Bethanie (often in German: Bethanien, and in English: Bethany, previously Klipfontein, Khoekhoegowab: ǀUiǂgandes) is a village in southern Namibia, and is ranked as one of the oldest settlements in the country. It is situated on the road C14 between Goageb and Walvis Bay, 100 km west of Keetmanshoop.
The area around Bethanie originally belonged to the Red Nation. At the beginning of the 18th century the ǃAman (Bethanie Orlam) subtribe or the Orlam people obtained settlement rights and settled here. As missionaries started travelling north from the Cape Colony in the early 19th century, they established mission stations on their way. The London Missionary Society founded the town, but, because of a shortage of missionaries and presumably because of the cooperation between the London and Rhenish Missionary Society at the time, they instead sent a German.
Reverend Heinrich Schmelen arrived in 1814 as missionary of the Kaiǀkhauan (Khauas Nama) and their leader Amraal Lambert. The Schmelenhaus was built the same year, long considered the oldest structure in Namibia, and currently a National Monument and memorabilia museum. It was later discovered that the church and the pastor's house in Warmbad, both destroyed in 1811, were older than the Schmelenhaus, and that the fortification of ǁKhauxaǃnas predates all European constructions.
The original church was built in 1859, and also still stands today.
In 1883, Bethanie was the scene of the historical first recorded deed of sale at the house of Namaqua chief Josef Frederiks, when Heinrich Vogelsang purchased Angra Pequeña and some of the surrounding land on behalf of Adolf Lüderitz, the German representative at the time. The town of Lüderitz would later develop on this land.
Media and popular culture
A fictionalized version of Bethanie – named "Bethany" in English and depicted as a drought-plagued former mining town – is the primary setting for Richard Stanley's 1993 feature horror film, Dust Devil.
- Vedder 1997, p. 198.
- Dedering, Tilman (1997). Hate the old and follow the new: Khoekhoe and missionaries in early nineteenth-century Namibia 2 (Missionsgeschichtliches Archiv ed.). Franz Steiner Verlag. pp. 58–59. ISBN 978-3-515-06872-7. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
- Dierks, Klaus. "Biographies of Namibian Personalities, L". Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- Dierks, Klaus. "Warmbad becomes [sic] two hundred years". Retrieved 22 June 2010.
- Vogt, Andreas (2007). "Die ältesten Kirchen in Namibia (Teil 1)" [The oldest churches in Namibia, part 1]. Afrikanischer Heimatkalender 2007 (in German). Deutsche Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Namibia (DELK).
- "Bethanie, a village in Namibia". The cardbord box travel shop. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
- Local Authority results Electoral Commission of Namibia
- 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. ISBN 0-949995-33-9.