Namibia’s first Afrikaans school was in Kub - Namibia Safari and Lodges - Gondwana Collection

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Namibia’s first Afrikaans school was in Kub

Avatar of inke inke - 26. October 2018 - Discover Namibia

The old schoolhouse in Kub was officially inaugurated on 1 August 1910. The school was closed in the late 1950s.

Dirk Heinrich

Kub is a small settlement 25 km west of Kalkrand in southern Namibia. At the turn of the 20th century, during German colonial times, Kub was a flourishing little place. Among the inhabitants were a number of Afrikaans families. German and Afrikaans settlers leased or had bought the surrounding land from Nama chief Hendrik Witbooi for farming purposes. The first Afrikaans family who moved into German South West Africa from South Africa at the end of the 19thcentury were the forefathers of Jan Jurgens, former Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources. According to documents in his possession, several Afrikaaners settled around Kub between 24 June 1899 and 16 February 1900. The trading company Wecke&Voigts owned farm Voigtskub which it leased to Jan, Jacobus and Stoffel Coetzee as well as Piet Brand.

Since the Afrikaans families did not want to send their children to the German school in Gibeon but wanted them to be taught in their mother tongue, Frans de Villiers Smeer of Mariental and Hendrik Smit of Swartmodder contacted the Nederlandsch-Zuid-Afrikaansche-Vereniging and secured the services of 30-year-old Dutchman Albertus Kooij. He was offered free board and lodging at Swartmodder plus a salary of 15 pounds per month. Kooij and his 28-year-old wife Sijke Adriana, née Vissers, arrived in Swakopmund in 1902 and soon started to teach at farm Swartmodder. Parents who wanted to send their children to the little private school had to agree to the conditions set by Hendrik Smit. The school soon became too small and parents looked at larger premises in Kub, because the settlement was more centrally situated. A house owned by Stoffel Coetzee was available and the Kooijs were lured to Kub to start the new school.

The house had three rooms. The Kooijs moved into one of them, another one became a dormitory for girls and the third one, the class room, doubled up as a dormitory for boys and the dining room. Meals were prepared outside. The medium of teaching was Dutch; German was taught as a second language. Annual school fees apparently amounted to £8 per child. Since most parents were unable to come up with cash, payment was often made in the form of livestock. The Afrikaans school in Kub was attended by 25 children, of whom 15 were boarders. Sijke Kooij was the housemother and taught needlework to the girls. On 9 May 1904 she died of pneumonia. She was buried at the small Afrikaans cemetery in Kub, which is less than a hundred metres from the German one.

The kitchen of the hostel, where meals were prepared for the children boarding at the school in Kub. The cast-iron stove was brought from Durban in South Africa.

In the battle of Kub, on 22 November 1904, Germans and Afrikaners defended the settlement against an attack by Namas. Albertus Kooij also took part in the fighting and afterwards teaching resumed at the little school, but the following year Kooij returned to the Netherlands. He was succeeded by Wilhelm Vogelbruck, a German citizen who had studied at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands for four years and was hired by Frans van Sittert of farm Narib to teach his children. Vogelbruck had discussions with the German colonial administration about building a school in Kub. Construction work started in 1907 under the supervision of a merchant by the name of Weilbächer. The school was finished on 22 March 1910 for a total cost of 8900 Mark. The official inauguration took place on 1 August 1910. The following year the school was attended by 21 pupils. Vogelbruck became the first teacher in Kub who was employed by the government. His wife was in charge of the school's hostel. The couple stayed until 1912. The next teacher in Kub was Paul Hermann.

During the turmoil of the First World War the school was closed. It reopened in October 1917, now under South African administration. The first headmaster was C.J. Strydom from Calitzdorp in the Cape Province. By 1928 the building had fallen into such a state of disrepair that the Administration of South West Africa made £1700 available for a new school and hostel - provided that construction work was carried out by the community at Kub. 

Teaching at the school in Kub continued into the 1950s. But since the new B1 arterial road and the railway line led through Kalkrand, 25 km away, a larger school was built there. The Afrikaans school in Kub was officially closed on 12 December 1958.

The school in Kub is generally considered to be the country's first Afrikaans school. Apparently, however, an Afrikaans school existed at Gannapan near Karasburg already in 1893, and children were taught in Afrikaans/Dutch at Swartmodder before the Coetzee house in Kub was used as a school.

When the Afrikaans school in Kub celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1953, a commemorative stone was put up close to the spot where the first little school had been.

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3 comments

Izak Smit

02. November 2018

The role of Hendrik Smit and Swartmodder is noted, yet currently it is only the foundations of the buildings at Swartmodder near Stampriet that remains, together with the gravestones of Hendrik Smit and other men murdered by Izak Witbooi (inscribed as such on the garvestones) at the start of the Nama war.

 

The Kub cemetery also bears witness to those who died during this war, whilst the little war grave cemetery next to the Gibeon rail station is the last resting place of the first two farmers killed at the start of this Nama war.


Freddie Coetzer

29. October 2018

Coetzee from Kub

My dad lived and went to school in Kub. Visited the place a few times with him to share some memories.


Basie Oosthuizen

27. October 2018

Mr

Thank you for this fantastic researched piece of history.My late father Willem Marthinus Oosthuizen was the last principal of the Kub school and was instrumental in the move to Kalkrand.And I started my school career in Kub in the year the school closed its doors.

There exist a Kub Yearbook 1953 which my late father compiled.On the last page is a baby photo of me.

Regards and keep on researching our country’s rich history.


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