By Victor Angula
THE town of Oshikuku is building a cultural heritage centre that will consist of an Aawambo traditional homestead, guest bungalows, open-air entertainment area, swimming pool, curio shop and kiosk, bar and restaurant, braai facilities, and a museum. This is in line with the town’s plans to realign its development strategy and centred it on the town’s immense potential for cultural
tourism. The idea has translated into investment totalling close to N$5 million into the cultural village, which will position the town as a stop-over for tourists and travellers looking for something different on route to Ruacana and other tourist attractions in northern Namibia. “Some of these facilities were recently completed and are expected to be open to the public as from November this year,” said John Siloiso, Oshikuku’s public relations officer. The project was funded by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development through the Local Economic Development Agency (LEDA), he
said. “Most northern towns are missing out on tourism [revenue], apart from offering accommodation and conference facilities. Oshikuku would like to offer more than accommodation and conference facilities by incorporating a cultural tourism component in its offering. “The concept is similar to the Lesedi Cultural Village in Gauteng Province in South Africa. The Oshikuku
Cultural Heritage Centre will be showcasing the Aawambo culture, tradition and values with a
focus on Aakwambi people.” Historically Oshikuku had no major significance in the political setup of northern Namibia before Independence. It was a sleepy village with no economic assets in the form of natural resources. In fact the place existed on the map simply on account of the Roman Catholic Mission stationed there since 1924. For years Oshikuku was a religious centre and church-run hospital for the local villagers, and consisted of nothing more than a few small shops catering to the basic necessities of life for the locals, as well as travellers between the towns of Oshakati and Outapi. It was merely seven years ago when Oshikuku was declared a town with a town council mandated to serve its residents and seek ways to put it on a path of sustainable development. The idea of cultural tourism is new and not fully explored in Namibia. Cultural tourism is concerned with travellers and visitors coming to engage and explore a town or village’s culture, customs
and lifestyles of the local people, as well as their history, arts, architecture, religion, etc. – not for academic purposes but for interest’s sake. Apart from its tourism potential Oshikuku has a rich history. “Among the notable historical sites is the grave of King Iipumbu Ya Tshilongo, the eighteenth king of the Uukwambi, who died in 1959 and was buried in a Roman Catholic hierarchy graveyard, so is his wife,” Siloiso pointed out.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015