THE POWER OF COMMUNITY
The Resident’s Association Committee is formed by a group of individuals who are prepared to find the time to commit themselves to the better governance of Swakopmund, as far as they are able. To do this, the members meet regularly once a month, and discuss issues and plans concerning the town; and when necessary, further their concerns or queries to the correct departments of the municipality which is always the administrative body of all developments in every town.
Why Should I Join?
Why Should I Join?
To have a voice for the community on the town council, it is necessary for the residents of this town to vote for our Association, and this is a critical part of our standing. The stronger our voice, the greater the success we can hope for. For this reason it is important for as many residents as possible to vote for our member – lost votes mean the loss of yet another candidate who could be speaking up for the good governance of the community. Our present councillor, Mr Wifried Groenewald, will serve for 5 years, representing the interests of our general residents and aiming for a well-run and honest town administration.
More members – more visible – more effective.
Younger members are especially urged to join and take interest as they will be preparing their town for their future lives and well-being, and for their children in turn. It is important to plan wisely for the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many residents use the Residents’ association as their mouthpiece to the municipality and ask us questions which need formal answers. For example, we are asked about the water and sewage problems, about electricity problems and about the street paving process. Each question is dealt with privately and individually.
Complaints about Swakopmund processes are conveyed to the municipality too, and once again kept confidential.
Who Can Join?
What We're Up To
Swakopmund is a city on the coast of Namibia, 360 km west of Windhoek, Namibia's capital. It is the capital of the Erongo administrative district. The city is situated in the Namib Desert. Swakopmund is a beach resort and an appealing example of German colonial architecture. It was founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German South-West Africa, and a sizable part of its population is still German-speaking today. The city lies on the B2 road and the Trans-Namib Railway from Windhoek to Walvis Bay. It is also home to Swakopmund Airport.
These are the following districts and suburbs in Swakopmund:
Democratic Resettlement Community
The Democratic Resettlement Community is an informal settlement in Swakopmund. It was founded in 2001 as temporary housing for people waiting for subsidized housing in the city. Most inhabitants of the town live in the suburbs of Vineta, Tamariskia, Mondesa and Vogelstrand. Both black and white people, mostly well-to-do, live in Vineta.
Tamariskia was originally a neighbourhood for the coloured people, built in the early 1970s, to replace the shacks the coloureds earlier had built between the town centre and Vineta. Mondesa already existed in the 1960s, and it was a neighbourhood for black people, and it was a considerable distance from the town centre in the early days.
Some historical dates:
September 1892: First building is erected in Swakopmund (a barrack for troops).
1894: 19 inhabitants.
1895: First people to be buried in the local cemetery - 5 sailors who drowned in boat accident.
1896: Lieutenant Troost's attempts to solve transport problem by introducing ''Martin Luther''.
1897: First post office in town.
1899: Introduction of cable telegraph service. Water pipeline from Swakop.
1901: First passengers are landed at the Mole. Telephone service is established with 40 subscribers.
1903: First wooden pavements.
1905: Jetty opened. The newspaper Deutsche Suedwestafrikanische Zeitung is published. 1433 inhabitants.
1909: Swakopmund is an independent municipality.
1911: Shipping connection with New York. First Swakopmunder Zeitung is published.
1914: Shelling of the harbour by British naval cruisers. Swakopmunders are evacuated inland.
1915: Occupation by SA troops. Shooting of more than 1500 horses and mules outside of the town because of a ‘glanders’ infection.
1926: Railway bridge opened over the mouth of Swakop river.
1929: Hansa Brewery is opened.
1930: First guano platform constructed.
1931: Railway bridge is destroyed by flood.
1935: Railway bridge is constructed 5 km upstream from Swakop river mouth.
1959: Opening of salt road to Walvis Bay.
1960: 4 701 inhabitants.
1967: Tar road from Windhoek reached Swakopmund.
1970: Tar road to Walvis Bay opened.
1973: First 3 traffic robots.
1982: 5 800 vehicles registered in town.
1994: Swakopmund Hotel is opened.
