which include indigenous languages representing the Namibian culture. German is also widely spoken language in Namibia since Namibia was a colony of Germany. The nation was recognized as German South West Africa before Namibia won independence on 21 March 1990.
Namibia has a history where the whole nation fought through the struggle for independence. Cultural values the Namibian people established through its history are unity, liberty and justice. After the war, everyone had the same vision of their country to stand as an independent country. However, some parts of Namibian values are demolished by the nation’s modernisation, says the Ambassador Ms. Nangombe. This includes Namibian forms of showing courtesy. Such as the act of bowing, to express the feelings of respect towards others. Ms. Nangombe stated that she likes the Japanese society where it still cherishes courtesy, and the acts to express respect towards others. Similarly, traditional marriages of Namibia are no longer widely practiced. European forms of white marriages in now common for many Namibians today.
The value of unity is represented on the national flag. The Namibian flag consists of 5 colours. The golden yellow sun on the top left represents happiness of independence and the mineral resources in Namibia. This indicates the proud establishment of independence in the nation's history. The blue triangular shape expresses the Namibian clear sky which provides rain, a precious water source in the desert. Green represents vegetation and agricultural resources in Namibia. These are what maintains the nation’s economy as well as being an energy source of its people. The red diagonal line refers to heroism of its most important resource, its people. It is the blood of the people who fought for justice under colonisation. Lastly, the white lines wish for the continuation of peace and unity among its people. All of the things on the flag symbolise and connect back to its people. It shows how one cannot live without another. How we all need the sun, water, vegetation and the blood of people to be one nation. The unity of people is what makes Namibia a country.
Geography, Nature, and Tourism of Namibia - by Madoka
Namibia is situated on the south-western Atlantic coast of the African sub-continent. Namibia is a very vast country, with its surface area of 824,268 square kilometers. This is more than twice the size of Japan, which consists of only 377.915 square kilometers.
Namibia is a very hot and dry country, yet with several contrasting natural features. There are four major geographic segments the country can be divided into. The Central Plateau is the largest landscape formation in Namibia at about 1,700 meters above sea level. The majority of the population lives in the plateau, and the nation’s capital, Windhoek, is located in its central area. The Escarpment, which is a mountain wall of up to 2,000 meters, forms a belt from the eastern Central Plateau into the Namib Desert. The Namib desert, where the name Namibia is derived, is perhaps the world’s oldest desert. The dry desert has almost no vegetation or water. It is often characterized by its very high sand dunes in the center and by its gravel fields in the north and south. Different from the dry Namib Desert, the Kalahari desert is very quiet, clean, and calm, and it receives much more rainfall than other parts of Namibia. The Kalahari desert is home to several indigenous tribes, including the San and the Bushmen. With modernisation, some San people, who were originally hunter gatherers, have moved out to other parts of the country.
Namibia is often referred to as the “Land of the Brave”, symbolized by the welwitschia plant, which is an indigenous plant that grows in the Namib desert. The plant grows in an environment of very little water, surviving bravely in the extreme climate.
Namibia receives more than 300 days of sunshine per year, making it the driest country in Sub-Saharan Africa. Namibia generally receives very little rain and is very arid, with very low humidity. The management of efficient water systems in Namibia is therefore important. The main rivers of Namibia are the Orange River, located in the South, and the Zambezi and Kavango, located in the North. However, these rivers are very far from the general population, so most people receive drinking water from the Kunene River. Namibia is the only country in Sub-Saharan Africa which provides water through municipal department, as NamWater sells bulk supplies of water and delivers them through networks throughout the country.
In the natural areas, Namibian people dig wells and rely on underground water resources that are safe to drink. There is an aquifer in Namibia called "Ohangwena II", which is capable of supplying water to people in the North for hundreds of years.
There are numerous species of animals in Namibia. The country is home to animals such as antelopes, elephants, cheetahs, and giraffes. Namibia has the world’s largest free-roaming cheetah population.
Ambassador Ms. Nangombe comments that the country has increasingly been preserving the environment. She explained that the UNESCO heritage sites in Namibia show a preservation of history, which acknowledges the advance in science of the ancient African people. The monuments and artwork (mainly of stone engraving) signify the capacity of the African civilization.
Relationship between Namibia and Japan - by Madoka
Japan and Namibia have a very sound relationship. Her Excellency Ms. Nangombe mentions that this demonstrates the prosperity of the assistance in the international community, by understanding each other and by helping without conditions. Japan has always been very supportive to Namibia in the aspect of infrastructure, and Namibia to Japan during the reformations. Japan has been supporting education programs in Southern Africa for a very long time in a United Nations system.
Official bilateral relations between Japan and Namibia have formed when the Namibian embassy was founded in Tokyo, Japan in 2010. In January of 2015, the Japanese embassy in Namibia was created, and currently the Ambassador of Japan to Namibia is on his way to the country.
Message by the Ambassador - by Kurumi
Previously responsible for the management of multilateral affairs, briefly working with the United Nations, and currently working as an Ambassador of the Embassy of the Republic of Namibia in Japan, Ms. Nangombe has been primarily working as a foreign service officer. Through her business, she served as deputy head of mission in places such as Zimbabwe, Belgium, the Netherlands, and India. As an Ambassador working in Japan, she was truly impressed by the culture of Japan. Also, she was impressed by the Japanese people’s high level of ethics, efficiency, and respect for each other. Moreover, she found the various foods in Japan very appetizing. She had been living in different countries such as Brazil (for four years) but she was really surprised by the efficiency and freshness of Japanese cuisine and was amazed by how the system was delivered to the customers.
Her Excellency Ms. Nangombe was appointed as Namibian Ambassador in Japan in the year of 2013. Since then, she has been continuously observing the attitudes of Japan and the Japanese people. As a future goal, she wishes to concentrate on what lessons she can learn from Japan and hopefully try to learn as much as she can. As for a message for the readers of the International School Network and the current Japanese students, she commented, “Try to understand Africa a bit more. Those who can afford to do so, should go visit Namibia as well as other African countries. From history to literacy rate, depending on the country, Africa is very different. Through visiting these countries, you will be able to distinguish Namibia from other countries and understand the differences between them.”
Madoka Nishina 11th Saint Maur International School
Kate Shimizu 11th Seisen International School
Kurumi Onishi 10th Saint Maur International School
Karen Nishina 5th Saint Maur International School