Postage stamps were issued in the South African-administered colony of South West Africa from 1914 to 1989. The South African Army overran German South-West Africa in 1914–15 and, in 1922, a League of Nations mandate gave South Africa the responsibility of administering the colony, now renamed South West Africa. South Africa controlled the postal service until Namibian independence in 1989. After World War II, the mandate was supposed to transform the colony into a United Nations Trust Territory, but South Africa objected to it coming under UN control and refused to allow the territory's transition to independence, regarding it as a fifth province.
South African stamps were used from 1914 until 1923. The first stamps inscribed South West Africa were issued bilingually in English and Afrikaans (Suidwest Afrika) on 1 January 1923. From 1970, the abbreviation SWA was in general use. In 1989, the last stamps of South West Africa were a set of 15 depicting minerals and mining. The stamps were unusual in that only a short while after their issue the illegal Republic of South West Africa was declared independent, becoming Namibia. As the stamps were new, most of the designs were kept with only the name changed (cuprite was dropped and willemite added for the Namibian issue). Another problem was that one of the stamps, for boltwoodite, had an error in its chemical equation. This was corrected in the Namibian issue. Namibia has issued regular definitive and commemorative stamps since independence in 1989, NamPost being its postal authority. The stamp on this maxi card was issued by the Govt of South West Africa to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the landing of Bartholomeu Dias at Walvis Bay.
Bartolomeu Dias (1451 – 29 May 1500), a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer. He sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European known to have done so. Bartolomeu Dias was a Knight of the royal court, superintendent of the royal warehouses, and sailing-master of the man-of-war, São Cristóvão (Saint Christopher). King John II of Portugal appointed him, on 10 October 1487, to head an expedition to sail around the southern tip of Africa in the hope of finding a trade route to India. Dias was also charged with searching for the lands ruled by Prester John, who was a fabled Christian priest and ruler.
After having sailed past Angola, Dias reached the Golfo da Conceicão (Walvis Bay) by December. Dias, who stopped at what today is Walvis Bay and Lüderitz (which he named Angra Pequena). This maxi card has been postmarked at Luderitz.
Having rounded the Cape of Good Hope at a considerable distance, Dias continued east and entered what he named Aguada de São Brás (Bay of Saint Blaise)—later renamed Mossel Bay—on 3 February 1488. Dias's expedition reached its furthest point on 12 March 1488 when they anchored at Kwaaihoek, near the mouth of the Bushman's River, where a padrão—the Padrão de São Gregório—was erected before turning back. Dias wanted to continue sailing to India, but he was forced to turn back when his crew refused to go further. It was only on the return voyage that he actually discovered the Cape of Good Hope, in May 1488. Dias returned to Lisbon in December of that year, after an absence of sixteen months.