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

Heroes' Day is a national public holiday in Namibia. It is recognized by the United Nations as Namibia Day.[1] Celebrated annually on 26 August, the day commemorates the Namibian War of Independence which began on 26 August 1966 at Omugulugwombashe.

National celebrations take place annually at different places, usually in the north of Namibia near important battle zones. 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.[2] Likewise, honours, such as military medals, are handed out on the day.[3][4] Heroes Acre, a war memorial outside of Windhoek, was opened on Heroes' Day in 2002.[5] It is also the same day that the United Nations Institute for Namibia, a tertiary educational body in Zambia under the auspices of the United Nations and forerunner to the University of Namibia, was inaugurated in 1976.[6]

Herero Day

On the same day, August 26, the Herero people of Namibia commemorate the post-mortem return and reburial of the Herero chief Samuel Maharero in 1923.[7] Each year, thousands of Herero people converge on the town of Okahandja on a weekend close to this date. Celebrations typically do not take place exactly on August 26 to give high-ranking government officials with Herero descent the opportunity to attend both events. Contrary to common perception, the return of Maharero's body is not considered part of the Heroes' Day celebrations.


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


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