Namibia observes “Heroes Day” on 26 August, a national public holiday meant to honour all those who gave their lives in the struggle for Namibian independence.
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The date for Heroes Day was chosen because that is the day in 1966 when the Namibian War for Independence began with the small but significant battle of Omugulugwombashe.
German Southwest African, now Namibia, had been put under South African control after World War I, but the UN revoked their mandate in 1966. South Africa refused to recognise that move and invaded to crush all insurgents. They landed by helicopter on 26 August of 1966 at the town of Omugulugwombashe to break up a small rebel camp. They won the battle, but Namibia ultimately won the war.
In remembrance of those who died to secure their country’s independence from South Africa, Namibians gather in the streets to hear their leaders give speeches and watch or take part in a military parade near the Angolan border. They also visit war memorials all over the country and honour still-living independence war veterans.