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Heroes' Day (also known as Namibia Day) is a national public holiday in Namibiamarker. It is recognized by the United Nations as Namibia Day. Celebrated annually on 26 August, the day commemorates numerous events in Namibian history. Officially, the day commemorates those Namibians who died for independence, especially during the Namibian War of Independence which began on 26 August. Since Samuel Maherero's return from exile for burial in 1923, The Herero people have commemorated 26 August as a gesture of defiance.

Statue at Heroes Acre honouring Namibian soldiers during the Namibian War of Independence


Government celebrations

National celebrations take place annually in the town of Eenhanamarker in the Ohangwena Region on the Angolanmarker border. Hundreds of people annually gather to watch leaders such as Hifikepunye Pohamba, Sam Nujoma and Nahas Angula officially commemorate veterans of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), SWAPO's military wing during the War. Likewise, honours, such as military medals, are handed out on the day. Heroes Acremarker, a war memorial outside of Windhoekmarker, was opened on Heroes' Day in 2002. It is also the same day that the United Nations Institute for Namibia, a tertiary educational body in Zambiamarker under the auspices of the United Nations and forerunner to the University of Namibiamarker, was inaugurated in 1976.

Herero celebrations

Each year, thousands of Herero people converge on the town of Okahandjamarker on 26 August to honor the Herero chief Samuel Maharero and his post-mortem return and reburial in the town in 1923. It is considered "a gesture of defiance and a symbol of regained pride" for the Hereros following the Herero and Namaqua Genocide. Herero march in military formations and wear traditional clothing at the event.

References

  1. United Nations Conferences and Observances
  2. 1923 KlausDierks.com
  3. Main Heroes' Day event at Eenhana in The Namibian, 24 August, 2007
  4. A military-clad Nujoma hands out 68 medals in The Namibian, 22 September, 2003
  5. President warns of 'havoc' as heroes laid to rest at Eenhana in The Namibian, 28 August, 2007
  6. Khomas calls off Heroes' Day event in The Namibian, 27 August, 2003
  7. Heroes' Acre 'free' for now in The Namibian, 29 October, 2002
  8. A Future 'University of Namibia'?: The Role of the United Nations Institute for Namibia, by Christian M. Rogerson, 1980, Cambridge University Press



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