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Namibia: "Living Museum" of the Ovaherero people inaugurated

Added 2024-05-25


The Ovaherero, along with the Nama people, were the tragic victims of the 20th century's first genocide in what was then "German South West Africa" with 80% killed between 1904-1908, as finally acknowledged in 2021 by the German government. The latter agreed to gradually pay over EUR 1bn for development in the affected communities, essentially the only European government to compensate victims of colonial crimes in Africa!

The Ovaherero Living Cultural Museum, inaugurated in the Kunene Region, which is popular with tourists due to its free-roaming black rhinos and elephants, aims to promote sustainable tourism and biodiversity conservation while benefiting local communities. Kunene is a relatively  un-developed area bordering Angola, with a great geopolitical interest due to iron ore and cobalt deposits, and hydroelectric potential as a possible site of the controversial Epupa Dam.

This is Namibia's 8th living museum. The concept, developed by the German-Namibian Living Culture Foundation, assists rural communities with recreating a settlement as it used to be in pre-colonial times. The participants are paid to work at the site in their traditional attire and help visitors interact with the great variety of their traditional culture.

Nearby, an independent museum opened earlier in 2024, the Swakopmund Genocide Museum, which is tiny but of huge importance. Such monuments and initiatives had been discouraged in the past due to a misplaced fear of insulting foreign tourists.