Namibia, Finnish Relations Historical

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By Minttu-Maaria Partanen

WINDHOEK

Prime Minister Nahas Angula visited Finland last weekend to strengthen further the good bilateral relations between Finland and Namibia.

Angula spoke at the Festival of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission that was held in Oulu, in northern Finland on June 13t to15h.

The theme of the festival covered globalization and the supremacy of western theology.

“The bridge of friendship which connects Finland to Namibia was built more than a century ago,” Angula noted in his speech.

According to him, Finnish missionaries’ work has shaped the Namibian culture, belief system and the way of life. The Finnish have also benefited greatly northern Namibia’s education and health systems.

Angula himself is in personal indebtedness to Finnish work in northern Namibia. Aged one year, he suffered serious health problems and had to be treated at Onandjokwe hospital that was established by Finnish doctor Selma Rainio in 1910.

Angula also attended church or mission-run schools in the north. By the end of the 19th century, missionaries had set up ten schools in the north.

In 1913, the Mission Board of the Finnish Missionary Society opened a Teacher Training Seminar that would provide local teachers for the Namibians.

Angula thanked Finland for participating in Namibia’s independence struggle. Finnish Commissioner Martti Ahtisaari established the United Nations’ Nationhood Programme for Namibia.

Ahtisaari was also the head of the United Nations’ team that supervised and controlled elections in Namibia in 1989.

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