Text Helge Denker
Each year, NamPost brings out a kaleidoscope of miniature artworks, framed as postage stamps and featuring a varied and wonderful mix of themes and subjects. This year’s offering is as rich as any and includes a balanced mix of Namibia’s natural splendour, and reflecting also its social and environmental concerns.
The recently released ‘Endemic and near endemic birds of Namibia’ are additions to Namibia’s Fifth Definitive Stamp Issue, published by NamPost last year. A definitive issue consists of all standard denominations, is printed in relatively large quantities, and is available at all post offices throughout the country for five years or more (in contrast to the annual commemorative issues printed in small quantities and available for only a short period of time).
The additions feature three near-endemic larks, as well as the charismatic Monteiro’s hornbill. But perhaps most striking amongst the five new stamps is a pair of rosy-faced lovebirds against the backdrop of the Epupa Falls at sunrise. One can almost hear the liquid whistles of the birds bouncing across the gorges of the Kunene, announcing the new day.
Namibia is rich in creatures large and small, and ‘Beetles of Namibia’ focuses on a small section of Namibia’s tiny, but colourful and interesting insect fauna. Portrayed against a white background, the beetles are so lifelike that they appear to be crawling off the page. The five stamps, issued on a First Day Cover, will be available in April.
‘Children of Namibia’ completes a long-running theme that began with ‘Traditional women of Namibia’ in 2002, followed by ‘Traditional roles of men in Namibia’ in 2006. Namibia’s diverse cultural heritage is reflected in the bright faces of the children, yet the stamps also touch on key issues affecting children all over the world, alluding to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The stamps will be issued as two six-stamp souvenir sheets in June.
The stamps are stunning miniature artworks that portray Namibia’s natural and cultural heritage and are superb collector’s items.
As global and local environmental issues grow in complexity and urgency, environmental education is an ever-more pivotal aspect of our ability to navigate the future. ‘Sustainable living’ forms the essence of Namibia’s foremost environmental education centre, the Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. The single-stamp souvenir sheet, to be issued in June, is a fitting tribute to NaDEET as well as a call to action for sustainable living.
Donkey carts are a characteristic feature of rural Namibia. ‘Travel in Namibia by donkey cart’ captures this timeless mode of transport, while also portraying a sense of pride in culture and rural life. The colourful souvenir sheet featuring a single stamp will be available in July.
Antelopes are an inherent component of intact African environments and Namibia is home to a surprising diversity of small, medium-sized and large antelopes. The first in a series of three stamp issues to be released in the coming years, ‘Large antelopes of Namibia’ features five of the country’s big antelopes, portrayed within their characteristic habitats.
A magnificent kudu bull on a ridge in the Khomas Hochland, sparring gemsbok in the Kalahari, wildebeest galloping off into a dusty African sunset… the artworks evoke Namibian wild spaces. The First Day Cards issued with these stamps feature charismatic monochrome sketches and snippets of information about each species. The stamps will be released at the end of September and will include the new postal tariffs for the year ahead, which are yet to be finalised (the depicted designs thus show nil denominations).
Hand-written letters have long been sidelined by Email and the SMS pandemic. But could anyone be blamed for sending a letter or postcard for no other reason than to paste one of these stamps on it? And the stamps are so much more than just a token of postage paid. They are stunning miniature artworks that portray Namibia’s natural and cultural heritage – a true Namibian kaleidoscope – and superb collector’s items.