Postage stamps not only represent a financial value, they have patriotic value as well: often they pay tribute to their country’s outstanding personalities, depict country-specific aspects of nature and architecture or commemorate important events in the history of the nation. Namibia is no different, and Namibia’s postage stamps are without doubt among the most beautiful in the world.
In order to amplify public awareness of the meaning and beauty of our stamps, Namibia Post Limited and Gondwana Collection Namibia, the group of nature reserves and lodges, have started a newspaper series in four daily newspapers, called ‘Stamps & Stories’. One particular stamp will be singled out every week and the story behind that stamp will be told.
The first two episodes of ‘Stamps & Stories’ will be dedicated to the beginnings of postal services in Namibia when letters were transported by ‘postal runners’. “They were real heroes”, says Gondwana’s managing director, Mannfred Goldbeck. “Not only because of the vast distances and the hardship they endured in the summer heat and the freezing temperatures of winter, but also because of the dangers”. Postal runners lived dangerously indeed: one died near Otavi from the poison on the tip of an arrow, another one was shot dead near Omaruru under tragic circumstances and yet another fell prey to a lion near Warmbad.
“Every significant event in Namibia, before and after independence, was commemorated with stamps”, says Festus Hangula, CEO of NamPost. And Gondwana’s managing director Mannfred Goldbeck adds, “Illustrating the country’s history hardly gets more vivid than that”. Especially since stamps not only feature events such as independence in 1990 or the landing of Portuguese seafarers at Cape Cross in 1486, but also Namibia’s peoples, animals, plants and attractions. In the ‘Stamps & Stories’ series stamps will therefore tell a fascinating story about a specific aspect of Namibia every week.
The cooperation of NamPost and Gondwana on ‘Stamps & Stories’ has several reasons. NamPost celebrates its 20th anniversary next year. And the series of stories, published on the NamPost website, also serves to advertise Namibia’s stamps to collectors worldwide. “Sales to collectors, but also stamps bought by tourists for their postcards and letters, make a considerable contribution to our revenue”, says NamPost’s CEO Festus Hangula.
Gondwana plans a theme restaurant for its new accommodation facilities north of Sossusvlei, dedicated to the history of telecommunications and postal services. “We intend to make postage stamps the focal point because they are both decorative and informative”, Goldbeck explains. “What we have in mind are information boards on Namibia’s nature and history with large-size stamps and the story which the stamp represents told in brief and gripping texts”. The material for the information boards first has to be researched, of course. That accomplished, doesn’t it make perfect sense to publish the stories in an advance series of articles? What is more, a selection of ‘Stamps & Stories’ will be published as a book next year – to coincide with NamPost’s anniversary.