A Patriotic English Lesson in Namibia

Jen Jackson, one of WorldTeach's Namibia volunteers now wrapping up her time in-country, shares with us her experience of teaching her 8th and 9th grade students their own national anthem (in English). Jen's placement is in the rural town of Divundu, teaching math and science for grades 8 - 10, and living with two other teachers in designated teacher housing.
Jen with some of her 8th grade students

"I have decided that I'm not leaving this school without teaching my classes the ACTUAL words to the Namibian national anthem. The song is really pretty simple, but it wasn't until I looked it up that I actually figured out what many of the words were.

Here's the song:
Namibia land of the brave
Freedom fight we have won

Glory to their bravery

Whose blood waters our freedom

We give our love and loyalty

Together in unity

Contrasting beautiful Namibia

Namibia our country

Beloved land of savannahs

Hold high the banner of liberty
Namibia our country

Namibia motherland we love thee!


Here are pieces of what I would hear:

..."Whose blood [muffle] our freedom"...

..."Constrassen beautiful"... (i.e. contrasting)

"Be love land sav[muffle]
[muffle muffle] of liberty"...

I started with "contrasting beautiful". I wrote it on the board, pronounced it, got them pronouncing it correctly, and explained what it meant. Man, ALL EYES were fully engaged. They were SO THANKFUL that someone was finally telling them the actual words!

By the time I get done with them, grades 8 and 9 will be leading the school, including the teachers, who also don't have a clue what most of the words are.

Interestingly, both classes I did this with asked about the American national anthem. I said that it was much longer, with quite a few more words. I sang the first verse for them; they humoured me and seemed impressed.

Next week we will tackle the "savannahs" and the "blood waters"..."
The principal's house at Divundu Combined School

photos courtesy of Jen Jackson

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