A Step back in Time, Windhoek, Namibia

Windhoek in the 70’ies, Namibia

Windhoek in the 70’ies, Namibia

Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, always had a special place in my soul. Being my city of birth and spending the first 8 years of my life here, I have some very fond memories of our upbringing.

Family photo, Windhoek, Namibia

Family photo, Windhoek, Namibia

Not having revisited this desert metropole in 42 years, I was a touch anxious driving along ‘Kaiserstraat’, now called Independence Avenue. I wasn’t foolish enough to expect the same city from what I remember being a toddler. Times had changed, Independence freed the young nation from German colonial grips and South African dependency in 1990. Modern technology and lifestyle wouldn’t stop marching forward even here. Windhoek gets its ‘Afrikaanse’ name from ‘windy corner’ and lies almost central in Namibia in the ‘Khomas Highlands’ at 1700 m elevation. Due to its unfavourable geographical location and violent human intervention over the years, the city’s progress haltered to many standstills.

Tintenpalast in Windhoek, Namibia

Tintenpalast in Windhoek, Namibia

The ‘Alte Feste’, or old fortress, was the stronghold of the German ‘Schutz Truppe’ (Peacekeeping force).

Reiterdenkmal in Windhoek, Namibia

Reiterdenkmal in Windhoek, Namibia

The ‘Reiterdenkmal’, or ‘Equestrian Monument’ is a proud reminder of the ‘Schutztruppe’s’ victory over the ‘Nama’ and ‘Herero’ tribes, bringing ‘peace’ to then ‘German Southwest Africa’. 

Reiterdenkmal and Alte Feste in Windhoek, Namibia

Reiterdenkmal and Alte Feste in Windhoek, Namibia

Meanwhile, the ‘Reiterdenkmal’ has been relocated into the ‘Alte Feste’, which now serves as a museum for Namibia’s violent and intriguing past. Not only has the proud horseback rider been locked into his own colonial past, but has been replaced by a rather drastic, macabre in my mind, monument.

Independence monument, Windhoek, Namibia

Independence monument, Windhoek, Namibia

No one could misinterpret this clear message.

Nobby always liked cannons, Windhoek, Namibia

Nobby always liked cannons, Windhoek, Namibia

Even old cannons had been removed back in the fortress. One can never be sure enough. The ‘Alte Feste’ underwent renovations and was closed to the public. 

Palm trees lined streets in Windhoek, Namibia

Palm trees lined streets in Windhoek, Namibia

If there is something I clearly remember about Windhoek, it is the palm trees lining the streets. An easy give away to recognise Namibia’s capital city.

Colonial flair, Windhoek, Namibia

Colonial flair, Windhoek, Namibia

German colonial architecture is still the photographic focus point.

Christuskirche in the 70’ies, Windhoek, Namibia

Christuskirche in the 70’ies, Windhoek, Namibia

The ‘Christuskirche’ being one of the highlights which I do remember surprisingly well.

A photographic highlight in Windhoek, Namibia

A photographic highlight in Windhoek, Namibia

This church is located just in front of the ‘Tintenpalast’ (Ink Palace),

Modern times, Windhoek, Namibia

Modern times, Windhoek, Namibia

from where the city centre spreads out to its suburbs.

Colonial train station in Windhoek, Namibia

Colonial train station in Windhoek, Namibia

Part of the ‘Old Town’ is the colonial train station building.

Things were a bit different then, Windhoek, Namibia

Things were a bit different then, Windhoek, Namibia

This was an important train traffic station throughout most of the 1900’s. Goods from the African inland were transported to and from Walvis Bay, Namibia’s biggest port and harbour city.

Remembrance of glory days, Windhoek, Namibia

Remembrance of glory days, Windhoek, Namibia

These glory days are long gone. 

Convent off the holy Cross in Windhoek, Namibia

Convent of the Holy Cross in Windhoek, Namibia

Right on Independence Avenue lies the ‘Convent of the Holy Cross’, which is undergoing some serious renovations. Well, this is where I was presented my lolly bag for my first day of school. 

Maybe I didn’t get enough lollies, Windhoek, Namibia

Maybe I didn’t get enough lollies, Windhoek, Namibia

Wearing a strict school uniform, the holy teaching sisters taught my brother and me the ABC. Standing in line in the courtyard, singing the South Western anthem is an everlasting memory. Although, I can’t remember the anthem.

Sister Act, Windhoek, Namibia

Sister Act, Windhoek, Namibia

My younger sister was too young to go to school back then. 

Brothers in arms, Windhoek, Namibia

Brothers in arms, Windhoek, Namibia

I chose to stay in a Backpackers/ Campground on ‘John-Meinert Straße’. Reason being is that not far from here, on this very same street, I grew up.

Grandparents visit, Windhoek, Namibia

Grandparents visit, Windhoek, Namibia

A fairly large property which included a townhouse, big enough to host the whole family.

Family fun, Windhoek, Namibia

Family fun, Windhoek, Namibia

We had a large garden which gave us 3 youngsters plenty of space to play.

Entertainment pure, Windhoek, Namibia

Entertainment pure, Windhoek, Namibia

We never ran out off ideas to keep us entertained and occupied.

Boxer mother ‘Dingo’ waiting patiently for things to come, Windhoek, Namibia

Boxer mother ‘Dingo’ waiting patiently for things to come, Windhoek, Namibia

Our Boxer dogs were never short of attention

Playful as always, Windhoek, Namibia

Playful as always, Windhoek, Namibia

and most times within the mix off activities.

Another kids birthday party, Windhoek, Namibia

Another kids birthday party, Windhoek, Namibia

Our reasonable sized swimming pool hosted plenty of birthday parties. The fence was built to keep our playful dogs out.

Waiting for the Indian chief, Windhoek, Namibia

Waiting for the Indian chief, Windhoek, Namibia

Such joyful times. Lots of great memories. I couldn’t and didn’t understand then why we had to leave.

Boxer offspring in Windhoek, Namibia

Boxer offspring in Windhoek, Namibia

For obvious reasons, I didn’t want that happening.

Grandchief arrived, Windhoek, Namibia

Grand chief arrived, Windhoek, Namibia

However, it wasn’t my choice and us kids possibly had a better upbringing and education in Europe. The property doesn’t look anything like it used to be nowadays, I was secretly hoping that it would. Urban lifestyle anchored here as well as anywhere else in Windhoek. With a little glimpse of the past, it is time to look forward again.

Best friends Jackie and Yolandi, Windhoek, Namibia

Best friends Jackie and Yolandi, Windhoek, Namibia

I met young but independent mothers Jackie and Yolandi at the Backpackers. Both had their fair share of life’s tragedies, both are hoping for a prosperous future.

The start of an amusing night, Windhoek, Namibia

The start of an amusing night, Windhoek, Namibia

A casual chat turned in to an entertaining evening, beer and braai included. Like any other capital city in Africa, Windhoek deals with modern and social problems. Not tonight though.

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