Namibia People

People

come with me and meet some people in Namibia on a first hand experience of their genuine places. A lot of fascinating biographies are yet to be unveiled. Here is a start and as every long journey, this discovery begins with its first steps.

Hafeni Tours Swakopmund

I used to do this kind of tours before, once in Swakopmund, multiple times in Windhoek, going back as far as 1993, when Top Travel Information (the company I used to work for then), was offering this type of tours to Katutura as one of the first tour operators ever to do so. But this time, we have autumn 2012 in Namibia, it all seemed a little different. The appearance of our tour guide, the tour itself and all the issues we were talking about along our 4 hrs tour through Mondesa, it was just very much off the beaten tracks. Maybe it was my introduction comment on my experience with Namibia, or it was just simply the fact, that this time, the structure of the tour itself has changed, because it was tailored by Heinrich Hafeni Nghidipaya. Heinrich founded the venture of Hafeni Cultural Tours in 2010. He did this with more than a decade of experience in the tourism industry of Namibia. Today the Heinrich´s venture offers city tours in Swakopmund and Mondesa, event management, camping trips.

My interest is in learning about Mondesa and township life in Namibia. Michael Tuhafeni, the tour guide of this day, was born and raised in Swakopmund, by his grandmother. This happened since his mother decided to leave the child with grannie and his father literally never showed up throughout the entire youth of Michael. His grandmother passed away when Michael was 17 years old and so he had to lead a life on his own in Mondesa.

This must have been the time, when Hafeni grew strong as a personality, with a clear guideline of his independent life style and self-relying attitude. He himself confesses that a family is a strong social unit, even without having never experienced all that – he just intends to be a better father than the one he never got to know. And off he walked, finished high school, got a scholarship for university, picked music as his major subject, made it all the way to become an exchange student in Edmonton (Canada), and decided to not stay there, but come back to Mondesa and launch his own little venture. Off course, music is still a part – his tours end with little musical events in the Shebeen type of restaurant of his friend and co-entrepreneur Heinrich.

The tour I join starts with an introduction to Mondesa, still unveiling its township roots even after 20 years in the official post-apartheid period of Namibia (in fact apartheid in Namibia began to fail much earlier in the mid 1970´s). Roughly 50% of the Swakopmund population lives in Mondesa, excluding DRC, which is the squatter area next to Mondesa that township people tend to disregard and don´t want this to be counted as part of Mondesa.

Michael takes us to that part of Swakopmund with a taxi that stops right around the corner of a busy road, taking all kind of people to work in the remote mines in big buses. The mines outside (primarily uranium) Swakopmund seem to be the biggest source of income for most of the Mondesa people. The constant stream of workers with the need for transport to various shifts in the mine feeds a secondary part of value chains just along the streets and places from where the busses start. Different kind of food is supplied, all kind of daily goods to be sold, and even mine working supplies are available in little street side shops, some of them just created on the fly – a little boom seemed to set in. [/tab][tab title=“the Trailer“]click play see the video

Eventhough Namibia is a relatively low dense country regarding its given population, you will find it to be a very people dependent nation. Namibia today is a puzzle of different ethnic groups living together in a very peaceful mode. It seems that now, after a generation in a post freedom fight period, the time for a new generation of Namibians has come. This new generation is the one that tries to reinvent micro-economics throughout township life while at the same time the general economic progress of Namibia is on the right track. I would like to introduce you to some people and their background stories. I could meet those people during various stays in the country and I think it´s worth having a glance, since those people eventually make a difference. But go and see yourself in the following stories:

We hope you will enjoy your excursions with us. Please do not hesitate to contact us directly if you want to learn more or intend to have a similar experience. the people we introduce you to here are more than happy to learn about and maybe from you.

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Hafeni Township Tours (Mondesa, Swakopmund)

 

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About Andy Schweiger:

geboren 1971 in Füssen/Allgäu und dort bis zum Abgang von der Schule in einer traumhaften Landschaft aufgewachsen. Mit Anfang 20 prägen mich die Erlebnisse in Namibia rund um die Abschaffung der Apartheid aber auch die abgeschiedene Wildnis und der Zauber des Lichtes in der Wüste. Beruflich bedingt komme ich in den letzen 20 Jahren viel herum. Neben Nordamerika mache ich auch einige Erfahrungen in Asien, aber immer wieder zieht es mich nach Afrika, genauer gesagt nach Namibia - diesem Land widme ich neben meiner Heimatregion besondere photographische Aufmerksamkeit.

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