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The end of the “Tickey Box”

Tickey box cemetery at the Telecom premises in Windhoek, 2014. (Photo: Gondwana Collection)

Those were the days when people stood in a one-metre-square steel cabin during winter, coin ready in one hand, telephone receiver in the other, waiting for the lady at the telephone exchange to say when to drop the tickey coin into the slot. Only then would the call go through.The red and beige booths would feel like a Turkish bath during summer....[more]

Category: Gondwana History


Masses of Water take Farmers by Surprise at Night

This picture of farm Reussenland featured on the front-page of the Suidwes-Afrikaner on 1 March 1960. Source: Claus Schulz

“I was on my way from Ovamboland by plane that day. Flying high over the cloud cover I noticed a massive tower of clouds to the southwest, which rose to a tremendous height above the ceiling. The pilot, experienced in the country’s weather conditions, said that something extraordinary was about to happen with the weather – and how right he was.”...[more]

Category: Gondwana History


The Black Rock – Monument to a Fatal Misunderstanding

The former oxwagon route from Windhoek to Seeis passes a rock with “Schwarze Klippe 14.2.04” (Black Rock) inscribed on it. On noticing this rock one cannot help but wonder what happened there. It is little known that at the beginning of the Herero uprising in 1904 German soldiers accidentally shot at their comrades in a skirmish close to this...[more]

Category: Gondwana History


The Lighthouse - A Monument to Harbour Dreams

The lighthouse built in 1903 from hewn quarry stones. Quelle: Namibia Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft

The lighthouse stands out on Swakopmund's "skyline". The citizens of the coastal town are proud of it and it features prominently in the old and new municipal coat of arms. Nevertheless it is rarely mentioned by sources on the history of Swakopmund. Is that perhaps because it was part of a project that failed? The lighthouse flashed its...[more]

Category: Gondwana History


Witness to the sinking of the Brig Tilly

The brig Tilly under full sail. Source: Lüderitz Museum

It was in April 1884 that Ludwig Conradt, a Berlin specialist for water drilling, heard about the ‘ventures of Lüderitz’ for the first time. Adolf Lüderitz, a merchant of Bremen, was determined to establish a German colony in the south-western parts of Africa. Conradt was thrilled by the idea and offered his services to Lüderitz. Subsequently he...[more]

Category: Gondwana History


Mysterious Monument in Aus

This memorial stone was erected in Aus to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Emperor William II.

Aus is situated 125 km east of Lüderitz on the fringe of the Huib Plateau in the Namib Desert. If you make time for a closer look at this little village of 1,200 inhabitants (in 2011) you will discover a memorial stone at the riverbank next to the old railway station from German colonial times. The stone is a good two metres high, but there is no...[more]

Category: Gondwana History


How Leopard got his spots

A deadly surprise for this baboon.  Photo: John Dominis

According to African folklore, Leopard stopped sharing his meals and started to hide his kill in trees because Jackal and Hyena weren’t reciprocating his generosity. Leopardess, on the other hand, became wary because Hare ate her cubs. One of the best remembered fables of the ages is, however, “How the Leopard Got His Spots” in the “Just So...[more]

Category: Gondwana History


Mûgorob - The writing on the wall for Apartheid?

The Mûgorob, before... Photo: Mark van Aardt

The massive sandstone pillar in southern Namibia that stood east of the B1 national road near Asab and pointed to the sky like a warning finger until 7 December 1988, was 12 m high, up to 4.5 m wide and weighed some 450 tons. What made the “Finger of God” (also known as Mukorob) so special, however, was its base. Just 3 m long and 1.5 m wide it...[more]

Category: Gondwana History


Brandberg Pioneer Reinhard Maack Discovers the White Lady

Reinhard Maack. (Source: http://www.reinhard-maack.de/person.html)

Reinhard Maack was the first European to conquer Königstein (2573 m), the highest peak in Namibia in the Brandberg massif. He also discovered the famous White Lady, which together with other rock paintings testified to the fact that indigenous people had been there long before him. Maack and his friend A Hofmann set out on an expedition to the...[more]

Category: Gondwana History


Rhino Hunt results in the founding of Henties Bay

Henties Bay in 2009. (Photo: Kirsten Kraft)

Who would have thought that a rhino hunt in 1929 would result in the founding of one of Namibia’s most popular holiday resorts? The story of how Major Hentie van der Merwe discovered a deep valley of sand a few miles south of the Omaruru river mouth was first published on 29 April 1977 by the Brandwag magazine. It was a spot with more than enough...[more]

Category: Gondwana History

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