Okahandja Constituency: Steve Biko
Okahandja Constituency is one the seventh electoral constituency in the Otjozondjupa Region with a surface size of 5 903.2 km². The constituency borders the Omatako Constituency on the eastern, Khomas Region on the Southern and Erongo Region on the Western.
The constituency has a total population of 24,451 of which 12,352 are females and 12,099 are males (NSA 2012). The constituency has only one town, the Okahandja Municipality, no village council or settlement proclaimed.
Urban Areas and Settlements
Okahandja town is the constituency capital and has a total surface area of 164.2Km2 and situated on the Trans Kalahari Highway in the central part of Namibia, 70 Km north of north of Windhoek the capital city of Namibia.
Okahandja town was founded in the early 1800s’ by two tribes, Herero and Nama and the word Okahandja is derived from a Herero word meaning “a place where two rivers meet, Okakango and Okamita flow into each other to form one big one. The word Okahandja is derived from a
Herero word meaning a place where two rivers, Okakango and Okamita flow into each other to form one wide one.
The town is known as the “Garden Town of Namibia” (fig xx). The town is known for its historical background when the Herero and Nama people were fighting Germans for liberation of Namibia. The Herero and Nama chiefs are buried in Okahandja. On the 23rd August 1850, the “Bloodbath of Okahandja” took place between Nama and Herero speaking people. The historical battle ground is known as the “Moordkoppie”. It is situated next to Okahandja State Hospital in town.
The annual celebration of the “Red Flag Day or Otjiserandu is commemorated in Okahandja during the weekend nearest to the 23rd August since 1923 when they buried Chief Samuel Maharero at the town. The event attracts a lot of local and international tourists.
Infrastructure and Facilities
Okahandja has major infrastructure such as roads, railway line and an airport that still needs to be renovated to regional standards while in terms of the telecommunication facilities and infrastructure such as Nampost, radio and tv coverage, mobile networks are good especially in the town and nearby places.
Sanitation network is only provided in the formalized neighbourhoods of the town and not in rural areas which are mainly the Rudenau and commercial farms. Cenored has provided electricity infrastructure in both urban area, private farms and some tourism related facilities and in some part of communal areas in collaboration with the Rural Electrification.
While portable water is being supplied by Namwater through pipeline to the town and nearby area while in some part of the rural areas such as Rudenau and those that are on the outskirt of Okahandja town depends mainly on borehole infrastructure. Due to high concentration of people in Okahandja town within the constituency, most of institutions are found in the town.
Among many other instructions are four primary schools, two secondary school with one hostel for both girls and boys, two private schools, one police station, one hospital and one clinic and many of the government ministries, one private clinic, magistrate court, financial institutions, ministry of gender, military school, parastatals, churches, Namweter training institution, National Institute for Educational Development (NIED), Military Museum, library and many private institutions, factories and industries, and Meatco abattoir.
Tourism and Places of Interests
Tourism is important for the town of Okahandja as it plays an important role in economic
development and growth. The constituency is a home to different tourism related places such as Von Bach Dam, Gross barman, guesthouse and lodges, and Red Flag Day or Otjiserandu is commemorated just to mention a few. Von Bach Dam is a recreational area with bungalows and wildlife (fig xx).
Figure 3: Van Back dam
Gross barman is outside Okahandja 25km is a major draw for its Chalet accommodation, conferencing, health wellness and retail outlet (fig xx).
Figure 4: Gross barman
While the annual celebration of the “Red Flag Day or Otjiserandu is commemorated in Okahandja during the weekend nearest to the 23rd August since 1923 when they buried Chief Samuel Maharero at the town. The event attracts a lot of local and international tourists. The town is known for its historical background when Herero and Nama people were fighting Germans for liberation of Namibia. The Herero and Nama Chiefs are buried in Okahandja and some German colonizers (fix xx).
Figure 5: Historical grave sites of Herero and Nama Chiefs and the German colonizers.
On 23rd August 1850, “the bloodbath of Okahandja” took place between Nama and Herero speaking people. The historical battle ground is known as the “Moordkoppie” it is situated next to Okahandja State Hospital in town. 4.7.5.
The constituency has a strong economic base industry mainly in the constituency’s capital, Okahandja town, where all industries, factories and other related activities are. There are businesses such as plastic manufacturers of water pipes, water tanks; Okahandja Shopping mall and wood carvers market (fig xx), diamond polishing company, wooden windows and door frames Prestige, Meatco abattoir for slaughtering cattle for local and international markets, industrial park, poultry farms, agricultural plots that produce vegetable for locals and Namibia at large, Namibian finest biltong is manufacturers are based in Okahandja. Okahandja town is also home to several vegetable and flower farms that surrounds the towns. This produce is consumed locally and nationally and the rest are exported to South Africa and Europe. The newest edition to the industrial sector is Castle Brewing Namibia producing Castle Lager beer.
Figure 2: Okahandja Shopping Mall and wood carvers market
The town use to host its Annual Tourism & Trade Expo during May each year. The exhibition is good for marketing the tow as tourism and business trade hub. The exposition also provides networking opportunity for local, national and regional to visit and trade in Okahandja. It is also used as a tool to attract much needed investment to the town. On the other hand, the manganese mine is providing much needed employment to the highly unemployed population of Okahandja. In addition there are various small mining activities around the town that are also contributing economically to the town and constituency.
Okahandja Constituency Office, 174, West street
Private Bag 1259, Okahandja