Namibia – Return to a New Country

(Namibia – Rückkehr in ein neues Land)

Germany, 1997, 85 min, color
In German; English subtitles
Music (Performance)
Production Company


Nangula Gideon and Nangula Cornelius, two Namibian women in their early twenties, spent their childhood together in exile in East Germany. They were part of nearly 500 children who were evacuated to East Germany in 1979 to protect them from the violence of civil war between South Africa and the socialist liberation movement, SWAPO. After Namibia gained independence in 1990, they were sent back to their homeland as schoolgirls. The film accompanies the young women on their journey through the youngest independent country in Africa. The 19-year-old farmer's son Franz Kurz lived in Namibia under the South African occupation. Through him, we learn about life as a Black man during apartheid and his perspectives today.


The young people interviewed in this documentary reflect on the experiences of the Namibian children who spent their childhoods in East Germany, focusing especially on their sense of identity and the difficulties they faced fitting into society.



The film is also available for a Digital Site License for educational partners. Please find more information here.


Starting in 1979, nearly 2,000 children were evacuated from Namibia (and refugee camps in neighboring Angola and Zambia) to protect them from the violence of the civil war between South Africa and the socialist liberation movement, SWAPO. In a gesture of allyship with SWAPO, the GDR accepted almost 500 children for their “protection, education, and socialist training.” In 1990, they were suddenly returned—after Namibia's independence and first all-race elections, which took place the same week as the Berlin Wall opened.



Retrospective HIDDEN FIGURES: Blackness and Black Experiences in East Germany, Amherst, USA

2006 Africa Alive, Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt, Germany



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