Namibian Locations

Namibian Locations

‘Location’ is the word used to describe the neighborhoods where black people were confined to during Apartheid.  The locations are separated from the center of town, and, in the case of Outjo’s locations, take about an hour to walk to.  Most of my work is in the location so I give you pictures of my daily life in typical Namibian locations…

Fetching Water

If you live in Namibian locations sanctioned by the local Municipality, you are probably lucky enough to have access to water and electricity.  The box below dispenses water, but it’s BYOH (bring your own hose).  It turns on when you slip a magnetic key card into a slot, and the box reads how much money you loaded on the card.

Namibian Locations
Water Box

Drinking Tombo

‘Shebeens’ are the informal bars in Namibian locations that sell a locally made grain alcohol called ‘tombo’.  Most of the time they don’t abide by liquor laws, don’t have licenses, and will serve any man, woman, or child with money.  The hilarious names give a silver lining.

Namibian Locations
Name of a Shebeen

This is the emptiest I’ve ever seen this shebeen.

Namibian Locations
Shebeen waiting for its people to come back.

Apartheid Legacy

Namibian locations closest to town are the nicest, often with running water inside the houses.  During Apartheid people were separated by tribe into different neighborhoods.  Because of that, this neighborhood is still called Damara Location.

Namibian Locations
House in Damara Location

Food Industry Advertising

Classic advertising in Namibia, punny, but doesn’t really make sense.  Is it magical sugar that replenishes itself?

Namibian Locations
Ad for Marathon Sugar

Coke is advertised in Namibian locations ad nauseam.  It’s basically part of a successful Namibian business model to have coke ads.

Namibian Locations
Coca Cola business model
Namibian Locations
Coca Cola Everything

This is an abandoned building…. Pepsi ads are part of a failing business model.

Namibian locations
Abandoned shebeen

Home Security Systems

The sign says ‘Beware of the dog’ in Afrikaans.  The dogs here are abused and scary, and they will bite you.  I carry big stones around as protection because that’s what they’re owners throw at them to make them go away.

Namibian Locations
Beware of the Dog

Namibian Architecture

Adversity breeds innovation, and in Namibian locations this means creative housing structures.  This one is particularly beautiful.

Namibian Locations
Fancy stonework

I love lamp.  They love house.

Namibian Locations
I Love House

One of the hospital drivers calls himself Mr. Lion, and he has a great mural at his house to remind you of this.

Namibian Locaitons
Mr. Lion’s House


This advertisement is Hage Geingob (the president of Namibia) shaming you with his face into voting local representatives from his party into office.  SWAPO holds the majority of the offices, winning more local elections in 2015 than ever before.

Namibian Locations
Hage’s Face

Viva la Revolución

Namibia loves them some communism.  Namibia has close ties to China and North Korea because the two countries helped Namibia with money and weapons during independence.

Namibian Locations
The communist shebeen

Informal Economy

There is a 33% unemployment rate in Outjo, so a lot of people set up informal ‘cuca’ shops in their house to make some extra money.

Namibian Locations
‘ys’ is their way of spelling ice… I think

God Will Provide

97% of Namibia is Christian, everybody loves Jesus and wants him to come back.

Namibian Locations
Come Jesus Jesus


Meet the author / Weens


  • Barbara Damon

    When exactly did apartheid end? How is the local political situation set up. Is there a “head” person, like a mayor or burgermeister?

  • weens

    It ended with independence in 1990, but it was so institutionalized it left a lot of racist structural legacies. The political situation is a mixture of elected officials and traditional authorities. In the more rural areas where the police never go, the traditional authority has the power.

  • Barbara Damon

    Also wondering about the water situation…..I assume Outjo is semi-arid which accounts for the sparse trees. They must have very deep roots. Are there many wells? When you had the gardening seminar, did they discuss holding the nutrients in the sandy soil? Like the rest of the world, how is global warming affecting the water table? I know, a lot of questions, but I’m very curious and I’m very impressed over your thoughtful answers.

    • weens

      No worries I love questions 🙂 You’re right about the climate, it’s semi-arid. No wells though, the municipality has pipes running through town and the locations that pull from the water table. Global warming has given Namibia severe drought for the past five years, and Windhoek is projected to run out of water in the next five years. They’re considering either redirecting water from a river that runs along the Namibian-Angolan border, or desalinating the water from the ocean. The former would be devastating for neighboring countries that rely on that water supply, while the latter is ridiculously expensive.

      • Barbara Damon

        Water is going to cause many future political conflicts, but we cannot live without it. Desalination, although expensive, is really the only long term solution. The western United States is facing a similar problem, but many have their heads in the sand — literally. Politically it is easier to ignore the problem as nobody wants to pay for a long term solution. It leads one to wonder why there isn’t more discussion about population control. Consider how much water we waste in the U.S. just watering our lawns. In my grandmother’s time there was more respect for conserving water. She had a rain barrel and this soft water was used for washing.

        • weens

          I just watched a really interesting documentary called Cowspiracy, that points out the majority of the water humans use is in agriculture and raising livestock. Cows in particular, because beef, milk, and cheese are so popular, take up a ton of water because of the water needed to grow their feed and then to keep them hydrated throughout their life. 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef. When you add this to the fact that happy cows come from California, it’s no wonder they’re entering a severe drought. http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/

    • weens

      In the gardening workshop they taught us to make compost, and to bury wood under the soil to hold the moisture and slowly decompose, leaking nutrients into the soil. It’s called Hugel Kultur, was it popular in Vermont?

      • Barbara Damon

        Hugel Kultur sounds fascinating. Sustainability was the magic word for agriculture in Vermont. The biggest threat to farming is Monsanto that promotes GMOs and Round-Up. Maintaining a healthy tilth and loam is essential to retain water. Diversification is also important. Vermont has many micro climates within its borders. Stancliff Road had different soil in different parts of my property. As most of it was on a sand dune, I was still working on creating a nice loam that would hold nutrients and water when I left. Trying to figure out how to work WITH Nature is the key and easier said than done.

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