Aerial view in 2005
|Motto: Ex Oriente Lux|
|• Mayor||Sila Bezuidenhoudt|
|Elevation||4,720 ft (1,440 m)|
|Time zone||West Africa Time (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||West Africa Summer Time (UTC+2)|
Gobabis is a city in eastern Namibia. It is the regional capital of the Omaheke Region, and the district capital of the Gobabis electoral constituency. Gobabis is situated 200 km (120 mi) down the B6 motorway from Windhoek to Botswana. The town is 113 km (70 mi) from the Buitepos border post with Botswana, and serves as an important link to South Africa on the tarred Trans-Kalahari Highway. Gobabis is in the heart of the cattle farming area. In fact Gobabis is so proud of its cattle farming that a statue of a large Brahman bull with the inscription "Cattle Country" greets visitors to the town. Gobabis borders the Kalahari Desert, and is traditionally in the land of the Herero people.
Etymology and pre-colonial history
In 1856 a mission station was established by one Friederich Eggert of the Rhenish Missionary Society. In the latter half of the 19th century and the early 20th century several conflicts flared up between the Ovambanderu and the Khauas Khoikhoi, as well as between the settlers and the indigenous people. Gobabis is in an area where the Herero and the Nama people fought wars against one another, as well as with settlers from the Cape colony that occupied the land.
According to oral tradition, the earliest name for the settlement in this area was the Khoekhoegowab word ǂkhoandabes, the place where the elephant came to lick. This reason for this name is speculated to be that elephant tusks that would crack in the dry and hot climate of the Omaheke were at times stored right in the settlement's well. The Herero called the place Epako.
Later the settlement was referred to as "Gobabis" by the Whites, this expression was likely derived from goba (argue, quarrel) and bis (place): The place where people quarreled. A common earlier interpretation of the name, ǂkhoa (Elephant) -bes (place), Elephant fountain, was introduced by Heinrich Vedder and gained wide acceptance. Vedder also opined that it was Amraal Lambert, Captain of the Kaiǀkhauan (Khauas Nama) who called the place Gobabis because he could not pronounce ǂKoabes. Apart from linguistic problems, this interpretation was contradicted by an 1845 letter by Reverend Joseph Tindall, a Wesleyan missionary, which states: "Reached Gobabis which I named 'Elephant's fountain'" - a place name like "Place of Altercation" would not bode too well for the missionary station he intended to establish.
The Gobabis district was proclaimed by the German authorities in February 1894 and in June the following year Gobabis was occupied by a German garrison. While the military fort, built in 1896-7, has long since disappeared, one of the few buildings dating back to that era is the field hospital, or Lazarett, which has been declared a national monument.
Gobabis has a semi-arid climate (BSh, according to the Köppen climate classification), with hot summers and cool winters (with mild days and chilly nights). The average annual precipitation is 370 mm (15 in).
|Climate data for Gobabis, Namibia|
|Average high °C (°F)||31.4
|Average low °C (°F)||18.5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||80.7
|Average relative humidity (%)||45||51||54||53||45||44||40||31||27||29||34||37||40.8|
|Source: Ministry of Works and Transport (Meteorological Service Division)
[1.pdf "Ministry of Works & Transport: Tabulation of Climate Statistics for Selected Stations in Namibia"] (PDF). 2012.
Gobabis continues to grow as a town due to goods being transported from the mines of landlocked Botswana to the Namibian port of Walvis Bay, and furthermore from consumer goods being imported into Namibia from Gauteng in South Africa. The transport route is known as the Trans-Kalahari Corridor. Gobabis is connected to the Namibian railway system. The passenger train that used to run to the capital Windhoek four times a week no longer takes passengers. The town hosts two hospitals, a clinic, banking and shopping facilities. Legare Stadium is located in the town.
The most notable landmark upon entering Gobabis from Windhoek is the Cattle Country Statue.
- Hon. Mrs Laura McLeod-Katjirua, former Omaheke Regional Governor and SWAPO Deputy Secretary-General
- Her Worship Mrs Sila Bezuidenhoudt, Gobabis Mayor
- Mrs E. Amutenya, Gobabis Deputy Mayor
- Mr. E. Dawids, Gobabis CEO
- Shafimana Ueitele, Lawyer
- Keharanjo Nguvauva, Paramount Chief of the Ovambanderu
- "Four towns re-elect mayors". The Namibian (NAMPA). 9 December 2013.
- "Table 4.2.2 Urban population by Census years (2001 and 2011)" (PDF). Namibia 2011 - Population and Housing Census Main Report. Namibia Statistics Agency. p. 39. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- "Local Authorities". Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN). Retrieved 1 October 2012.
- Rosslyn Tatarik, "Welcome to the Cattle Country". The @vertiser (supplement to New Era on 1 March 2010)
- Menges, Werner (12 May 2005). "Windhoek?! Rather make that Otjomuise". The Namibian.
- Vedder, Heinrich (1997). Das alte Südwestafrika. Südwestafrikas Geschichte bis zum Tode Mahareros 1890 [The old South-West Africa. South-West Africa's history until Maharero's death 1890] (in German) (7th ed.). Windhoek: Namibia Scientific Society. pp. 325–326. ISBN 0-949995-33-9.
- Immanuel, Shinovene; Shipanga, Selma (3 December 2012). "Moderates prevail". The Namibian.