Certain houses in Khomadal and Katutura to be declared heritage centres

Martin Endjala

The City of Windhoek (CoW) Council has approved plans to declare houses that are over 50 years old into heritage centres in the areas of Khomasdal and Katutura, with the aim of transforming the apartheid-era legacy into vibrant hubs offering employment creation opportunities.

The City’s Ordinary Council meeting that took place last week, agreed that an identification and nomination process should be carried out to select certain houses in Khomasdal and Katutura locations such as the Herero, Damara, Wambo, Donkerhoek and Gemengde to create a cultural precinct by developing a trail around the said townships as they were called during Apartheid days.

“While the city centre has monuments and statues, there are no official heritage resources in Katutura or Khomasdal. The aim is to create a cultural precinct by developing a trail around the townships,” reads the document.

It says that the selection process will be based on the significance of the first occupants and that the houses will be transformed to tell the stories of social, political and educational icons of the 1960s.

“The main goal of this project is to transform the apartheid-era legacy of the Katutura and Khomasdal townships into vibrant hubs offering employment creation opportunities, as well as experiences for people to immerse themselves in Namibian culture and art. These houses will be utilised as historical icon museums, showcasing the people of a specific area, through cultural performances, traditional food, traditional chores and arts and crafts,” said the Council.

Added that the houses will also be used as accommodation, providing homestay experiences for visitors to stay with local people and as restaurants serving local cuisine.

The Council further explained that similar projects have been successfully accomplished in other Southern African cities, such as Johannesburg-Soweto, which nominated and preserved the late Nelson Mandela family home as a national heritage institution.

CoW Communications Manager Harold Akwenye, told the Windhoek Observer that the city will negotiate with current house owners or occupants and once they agree, they will be given alternative new houses constructed by the city.
“The City of Windhoek will engage with the house owners by offering them alternative housing. The City is in the process of building its own houses as well, therefore such houses will be offered, but proper stakeholders engagement will be conducted,” said Akwenye.

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