Heroes Acre (Windhoek)
(Image: Bronze Statue of Freedom Fighter Soldier at the Heroes Acre in Namibia)
The Heroes’ Acre is an official war memorial of the Republic of Namibia. Built less than 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) outside the capital of Windhoek, Heroes’ Acre opened on 26 August 2002 and operates for the purpose of “foster(ing) a spirit of patriotism and nationalism, and to pass on the legacy to the future generations of Namibia”.
The Heroes’ Acre monument is situated south of Windhoek on the B1 national road to Rehoboth. It is built as a symmetric polygon with a marble obelisk and a bronze statue of the Unknown Soldier at its centre. The site contains parade grounds and a grandstand for 5000 people. The burial site consists of 174 tombs, not all of which are currently occupied.
Mansudae Overseas Projects, a company from the North Korea, was given a N$60 million contract from Namibia to build the 732-acre (2.96 km2) monument. The contract was awarded without any competitive tendering process, and eventually the construction cost doubled. The intransparent contracting of foreign manual labour has been criticised by corruption watchdog insight Namibia.
The memorial has been described as “monstrous” and its erection was speculated to “reveal a lack of African self-confidence”. The statue of the Unknown Soldier resembles the physical features of Sam Nujoma, Namibia’s founding president and ultimately the initiator of its erection.
In May 2005, a report in The Namibian noted that Heroes Acre was “already showing signs of decay”. In particular, a bronze statue of a soldier had suffered damage, as had the plinth on which it stood. Some of the gold-coloured letters forming an inscription on the plinth were broken or missing, and the letters were “made of a cement-like substance, which had been painted gold and then glued to the plinth”.