The Windhoek City Council plans to convert seven houses built between 1959 and 1960 in Katutura township and Khomasdal into heritage assets and include them in the municipality’s heritage register.
These houses are to be identified in Herero, Damara, Nama, Owambo, Donkerhoek, Gemeente and Khomasdal areas.
The focus will be placed on houses where people of significance resided, such as political, educational and social icons.
According to the August council minutes, the selected houses will eventually be nominated as national monuments and transformed to narrate the stories of social, political and educational icons from the 1960s.
The project aims to transform Katutura and Khomasdal into vibrant hubs, offering opportunities for employment creation and cultural experiences.
The council said historical houses would serve various purposes, including museums, cultural showcases, accommodation for visitors and restaurants serving local cuisine to boost tourism in these areas.
The initiative takes inspiration from other cities in southern Africa, like Johannesburg’s preservation of Nelson Mandela’s family house on 8115 Vilakazi Street, Orlando West in Soweto.
The houses in Windhoek will be evaluated based on specific criteria, involving various stakeholders, including the National Heritage Council and the National Museum.
To facilitate this project, a public notice will be placed to call for residents willing to exchange their houses for modern ones in other areas under an affordable housing construction project.
Only interested houseowners without current bonds attached to their houses will be considered.
Community members will have the opportunity to contribute artefacts of significance to the house storylines.
The city council will also consider diversity, because although the houses are similar, their stories are different.
Each house must be unique in terms of the history of the location.
Petrus Naanda (90), one of the first residents of Owambo location, welcomed the idea.
“It is a good idea because it will tell the stories of how we moved from the shanty Old Location to Katutura. Even when we were brought here, we used to share rooms with our children, because the houses were small. We also used outside toilets, which was not always ideal, especially for women to go out in the dark,” he said.
Katutura East constituency councillor Rodman Katjaimo, who also welcomed the idea, said one of the houses that should be considered is that of the late Clemens Kapuuo, who was the secretary and confidante of chief Hosea Kutako.
“He was a paramount chief of the Ovaherero people and also a freedom fighter who was killed at his home in Katutura. This initiative of turning houses into heritage sites will keep the story of the people of Katutura and the forerunners of the liberation struggle alive,” he said.
August Maletzky, who was born and raised in Khomasdal, said the idea is long overdue.
“It’s a way of preserving our culture and promoting the history of those who truly contributed and made great strides towards the educational liberation of the generations of 1950 and 1970,” he said.
For Maletzky, the house of the late Andreas and Richardine Kloppers, who were both teachers, should be considered for this initiative.