Omaheke Region

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Omaheke Region
Region
Location of the Omaheke Region in Namibia
Location of the Omaheke Region in Namibia
Country Namibia
Capital Gobabis
Government
 • Governor Festus Ueitele
Area[1]
 • Total 84,981 km2 (32,811 sq mi)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 70,800
 • Density 0.83/km2 (2.2/sq mi)
Time zone South African Standard Time: UTC+1

Omaheke is one of the fourteen regions of Namibia, its capital is Gobabis. It lies on the eastern border of Namibia and is the Western extension of the Kalahari desert. The name Omaheke is the Herero word for Sandveld.

Characteristics[edit]

A large part of this region is known as the Sandveld. The northeastern part of the region is still very much a wilderness and beautiful wild Kalahari scenes can be seen by people willing to travel tedious roads and spend nights in the open.

Anthropologically, almost the entire Ovambanderu and Gobabis-Ju/wa ethnic groups are residing in the region. Furthermore, it is a rich cultural area for Herero, Damara-Nama, Tswana, Afrikaner and German, with a sprinkling of northerners.

A notable event is the annual Meat Festival, which draws visitors from all over.

History[edit]

On the 11th of August 1904 a German armed force with artillery and machine guns which had encircled the Herero who had fled to the Waterberg in Namibia attacked and forced the survivors to flee to the Omaheke desert, where large numbers died. Those who tried to emerge from the desert were killed by German patrols along the perimeter of the Omaheke.[3] This was the turning point in the Herero and Namaqua Genocide.

Politics[edit]

Laura McLeod-Katjirua of SWAPO has been the governor of Omaheke Region between 2001 [4][5] and 2012, when she was transferred to the same position at Khomas Region. Festus Ueitele was appointed as her successor in April 2013.[6] The region comprises seven constituencies: Aminuis, Epukiro, Kalahari, Gobabis, Otjinene, Otjombinde and Steinhausen.[7] Upon independence of Namibia, Hereroland East was absorbed into the region.[8]

2004[edit]

In the 2004 presidential election, the Omaheke Region supported SWAPO's Hifikepunye Pohamba with 13,005 votes (46%) but the Ohangwena Region native did not win a majority of the votes in the region. NUDO's Kuaima Riruako, chief of the Herero people, received over 7,000 votes (25%), and the DTA's Katuutire Kaura received over 3,700 votes (13%). Only in the much more populated Khomas Region and neighboring Otjozondjupa Region did Riruako gain more votes and in no other region did NUDO's candidate gain a higher percentage of the votes.[9]

Economy and infrastructure[edit]

Gobabis is the main centre of this area and also its main business area, as it is linked with the capital of Namibia, Windhoek, by rail and the tarred B6 national road. This infrastructure serves as the main supply line for the region.

All the other population centres in the region are linked with Gobabis by road. Many other services are rendered from Gobabis to the region, such as the Police Divisional Headquarters, which is situated in Gobabis. Clinics in the region are served by medical practitioners based in Gobabis, and there are two hospitals and a clinic serving the region.

The agricultural patterns of this region is to a large extent homogenous. Most of the 900 commercial and 3,500 communal farmers in this area are cattle breeders. A regional office of the Ministry of Agriculture, serving the whole region, is based in Gobabis.

Hunting, including trophy hunting, is one of the major sources of income for the region. This takes place mainly in the winter months, from June to August. During these months, tourists from the northern hemisphere can be seen in the area, enjoying the mild and dry winter climate and collecting trophies.

Omaheke has 42 schools with a total of 18,365 pupils.[10]

Demographics[edit]

According to the 2012 Namibia Labour Force Survey, unemployment in the Omaheke Region is 34.1%.[11]

Language[edit]

According to the 2001 census, 39% of the population speak Otjiherero languages, 27% speak Nama/Damara and 12% speak Afrikaans at home.

Borders[edit]

In the east, Omaheke borders three districts of Botswana:

Domestically, it borders the following regions:

Omaheke is traversed by the northwesterly line of equal latitude and longitude.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Namibia's Population by Region". Election Watch (Institute for Public Policy Research) (1): 3. 2013. 
  2. ^ Smit, Nico (12 April 2012). "Namibia’s population hits 2,1 million". The Namibian. 
  3. ^ Olusoga, David and Erichsen, Casper W (2010). The Kaiser's Holocaust. Germany's Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism. Faber and Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-23141-6
  4. ^ Laura McLeod Namibia Institute for Democracy
  5. ^ Maletsky, Christof (20 February 2006). "Swapo members ordered to toe line - or face the music". http://www.namibian.com.na (Windhoek: The Namibian). Retrieved 2010-09-12. "He [Festus Ueitele] was supported by Omaheke Governor Laura McLeod. "You must comply"." 
  6. ^ Immanuel, Shinovene (22 April 2013). "Pohamba continues to pave way for Geingob". The Namibian. 
  7. ^ Omaheke Region Constituencies Electoral Commission of Namibia
  8. ^ Region of Namibia Namib Web
  9. ^ Election Results: Omaheke Region Election Watch Namibia
  10. ^ Miyanicwe, Clemans; Kahiurika, Ndanki (27 November 2013). "School counsellors overstretched". The Namibian. p. 1. 
  11. ^ Duddy, Jo Maré (11 April 2013). "Unemployment rate still alarmingly high". The Namibian. 

Coordinates: 22°00′S 19°30′E / 22.000°S 19.500°E / -22.000; 19.500