The religious diversity of the southern African nation of Namibia, dominated since colonialism by Christianity, stems from centuries of cultural interaction. Before colonialism, the supreme deity, Kalunga, presided over the Bantu-speaking Ovambo. With their onganga ritual, experts regulated relations with ancestors and healed illness. Today, Herero flag associations, composed of Christian men, commemorate colonial-era heroes and ancestors by visiting their graves and asking for good health. European missionaries saw such ideas as both bridges and challenges to Christianity, but populations of African descent, which also include San, Khoi, Nama, and Damara, have struck a balance with the mainline Christian heritage of the “mixed-race” Baster and Colored populations, both of whom speak Afrikaans, and the country's small White minority.

The London Missionary Society began evangelizing the Nama ...

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