by Tray Heard
The scale and beauty of Heroes’ Acre, Namibia’s official war memorial, clearly shows the freshness of independence in the hearts and minds of this countries’ citizens. Perched like a bird’s nest high above the capital city of Windhoek, it can be seen for miles and offers an amazing view of the rolling hills all around.
The towering 25 ft. bronze statue of Sam Nujoma, Namibia’s first president, stands fiercely at the top of the memorial, looking out over the country he helped create. This figure is shadowed only by a gleaming white obelisk—a structure similar to our Washington Monument—rising nearly 100 ft. into the sky behind him; it is truly a sight to behold.
Completed only 10 years ago, very few of the memorial’s 174 gravesites are currently marked. Nine black marble tombstones show portraits of Namibia’s heroes that have already passed, political and military alike. As Namibia is now only 22 years removed from its independence from South Africa, it is understood that there are still many more heroes that have yet to earn their place in the annals of this young countries’ history.
Similar to many state-funded structures built across the world, Hero’s Acre has not escaped controversy. Contracted and constructed by a North Korean firm, Namibians and outsiders both struggle to understand the ruling parties’ decisions in creation and design.
Much can be said about the look of the memorial; marble, bronze and gold are all the eyes can see in sharp contrast to the dry green and brown hills that surround it. Memorials have often stood as bright and shining examples of how a population can show their pride to visitors and the world. With all its splendor, this memorial does not fail to stand up to that desire.