By Izak Burger
I think the main reason is simply that there are much less people in Namibia. Where South Africa has over 50 million people, Namibia has about 2 Million.
I believe there are secondary reasons as well.
The first is that the progression of presidents in Namibia went the opposite way that it did in South Africa. Over time the various presidents became gradually more outspoken about the need for forgiveness and reconciliation, whereas in South Africa such talk was at its peak under Mandela and went decidedly downhill from there.
The second is that you’re dealing with different cultures. The dominant Ovambo tribe, as well as the Herero, the Damara and the Nama are quite different to the Xhosa or the Zulu. The Zulu nation has a long military history with many strong military leaders (Shaka, Dingaan, etc), whereas Namibian history tells us of only one strong Ovambo leader (Mandume).
The third reason, Namibia had less British influence. One can argue that a lot of our problems related to segregation actually started with the Brits. Namibia was still very German at this point: Not that the Germans were much better in general (one need only read about Von Trotha), but sometimes small details like that is enough to steer things in a different direction.
Fourth reason: Climate. You will note that the Northern Cape is quite a bit more peaceful than Limpopo or Mpumalanga, where most farm murders actually occur. Namibia’s climate is dry, much like the Northern cape, and has many of the same people as well (descendents of the Khoi and Nama). Maybe it’s part of the human condition, that when the land is hard, the hearts of the people are softer.