Namibia, Land of the Brave

"Namibia, Land of the Brave" is the national anthem of Namibia, adopted in December 1991. It was written by Axali Doëseb, who was the director of a traditional music group from the Kalahari desert. Doëseb was chosen to write it after winning a contest held after Namibia became independent in 1990.

Namibia, Land of the Brave
Namibian Anthem Music Sheet.InstrumentalSimple

National anthem of  Namibia
LyricsAxali Doëseb, 1991
MusicAxali Doëseb, 1991
AdoptedDecember 1991
Preceded by"Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika"
Audio sample
"Namibia, Land of the Brave" (instrumental)
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Namibia's first national anthem, albeit unofficial, was "Das Südwesterlied" while under German colonization as German South-West Africa.[1] After it became South-West Africa as a League of Nations mandate under the Union of South Africa, the national anthem was changed to "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika" to match South Africa's.[2] Following independence, "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" was provisionally adopted as the national anthem.[3][4] It was later decided that Namibia needed a unique anthem and a national competition was held to compose a new national anthem. The competition was won by Axali Doeseb with "Namibia, Land of the Brave".[3] The anthem was first played in public in a ceremony on the first anniversary of Namibia's independence from South Africa in 1991.[3] The similarity of the lyric's first-line phrase "Land of the Brave" to the end of "The Star-Spangled Banner", the national anthem of the United States, has been noted.[4]

The composition of the Namibian national anthem was supervised by Hidipo Hamutenya, then chairman of the National Symbols subcommittee.[5] In 2006 Hamutenya claimed that he authored the lyrics himself, "on the plane to Cuba". Doëseb denied the claim.[6]


The Parliament of Namibia passed the National Anthem of the Republic of Namibia Act, 1991. This confirmed "Namibia, Land of the Brave" as the national anthem of Namibia, made it an offense to insult it with punishment upon conviction of up to five years imprisonment or up to a R20,000 fine or both, and allowed the President of Namibia to create regulations relating to it.[7]


English lyrics Ovambo lyrics German lyrics Afrikaans translation
First stanza
Namibia, land of the brave
Freedom fight we have won
Glory to their bravery
Whose blood waters our freedom
Namibia, Land der Tapferen.
Der Freiheitskampf ist gewonnen,
Ehre ihrem Mut,
Deren Blut floss für unsere Freiheit.

Namibië, land van die dapper,
Vryheid veg ons gewen het.
Eer aan hul dapperheid
Wie se bloed ons vryheid wateren.

Second stanza
We give our love and loyalty
Together in unity
Contrasting beautiful Namibia
Wir geben unsere Liebe und Treue
In Einigkeit gemeinsam,
Kontrastreiches schönes Namibia,

Ons gee ons liefde en lojaliteit
Saam in eenheid.
Kontrasterende pragtige Namibië,

Third stanza
Namibia our country
Beloved land of savannahs,
Hold high the banner of liberty
Namibia unser Land.
Geliebtes Land der Savannen,
Haltet das Banner der Freiheit hoch.

Namibië, ons land.
Geliefde land van savannas,
Hou hoog die vaandel van vryheid.

Namibia our Country,
Namibia Motherland,
We love thee.
Namibia unser Land,
Namibia, Mutterland,
Wir lieben Dich.

Namibië, ons land,
Namibië, Moederland,
Ons is lief vir jou.


  1. ^ "Song evokes apartheid memories". Windhoek Observer. 2013-10-31. Retrieved 2014-05-02.
  2. ^ The CVR Tourist Guide to Southern Africa. Chris van Rensburg Publications. 1970. p. 327. ISBN 0948253363.
  3. ^ a b c "Namibia: Land of the Brave". Archived from the original on 2014-03-31. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  4. ^ a b "National symbols? What happened to the giraffe?". The Citizen. 1990-03-21. Retrieved 2014-05-02.
  5. ^ "National Anthem of the Republic of Namibia Act, #20 of 1991". Government Gazette of the Republic of Namibia (321). Government of Namibia. 17 December 1991.
  6. ^ Sibeene, Petronella (11 October 2006). "Dispute Over National Anthem's True Author". New Era.
  7. ^ "Government notice". Government Gazette. 1991-12-17. Retrieved 2014-05-02.

