Deaf cultures and Sign Languages of the world: Namibia (Namibia)

Created 10 April 2000, links updated monthly with the help of LinkAlarm.

Namibian flag David Bar-TzurNamibian flag

map of Namibia

Flag: World flag database.
Map: - "search" for country, then "Digital Map Graphics").

For a quick, interesting resource for facts about this and other countries,
try Mystic Planet - The New Age directory of Planet Earth.

Note: A flag next to a link shows what language the website is in. If it is followed by this icon: (video camera: This links to a video), it is a video in that spoken language. A flag followed by Sign Language iconmeans it is in the sign language of that country. globe (international icon)Sign Language iconmeans there is International Gesture.

Deaf and employment Deaf and social services Deaf culture Deaf education & youth Deaf health
Deaf history and current events Namibian Sign Language Namibian Sign Language dictionaries Organizations

Deaf and employment

DeafTODAY. (2004, December 9). Telecom Behind the Disabled. Telecom's senior human resource manager in the Department of Employment and Support Services, Five Gertze, has indicated that his company would continue striving to foster equal employment opportunities for disabled people in order to integrate them with the rest of society.

Deaf and social services

DeafTODAY. (2004, June 18). The Deaf Call for Services. People with disabilities in the Oshana Region are unhappy with the lack of services to satisfy their needs. According to the rehabilitation instructor in the Ministry of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation in Oshakati Rauna Hashiyana the office receives a considerable number of complaints from disabled people, especially the hearing-impaired.

Government action on disability policy: A global survey, Part II - Government replies as country profiles: Namibia.

Deaf culture

Nanyeni, P. The EENET interview. Twenty-two years ago a determined young man was born into a family of seven in Walvis Bay, Namibia. Here, Paulie Nanyeni describes becoming deaf in late childhood, how he succeeded in higher education, and why he supports the development of inclusive education in his country.


golden marble bulletNanyeni Paulie. I became deaf in late childhood and after completing my secondary education at the Eluwa School for the Deaf, I became the only hearing impaired Namibian to finish grade 12 and to attend the University of Namibia. I am now in my third year and am chairperson of the Windhoek Deaf Association and vice chair of the Namibia National Association of the Deaf.

golden marble bulletPadelia Namundjebo. I became deaf when I was 2 years old. I do not know how my mother felt about my hearing loss. All I remember is that she used cotton tips to clean my ears everyday and she hoped that my hearing would return. A few years later, she realised that it did not work, so she stopped.

Deaf education & youth

A Summary of the provision for deaf children in Namibia.

CLaSH - The Association for Children with Language, Speech, and Hearing Impairments in Namibia.German flagAmerican flag


golden marble bullet(2007, May 24). A parents empowerment project in Namibia. The Association for Children with Language, Speech and Hearing Impairments of Namibia (CLaSH), received one year SGP grant to reach out to parents in a rural area of northern Namibia. The majority of these parents faced numerous challenges in their daily lives, they lived far away from each other, they lacked even the most basic information about hearing loss and many were not immediately convinced of the need for a group.

golden marble bullet(2005, August 31). A summary of provision for deaf children in Namibia. In March 2005, IDCS’ staff member, Kirsty Wilson visited Namibia to monitor the progress a project funded through the IDCS Small Grants Programme and to find out more about the context in which the project was operating.

golden marble bullet(2004, June 1). Parents' empowerment project. In this project, CLaSH aims to establish parents' groups in the Oshana, Oshangwena, Oshikoto, and Omusati regions of Namibia. CLaSH will raise awareness amongst parents and empower them to know and claim their cildren's right to health and education services.

golden marble bullet(nd). Fighting for an Education. The majority of profoundly deaf children had virtually no ability to communicate with their families and had no chance of ac accessing education. Despite the Namibian government's policy proclaiming equal opportunities for all, there are only two schools for the deaf accommodating only a tiny percentage of the country's deaf children.

golden marble bullet(nd). Photos from the Parents' Empowerment Project in Namibia. Welcome to the Parents' Empowerment Project photo gallery. Here you can browse photos from the SGP funded project as well as see some of the other aspects of CLaSH's work in Namibia.

Windhoek, F. P. (2007, March 16). Namibia: Deaf Education Needs Upgrading. ...the use of pure Namibian sign language as a mode of instruction is a challenge. Very often the mode of instruction applied is English sign language, which is contradictory to research findings that a child should master a mother tongue first for easy acquisition of a second language," Ndjoze-Ojo said. She emphasized that a strong foundation in Namibian sign language is a necessity.

Deaf health

NDCS - Namibia. The Association for Children with Language, Speech and Hearing Impairments of Namibia have produced a large selection of materials, many of which are available in local languages as well as English. For more information about any of these materials, please contact CLaSH at

Deaf history and current events

Miles, M. (2005). Deaf people living and communication in African histories, c. 960s - 1960s. There is strong documentary evidence that deaf or hearing impaired men and women, girls and boys, did occupy social space and took roles across the full spectrum of life throughout Africa in earlier centuries, living lives like everyone else and also having some different experiences. Traces and signs of deaf people appear in many sorts of historical document, such as travellers' accounts, legal and genealogical records, government, institutional and missionary archives, linguistic studies, literature, folklore, religious narrative, mime, dance and drama. Many of their experiences have involved severe economic poverty and adversity, stigmatising attitudes and exclusionary practices; yet this has not been the norm everywhere in Africa, and many deaf people have shown great resilience, perseverance, humour and ingenuity in their dealings and communications with the non-deaf world.

Namibian Sign Language

International bibliography of sign language - Namibian Sign Language.

Namibian Sign Language: A language of Namibia.

Namibian Sign Language Book - IFESH. Immediately after coming to the Oshakati area of Northern Namibia, I began volunteering at the Eluwa Special School in Ongwediva, which has about 300 students. Nearly 250 of them are deaf and hearing impaired and 50 are blind and visually impaired. With my background in American Sign Language, I thought it might be possible to learn Namibian Sign Language if I studied hard and paid attention. But, when I asked where I could get a book of Namibian signs, I was told that there wasn't one. Soon after I applied through Eluwa School for a grant from USAID and I was given some seed money to develop a Namibian Sign Language book for beginning signers.



Namibian Sign Language dictionaries

Friends of Namibia. Scroll down to "VSO Disability Programme in Namibia". Together with CLaSH, Orna's employer, we took the initiative to produce a video with 400 Namibian signs. We chose a list of words consistent with stages of children's language development, known as the Makaton list. The list starts with "mother", "father", "house", "dog", "cat" and ends with "rainbow", "crocodile" and "hyena" (we are in Africa after all!). We built a small studio in a back garden, borrowed a camera and recorded the signs. Orna's colleagues are the sign instructors and I did the editing on a laptop. We are grateful to the British High Commission in Windhoek who provided a grant to cover production costs.

International bibliography of sign language - Namibian Sign Language dictionary.

Namibian Sign Language to English and Oshiwambo. Authors: Morgan, Ruth; Liddell, Scott K.; Haikali, Marius N. et al.


Civil Society Partners.

World Federation of the Deaf membership information: Namibian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD). Contact info only.