|Time zone||South African Standard Time (UTC+1)|
Usakos (Damara: grab the heel, Otjiherero name: Okanduu) is a city on the banks of river Khan, 140 kilometres north-east of Swakopmund in the Erongo Region of Namibia. It is located on the B2 (Trans-Kalahari Highway), the main road between the Walvis Bay and Johannesburg. The town has 3,000 inhabitants and owns 58 square kilometres (22 sq mi) of land. Usakos is scheduled to be downgraded to "town" status before November 2010.
Surrounded by mountains, Usakos is quite picturesque. Certain spots around the town show the longest uninterrupted horizon in the world. It is the closest town to the Spitzkoppe, often referred to as the "Matterhorn of Namibia".
The settlement was founded in the early 1900s as a workshop and watering station for locomotives. Herero chief Samuel Maharero sold the land to Europeans who resold it in 1903 to the Otavi Minen- und Eisenbahngesellschaft (Otavi Mining and Railway Company) (OMEG) which operated an industrial railway line from Swakopmund to Tsumeb. OMEG established a railway station and a repair shop which was used until the 1960s. When mining operations slowed down, Usakos' importance faded quickly. Today it is just a drive-through from the Namibian inland to the coast.
Historic buildings and structures in Usakos are the Roman Catholic church (erected 1905), the now dilapidated railway station building, and the old hotel.
Development and infrastructure
Usakos is riddled with poverty and alcohol abuse, the current[update] unemployment rate is around 60%. Unlike other Namibian towns, it has not seen substantial development since independence in 1990.
In the 2010 local authority election, a total of 1,029 votes were cast in the city. SWAPO won with approximately 47% of the vote. Of the three other parties seeking votes in the election, UDF received approximately 31% of the vote, followed by RDP (17%) and COD (4%).
Usakos is the hometown of the following prominent politicians:
- Michael Goreseb, member of the National Assembly of Namibia
- Theo-Ben Gurirab Speaker of the National Assembly
- Tsudao Gurirab, Member of Parliament from 1999 to 2009
- Alpheus !Naruseb, Minister of Land and Resettlement
- "Table 4.2.2 Urban population by Census years (2001 and 2011)". Namibia 2011 - Population and Housing Census Main Report. Namibia Statistics Agency. p. 39. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- Henckert, Wolfgang (17 September 2009). "Usakos". Henckert Tourist Centre.
- Menges, Werner (12 May 2005). "Windhoek?! Rather make that Otjomuise". The Namibian.
- Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders on HIV/AIDS in Africa
- "ELECTIONS 2010: Erongo regional profile". New Era. 16 November 2010.
- Hartman, Adam (27 Aug 2010). "Town regrading a ‘sad move’". The Namibian.
- von Schmettau, Konny (28 February 2013). "Usakos-Kurze Blüte, schneller Fall" [Usakos-Short Rise, Fast Fall]. Allgemeine Zeitung (in German) (Tourismus Namibia monthly supplement). p. 9.
- Ihuhua, Corry (12 September 2012). "Unemployment rips Usakos apart". Namibian Sun.
- Local Authority Election Results for Usakos