External links

Axali Doëseb

Axali Doëseb (born 1954) is a Namibian music composer. He wrote and composed "Namibia, Land of the Brave", which has been the national anthem of the country since 1991. He has also served as conductor of the Namibian National Symphony Orchestra.The composition of the National anthem was supervised by Hidipo Hamutenya, then chairman of the National Symbols subcommittee. In 2006 Hamutenya claimed that he authored the lyrics himself, "on the plane to Cuba", a claim that Doëseb denied.

Hidipo Hamutenya

Hidipo Livius Hamutenya (17 June 1939 – 6 October 2016) was a Namibian politician. A long-time leading member of the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), Hamutenya was a member of the Cabinet of Namibia from independence in 1990 to 2004. He was defeated in a bid for the party's presidential nomination in 2004 and left SWAPO to form an opposition group, the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), in 2007. He was elected to the National Assembly of Namibia with RDP in the 2009 general election. He was forced to step down as RDP President on 28 February 2015 and rejoined SWAPO on 28 August 2015.

List of national anthems

Most nation-states have anthems, defined as "a song, as of praise, devotion, or patriotism"; most anthems are either marches or hymns in style. A hymn can become a national anthem by a provision in the state's constitution, by a law enacted by its legislature, or simply by tradition. A royal anthem is a patriotic song similar to a national anthem, but it specifically praises or prays for a monarch or royal dynasty. Such anthems are usually performed at public appearances by the monarch or during other events of royal importance. Some states use the royal anthem as the national anthem, such as the anthem of Jordan.

There are multiple claimants to the position of oldest national anthem. Among the national anthems, the first to be composed was the Dutch national anthem the "Wilhelmus", which was written between 1568 and 1572. The Japanese anthem, "Kimigayo", employs the oldest lyrics of any national anthem, taking its words from the "Kokin Wakashū", which was first published in 905, yet these words were not set to music until 1880. The first anthem to be officially adopted as such was the Spanish anthem "Marcha Real", in 1770; its origins remain unclear, being suggested to have sixteenth century Venetian origins, or even to have been composed by king Frederick the Great himself; it is also one of the few national anthems that has never had official lyrics. Anthems became increasingly popular among European states in the 18th century. For example, the British national anthem "God Save the Queen" was first performed under the title "God Save the King" in 1745. The French anthem "La Marseillaise" was written half a century later in 1792, and adopted in 1795.National anthems are usually written in the most common language of the state, whether de facto or official. States with multiple national languages may offer several versions of their anthem. For instance, Switzerland's national anthem has different lyrics for each of the country's four official languages: French, German, Italian, and Romansh. One of New Zealand's two national anthems is commonly sung with the first verse in Māori ("Aotearoa") and the second in English ("God Defend New Zealand"). The tune is the same but the lyrics have different meanings. South Africa's national anthem is unique in that it is two different songs put together with five of the country's eleven official languages being used, in which each language comprises a stanza.


Namibia ( (listen), ), officially the Republic of Namibia, 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 of the Zambezi River (essentially a small bulge in Botswana to achieve a Botswana/Zambia micro-border) 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, and it is a member state of the United Nations (UN), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the Commonwealth of Nations.

Namibia, the driest country in Sub-Saharan Africa, was inhabited since early times by the San, Damara, and Nama peoples. Around the 14th century, immigrating Bantu peoples arrived as part of the Bantu expansion. Since then, the Bantu groups, one of which is known as the Ovambo people, 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, had 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 as a protectorate (Schutzgebiet). It began to develop infrastructure and farming and maintained this German colony until 1915, when South African forces defeated its military. In 1920, after the end of World War I, the League of Nations mandated the country to the United Kingdom, under administration by South Africa. It imposed its laws, including racial classifications and rules.

From 1948, with the National Party elected to power, South Africa applied apartheid also 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 recognised 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, herding, tourism and the mining industry – including mining for gem diamonds, uranium, gold, silver, and base metals – form the basis of its economy. The large, arid Namib Desert has resulted in Namibia being overall one of the least densely populated countries in the world.

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika

"Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" (Xhosa pronunciation: [ŋkʼɔsi sikʼɛlɛl‿iafrikʼa], lit. "Lord Bless Africa") is a hymn originally composed in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga, a Xhosa clergyman at a Methodist mission school near Johannesburg. The song became a pan-African liberation song and versions of it were later adopted as the national anthems of five states in Africa including Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia and Zimbabwe after independence. Zimbabwe and Namibia have since adopted new compositions for their national anthems. The song's melody is currently used as the national anthem of Tanzania and the national anthem of Zambia; and since 1997, in the national anthem of South Africa.

Current national anthems
Former national anthems

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