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Homecoming, the Africa Factor

Written by on May 24, 2024

Ever wondered what makes Namibia one of the ultimate destinations for adventurers and culture enthusiasts alike?

Well, Africa’s history is both ancient and complex, and that is one of Namibia’s unique selling points – its access to that rich, authentic heritage.

There are three factors that help us understand Namibia in all her different facets, namely the ‘Africa’ Factor, the ‘Darling’ Factor, and the ‘Contrast’ Factor.

Let’s explore the Africa Factor.

The pyramids of Egypt, the rock-sculpted churches of Ethiopia, and the ruins of Great Zimbabwe provide glimpses into civilisations that thrived millennia ago.

These historical sites, among many others, are what draw people to the continent in search of their roots and identity, because as the adage goes: Home is not where we live; home is where we belong.

Africa, initially referred to as the ‘Cradle of Humankind’ by Charles Darwin, is set apart by many things, but if we had to pin it down to a single factor, it would be our ability to tell our stories.

The lifeblood of African culture, storytelling is intricately woven into history, tradition and the identity that celebrates the continent’s colour, music, festivities, spirituality and resilience.

In Africa, stories are not merely told – they are lived, with each narrative reflecting deep family bonds, the spirit of ubuntu, and a profound connection to the land and ancestors.

Festivals like Ghana’s Homowo and Namibia’s Omagongo bring folklore, dance and music to life, embodying community unity and joy.

Despite a past marred by colonialism, slavery, apartheid and regressive political structures, African tourism has made a significant contribution to the global gross domestic product (GDP), with the continent’s tourism sector accounting for 8,7% of the world’s jobs, 4,8% of the world’s GDP, and 5,3% of the world’s exports.

Sub-Saharan Africa has been playing a crucial role in this progression, accounting for 2,8% of the said global GDP as indicated by statistics from the World Travel & Tourism Council.


Regarded as the third-largest contributor to the country’s GDP (6,9%), the tourism sector in Namibia has multifaceted effects on various industries.

According to the Namibia Tourism Satellite Account, statistics indicate that tourism is a significant source of employment in the Namibian economy, accounting for 57 571 direct employment opportunities, which translates to 7,9% of total employment.

Ubuntu, an African philosophy rooted in the Nguni tradition, is a Bantu term, meaning “I am because we are.”

It emphasises communal interdependence, compassion and shared humanity.

This philosophy is reflected in the warm hospitality, community-centred approach and smiles one experiences through encounters with locals.

Ron Swilling, a freelance writer based in Cape Town, eloquently notes in her work that “a smile is the currency of travel”.

Other African philosophies, such as the concept of Harambee in Kenya, which means “pulling together”, further highlight the collaborative nature of African societies.

These philosophies not only enrich the visitor experience, but also contribute to a deeper understanding and appreciation of Africa’s cultural richness and the values that bind its diverse communities.

People rarely say “I am going to Namibia”, they rather say “I am going to Africa”.


For many, Africa’s essence is a feeling that cannot be replicated, a sense of connection to the land, the people, and the divine that is deeply engrained in the continent’s very fabric.

To understand Namibia, or any other country for that matter, one must experience the sense of freedom, grasp the concept of the wild with all the animals that roam, answer to the call of the ancestors, dance to the rhythms of the wind, and sit around the fires that whisper of tales of belonging that comes from being a part of this incredible continent, because it is home after all.

The Africa Factor is complex and multifaceted, greatly because it encompasses the continent’s cultural diversity, history, traditions, and modernity.

Each moment spent here deepens your connection to both the environment and your inner self.

You enjoy the sound of silence, but most of all, you get to come back home.

*Join us next week, as we unpack the Darling Factor of Namibia!

The post Homecoming, the Africa Factor appeared first on The Namibian.

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