FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH **
Contributions by Mirinda Subes
Facts you did not know about Namibia (Namibia, a country in southwest Africa, is distinguished by the Namib desert along the Atlantic Ocean coast. The country is home to diverse wildlife, including a significant cheetah population. The capital is Windhoek.)
1. How are birthdays celebrated?
Birthdays are celebrated well. People bake or buy cake, soft drinks and beer and prepare food and celebrate with family and friends.
2. When you first meet someone, how do you greet them?
With a smile and then a handshake or with a handshake and a kiss on both cheeks.
3. What languages are spoken in your country?
Afrikaans, English, Herero, Oshiwambo, Nama/Damara, Rukwangali, Tswana, German, Khoe Khoe Gowab.
4. Do you use a twelve hour clock, or a twenty-four hour clock?
We use both – there is really no preference.
5. What side of the road do people drive on? What do we need to know about driving in Namibia?
We drive on the left-hand side of the road. The speed limit in town is 60km/ph and on the highway it is 120km/ph
6. How important is punctuality?
Extremely important – probably the German influence…
7. What types of music are popular? Who are some of your most popular musicians?
Local and International: Hip Hop, R & B, Soul, Afro-pop, House and Kwaito
Some popular local musicians:
Gazza – watch,
The Dogg – watch,
Lady May – watch,
EES – watch
9. What traditional Festivals are celebrated in your community?
Only a few of Namibia’s cultural events are open to outsiders. These include Independence day on the 21 March, which is probably the most important day on most Namibian calendars. Independence festivities occur in every village, town and city and will often include singing and dancing as well as the obligatory speeches by members of parliament.
Maherero Day occurs in Okahandja on the weekend closest to the 26th of August. Thousands of Herero people gather in traditional dress for a memorial service to their chiefs, this is a spectacular and fun occasion. If you are going to be in Namibia around this time its worth visiting this festival, tours are often arranged from Windhoek.
Namibia also has several German style beer festivals the two most notable being Oktoberfest which takes place in Windhoek during late October and WIKA (Windhoek carnival) which happens in April.
10. What are your seasons like?
With 300 days of sunshine on average per year, Namibia is truly a sunny place. Summer is from October to April and temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius (104º Fahernheit) which fall at night to cool levels. Average monthly temperatures range from 20 º C to 34º C in summer. Average minimum winter temperatures range between 6°C and 10°C and average winter day temperatures between 18°C and 22°C. The rainy season is from October till April.
11. Tell us an interesting fact about your President?
Hage Gottfried Geingob (born 3 August 1941 is the third and current President of Namibia, in office since 21 March 2015.
In 1967 Mr Geingob married Priscilla Charlene Cash, a New York City native, and the couple had one daughter Nangula Geingos-Dukes. He later married Loini Kandume, a businesswoman, in 1993. This was a high-profile marriage and resulted in two children, a daughter Dângos Geingos and a son Hage Geingob Jr. However, Mr Geingob initiated divorce proceedings against Kandume in May 2006, and married his third and current wife in January 2015.
Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium in Windhoek is named after him.
12. What are Namibia’s major industries?
Fishing, Mining and Agriculture. Namibia is rich in natural resources such as uranium, zinc, copper, lead, gold, silver, tin, marble and granite. The mining industry brings in half of the country’s foreign earnings.
13. How do people spend their free time?
Drinking and social gatherings
14. What do people drink?
Traditional beer, wine, home made ginger beer, whiskey, brandy
15. What is a popular local dish?
Oshiwambo Chicken, Mahangu porridge and dried spinach
The staple food of the north-central regions is mahangu (a kind of pearl millet that is cultivated in the northern regions). The grain is pounded in mortars with long wooden pestles and cooked into a stiff porridge, oshimbombo, to be eaten with a variety of accompaniments – from chicken, ondjuhwa; wild spinach, ekaka; and bean sauce, oshigali, to mopane worms, omagungu, when available.
16. What do you pay for? (USD1.00 = approx. N$12.58)
In a restaurant…
A cup of coffee – N$18.00
A Coca Cola – N$12.00
A 2-Course meal for 2 people – nothing extravagant – N$300.00
At a shop…
A loaf of bread- N$9.00
1 litre of milk – N$16.00
17. Security – in general?
Namibia is a very peaceful nation. People have freedom of speech and movement. Good security and infrastructure are in place, but do exercise caution at all times like in any other country.
** Meaning: From the highest authority. From the source.
Origin: In horse racing circles tips on which horse is a likely winner circulate amongst punters. The most trusted authorities are considered to be those in closest touch with the recent form of the horse, that is, stable lads, trainers etc. The notional ‘from the horse’s mouth’ is supposed to indicate one step better than even that inner circle, that is, the horse itself