Windhoek’s oldest building to be turned into business center

Steve Nashama

The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture last Thursday announced that it will establish and maintain the Arts, Crafts and Heritage Centre of Excellence at the Alte Feste Building, after they entered into a ten-year-agreement with the Namibia Arts, Craft and Design (NACD) to renovate, manage and redefine the complex into a business center.

The Alte Feste is the oldest building in Windhoek and is of significant historical value to the country. It was declared a national museum in 1957 and turned into the National Museum of Namibia after independence. The building became severely dilapidated, and it is currently in need of large scale renovations.

Last year during October and November, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture conducted an online public request on the general public inputs about the repurposing of the Alte Feste Building.

According the survey, the ministry has indicated that over 80 percent saw the Alte Feste as an important cultural and historical monumental building that is necessary for Namibian society.

The ministry further indicated that 86 percent of the respondents agreed that the building should be turned into an Arts, Culture and Heritage Centre in order to benefit all Namibians while 90 percent of the total respondents indicated that Namibians would benefit from the repurposing of the Alte Feste Building.

“The key objective is to contribute to the development of cultural and creative sectors in Namibia by protecting space and a platform for creative, cultural and craft businesses especially those led by youth, rural women, and vulnerable groups to generate income and improve their livelihood,” the ministry announced.

The ministry said the envisaged inclusions include a craft market, gallery, museum, training workshops and studios, restaurant and event spaces.

In a media release, the ministry indicated that it will work in partnership with NACD to raise funds for the implementation of the project in a phased approach to stabilize and make the monument useable to start craft activities while more fundraising is to be conducted to complete the project completely over the next two years.

The ministry said it is responsible for the Alte Feste to repurpose the historical building into accessible and beneficial for all Namibians, and information to interested parties will be shared by the stakeholder management in March this year.

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