Swakopmund Facts & History
Swakopmund, Namibia, was founded, by Captain Curt von Francois as the main harbour of German South West Africa in 1892, two years later than Windhoek. Increased traffic between Germany and its colony necessitated the establishment of a port as Walvis Bay, located 33 kilometres south, was in British possession. The choice fell on Swakopmund where water could be found and because other sites checked (including Cape Cross) were unsuitable.
The majority of towns and villages in Namibia have grown out of indigenous settlements and very often were located close to sources of water. Names of places given by original inhabitants were very descriptive and in many cases those names were retained by European settlers who sometimes simplified pronunciations of the names. The Nama word ''Tsoakhaub'' can be translated as ''excrement opening'' which was an offensive but accurate description of the waters of the Swakop River in flood, carrying masses of mud, sand, pieces of vegetation and animal corpses. The masses of dirty and muddy water were emptied into the ocean and the indigenous name described it very well.
The Nama name was changed to ''Swachaub'' and with the proclamation of Swakopmund as an independent district in 1896 the present name came into use.
On the 4 of August 1892 the crew of gunboat ''Hyena'' erected two beacons (one at the present location of the Mole and another at the location of the lighthouse) to mark the landing site. This symbolized the laying of the foundation stone of the town. The first settlers were offloaded from the ''Marie Woermann'' (120 Schutztruppe with equipment and 40 settlers) using 4 landing boats. The settlers had to build ''caves'' on the beach to protect themselves against hostile weather. Before the Mole was built all off-loads were carried by special boats which were handled by Kru men (from Liberia). Up to 600 Kru tribesmen were employed by the Woermann Line.
The first town building plan was drawn by Dr Rhode. Because of the lack of building materials mainly prefabricated wooden houses were erected.
Sights and Buildings
Designed by Berlin sculptor Wolff, and donated to Swakopmund by marines from Kiel in 1908.
This was unveiled on 10 November 1963 in memory of those killed in World War 2. It is located near the museum.
This has resulted from an unsuccessful attempt to construct the artificial harbour. A 375 metre pier was completed in 1900 but by winter 1906, a sandbank had completely blocked it.
The first wooden jetty, completed in 1905, was damaged by borer worm (Teredo navalis) and construction of an iron jetty began in 1911. The proposed length of 640 metres was enough to offload vessels without the usage of smaller boats but by the beginning of World War 1 only 262 meters were completed. The first repairs were done in 1986 when the first section of iron poles was encased in concrete. The second replacement of badly corroded iron structures and repairs (part of the jetty was closed for pedestrians in 1998 for 7 years) was finalised in 2010, including the wooden promenade.
Recognized as one of the most beautiful buildings in the town, this was completed in 1905.
Princess Rupprecht House
Now a private pension/B&B and retirement centre, the original building was completed in 1901 as a military hospital.
The original building served as a barracks. The design is similar to the Alte Feste in Windhoek and Fort Namutoni in Etosha Park. The building was completed in 1906.
(Swakopmund hotel from 1994). This was declared a National monument in 1972. The building, designed by C. Schmidt (tower design by Willy Sander - architect of Windhoek's ''Three Castles''), was completed in 1901.
Namib High/ex German School
Completed in October 1913, the building hosted both the government and municipal secondary schools. Design by E. Krause.
Built in 1906, this initially served as a hotel. At present it is sectional title apartments.
Deutsche Evangelical church
The building, designed by Otto Ertl, was consecrated on 7 January 1912. The bells were imported from Germany where they were made by Franz Schilling. This is the second oldest building in Swakopmund. It was proclaimed a National Monument on 21 September 1978.
Designed by Otto Ertl the building (a hospital) was opened in March 1908.
Today it is a retirement centre.
The first 11 metres were erected in July 1902 and a further 10 meters were added in 1910.
State House (Kaiserliches Bezirksgericht)
Built as a magistrate's court in 1902 the building served as a summer residence for top government officials for several decades. Architect : C. Schmidt.
Reference: www.namibweb.com - The online guide to Namibia