Costing the same as a national park permit, the entry price to the vainglorious monument that is Heroes’ Acre is hard to justify. Yet this controversial N$60 million monument, inaugurated in 2002, is definitely worth a visit, if only to fully appreciate the grandiose monstrosity that is Stalinesque in both conception and scale. Aimed at fostering a spirit of patriotism and nationalism to be passed on to the future generations of Namibia, the hillside memorial comprises a vast parade ground and a broad flight of steps, flanked by the tombstones and gravesites of current and future heroes and heroines, that leads up to a towering white marble obelisk – symbolising a sword. In front stands an eight-metre bronze statue of the “unknown soldier”, who clearly resembles Sam Nujoma, depicted carrying a Kalashnikov and brandishing a hand grenade. The strong likeness to the country’s first president has fuelled criticism in some quarters that Heroes’ Acre is more a glorification of SWAPO than a more general remembrance of Namibians who lost their lives in the struggle, though the vast bronze frieze at the top of the steps is careful to portray the suffering, resistance and ultimate triumph of all black Namibians, irrespective of ethnicity, political allegiance, age and gender. Once you’ve hauled yourself up the final step, turn round and soak up the stellar view of Windhoek spread out in front of you, before grabbing a cold drink at the on-site restaurant.

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