|Founded||30 August 1985|
The newspaper was established in 1985 by Gwen Lister as a weekly newspaper reliant on support of donors, which aimed to promote Namibian independence from South Africa. Its first edition appeared on 30 August of that year with a print run of 10,000. The Namibian became a daily newspaper on 1 April 1989.
On the 15th anniversary of its foundation, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan praised the newspaper: "The Namibian worked courageously in difficult and often dangerous conditions. Since then, it has contributed immeasurably to press freedom and nation-building in Namibia. Throughout, it has maintained its integrity and independent stance."
Relations to government
Prior to Namibian independence
The newspaper exposed human rights violations by South Africa's occupying forces and was thus perceived as overly critical and pro-SWAPO by the South African government. Even the name of the newspaper irritated the South African administration as they preferred the land to be called South-West Africa, whereas Namibia was a notion closely related to the independence movement.
There were several incidents of violence against The Namibian's offices in the weeks after its foundation. Shooting at the building necessitated the installation of bullet-proof glass, and there were several firebombing and teargassing attacks. The newspaper offices were attacked by the Afrikaner Wit Wolwe vigilante group in October 1988. The newspaper's offices were almost burned down. South Africa's Civil Co-operation Bureau planned to poison editor Lister, the newspaper was boycotted by the white business community, and "journalists and sympathisers" of The Namibian were denied entry in shops all over the country.
The offices of the newspaper were again devastated by a phosphorus grenade attack shortly after Namibian independence in 1990 by a right-wing counterrevolutionary group whose plot to unseat SWAPO was covered by The Namibian. However, the critical approach of the newspaper was also disliked by the SWAPO government. Dirk Mudge, head of the South African-controlled government from 1978 to 1989 wrote at the occasion of the newspaper's 10th anniversary:
"During the past ten years [...] The Namibian [...] did not show particular understanding nor sympathy towards me personally and my political views. Cognisance must however, be taken of the fact that The Namibian is also prepared to take the present government and its leaders to task whenever necessary."
The unpopularity of the newspaper within government led to a boycott on 5 December 2000 which was overturned only on 30 August 2011, the newspaper's 26th anniversary. In the more than ten years in between, government offices were not allowed to advertise in the newspaper, and it was forbidden to buy copies of The Namibian with government funds.
A noteworthy feature of The Namibian are the SMS pages called "What you're saying!". These pages dedicated to "short messages to the editor" allow citizens from all over Namibia to comment on and raise topics, since mobile phones are widespread and cheaper and easier than mail or internet. According to former editor Gwen Lister, The Namibian was the first newspaper to offer such an open forum for discussion via text message, since similar programmes at other media (e.g. in South Africa) only allowed comment on chosen articles.
The newspaper has offices in Windhoek, Swakopmund, Keetmanshoop and Oshakati. The current editor of the newspaper is Tangeni Amupadhi. Until March 2011, the newspaper was headed by its founder Gwen Lister. Its circulation in 2010 was 40,000.
- du Pisani, André (2010). "The Namibian at 25". In Lister, Gwen. The Namibian 25th Anniversary Commemoration Magazine (supplement to The Namibian on 27 August 2010). pp. 4–7.
- Christof, Maletzky (2010). "Lister on 25 years". In Lister, Gwen. The Namibian 25th Anniversary Commemoration Magazine (supplement to The Namibian on 27 August 2010). pp. 8–13.
- van Holtz, Ulla (2010). "The Business Perspective". In Lister, Gwen. The Namibian 25th Anniversary Commemoration Magazine (supplement to The Namibian on 27 August 2010). p. 89.
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- Rothe, Andreas (2011). Media System and News Selection in Namibia. Lit Verlag Münster. pp. 29–32. ISBN 3-643-11194-0.
- Lister, Gwen (1995). "How It All Began". The Namibian (10th anniversary magazine). pp. 4–6.
- Laudatory submission for Hero of World Press Freedom Award: Gwen Lister
- ANC Report to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, chapter 188.8.131.52: Usage of poison against opponents
- "The Namibian unbanned". The Namibian. 31 August 2011.
- Toivo Ndjebela: Amupadhi to edit The Namibian, in: New Era (Namibia), 2 March 2011