Uunona, who represents the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO), became a councilor in the Ompundja Constituency, after beating his opponent by 1,196 votes to 213.
In a statement supplied to the German tabloid Bild, Uunona said that his father named him Adolf Hitler without realizing the connotations of the name.
“As a child I saw it as a totally normal name. Only as a teenager did I understand that this man wanted to conquer the whole world.”
Uunona explained that he normally goes by Adolf and said that the fact he is named after the leader of the Nazi Party “doesn’t mean I’m striving for world domination.”
Namibia, a small country in southwest Africa, was a German colony between 1884 and 1915. Germany lost control of the territory following their defeat in WWI, after which Namibia came under South African rule.
Namibia gained independence in 1990, with SWAPO — which was founded by anti-apartheid activists — taking control of the government.
According to data from the World Bank, since declaring independence in 1990, Namibia has made tremendous progress in reducing poverty. In 2015 and 2016, 17.4 percent of the population lived below the national poverty line. In 2019, severe droughts reduced the country’s agricultural output and, in combination with low mineral production, created “challenging conditions for growth.”
The coronavirus pandemic is expected to have a devastating impact on the country’s economy. Per projections, the extreme poverty rate could rise by as much as 2.7 percentage points. Overall, the economy is expected to contract by 4.8 percent in 2020, with the virus decimating the tourism industry.
Uunona is not the first politician to attract interest because of an unusual name. In November, a Japanese politician whose name can be read as “Jo Baiden” became an internet sensation. As Japan Times reported, the 73-year-old Yutaka Umeda, the mayor of Yamato, even expressed support for Democrat Joe Biden, who is the president-elect of the United States.
Umeda said that he has received thousands of messages since Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump, explaining that he will try to use his newfound fame to promote his town.
“I feel very close to him. It feels as though I’ve also won the election after hearing about [his] projected win. Being the president of a superpower like the United States and a mayor of Yamato — the scale (of our jobs) is completely different, but I’d like to think of ways to promote the town,” Umeda said at the time.