- Thousands of people are expected to attend the double celebration this weekend of the 14th anniversary of Namibia's independence and the marking of ten years of Walvis Bay's re-integration into Namibia. The Namibian town of Walvis Bay was a British, later South African, exclave, ceded to Namibia by the government of Nelson Mandela.
Walvis Bay was established as a British colony in 1878. It was disconnected from what was to become Namibia for over hundred years by the establishment of the German colony of South-West Africa in 1884. After Germany lost its colonies in 1918, South-West Africa was administered by South Africa as a mandate territory while Walvis Bay became an integrated part of South Africa.
As Namibia achieved its independence from South Africa in 1990, the Walvis Bay exclave still formally was a part of South Africa. This was however seen as an unjust solution and the South African Mandela government agreed to transfer the exclave to Namibia in 1994 without compensation.
This weekend, Walvis Bay citizens will celebrate the 10th anniversary of integration with Namibia. "It's going like crazy, the phones don't stop ringing," one of the organisers of the celebrations in Walvis Bay told 'The Namibian' on Wednesday. Apart from dealing with protocol and VIP invitees, about 12,000 lunch packs, t-shirts and caps are ready to be handed out to people present at Sunday's festivities.
A packed two-day programme has been organised with Namibia's independence and incumbent President Sam Nujoma delivering his message on Sunday morning at the town's Kuisebmond Stadium.
Also Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos will be in attendance, as well as many Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
Police Regional Commander for Erongo, Deputy Commissioner Abraham Iiyambo, has requested the public to cooperate and ensure a pleasant weekend of festivities for everybody.
The focus of the organised programme is on entertainment for the masses. It starts on Saturday morning with a parade of floats through the streets to the Jan Wilken Sport Stadium. The Miss Independence finalists, members of the community, schools and fishing institutions will take part.
The rest of the day will provide music and cultural performances, as well as the Sam Nujoma Cup semi-final soccer tournament and netball matches.
On Saturday evening, the Namibian Prime Minister's Office will host a reception at the Town Hall of Walvis Bay for approximately 230 invited guests. At the same time, the crowning of Miss Independence will take place at the town's Plaza Cinema.
Namibia's Big Brother celebrity, Stefan Ludik, will make an appearance, while a local act, Quadville, will provide the entertainment. The organisers have promised a spectacular show.
The celebrations continue on Saturday night at the Kuisebmond Beach where a line-up of about 13 bands will entertain the crowds until the early hours of the morning. Performances are slated by Namibian and regional celebreties, including Ndilimani, M-Connection, 6 Boyz, Royal Sons, West Coast G's, Shikololo, Rasta Cool, Black Diamond, Friend, Jossy Joss, The Dogg/Gazza and Killa B.
On Sunday, the gates of the Kuisebmond Stadium will already open to the public at 06h00. From 08h00 to 09h20, dignitaries will arrive starting with the Mayor of Walvis Bay, the Governor of Erongo, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Cabinet Ministers and MPs, the Chief Justice, the Chairman of the National Council, the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Deputy Prime Minister, Prime Minister and, lastly, the President.
After the speeches, the sports programme starts at 11h30, followed by the handing out of lunch packs, more entertainment and the final of the netball and Sam Nujoma Cup. President Nujoma will present the trophy and medals to the winners at 17h30.
The end of the celebrations will be marked by a concert from 18h00 with the same line-up as the previous evening.
All the events for the public will be free of charge.
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