Swakop turns 130

Festivities kick off
The 130th anniversary of Swakopmund was officially celebrated on Thursday 4 August 2022.
Adam Hartman
Swakopmund was founded 130 years ago on Thursday, 4 August, as the main harbour for Imperial Germany's South West African colony, and since developed into the class one modern municipality with 70 000 residents, and

key to Namibia's tourism sector, it is today.

"Today’s festivities are in recognition of the founding of Swakopmund," said Erongo governor Neville Andre during the official celebration held in the town's amphi-theatre, which he followed up with his impressive rendition of 'Happy Birthday Swakopmund'.

He paid homage to all the former and current mayors and councilors, in particular the late Daniel Kamho, who became the first black mayor of Swakopmund after Independence, "for ensuring that development inclusive development takes place". "Today Swakopmund caters for Namibians from all walks of life, who call Swakopmund their home. As we go forward, we must hold hands in unity to develop this town further. Our children growing up here should know that they are Namibians. Today’s celebrations are a testimony that we are all Namibians and that we celebrate our heritage together as a nation."

Despite the having come a long way in development, Swakopmund is facing the challenges of rural to urban migration, and this has resulted in a high rate of unemployment, and pressure on services. "People come to the Swakopmund from across the country, in search of opportunities and in so doing put pressure on the already scarce resources, resulting in the municipality to invest its scarce resources in housing, employment creation and sanitation," said the governor.

He added that despite all these challenges, the town still has the potential to be the hub of urban and desert agriculture as well as exploiting the opportunities offered by the blue economy.

Swakopmund mayor Louisa Kativa said that the 130 years of development and achievements is a special occasion worth celebrating, and that the theme 'Swakopmund shining since 1892' indicates that the town is a beacon of light (like its famous lighthouse) to Namibia's socio-economy and traditional and cultural history and diversity. " Swakopmund remains a town people want to come to as it continually strives to develop, aiming to become Namibia's first smart city by 2030. We encourage people to consider new partnership with us to help us continue our legacy of success to create a better future for our town and its people. We are proud of the incredible progress we have made over the past 130 years."

Activities

The program of activities for the anniversary include the lighting up of ten historical buildings on 4 August from 19:00; street markets on August 5, 6, 26 and 27. A sports festival and color party is planned for 6 August at the Vineta sports field. A gospel festival, "Shining through Grace", will take place this coming Sunday at Mondesa's multi-purpose centre.

The Tamariskia Festival with dance and 'potjiekos' competition will be held on August 13 at the Tamariskia basketball court.

A youth talent show for dancers, poets and actors will take place on August 20 at the Namib Primary School.

The opening of a 'historical' exhibition will take place on 26 August at the Swakopmund Museum, and finally on 29 August a procession and cultural performances will be held at the Swakopmund Municipality's office.

Local artists will close the festivities with a music festival to be held in the open space next to the Festus !Gonteb Primary School on 27 August from 15:00.