|Time zone||UTC+2 (SAST)|
Grootfontein (English: Large Spring after the nearby hot springs) is a city of 23,793 inhabitants in the Otjozondjupa Region of central Namibia. It is one of the three towns in the Otavi Triangle, situated on the B8 national road that leads from Otavi to the Caprivi Strip. Grootfontein receives an annual average rainfall of 557 millimetres (21.9 in), although in the 2010/2011 rainy season 956 millimetres (37.6 in) were measured.
The place was known to the Herero under the name Otjivanda. In 1885, 40 Boer families from the north-west of South Africa settled at Grootfontein. Part of the Dorsland trekkers, they were heading towards Angola. When that territory fell under Portuguese control, they turned back and established the Republic of Upingtonia at Grootfontein. Abandoned by 1887, it became the headquarters of the South West Africa Company in 1893.
Like all the towns in the Otavi Triangle, Grootfontein is very green in summer but drier in winter. In spring, jacaranda and flamboyant trees bloom in profusion. The town has an old German Schutztruppe fortress from the year 1896, which today houses a museum that expounds on the local history. The economic mainspring of the area were for many decades the Berg Aukas and Abenab mines to the north east of the town. These produced zinc and vanadium but have since closed. This is dolomite country and the carbonate deposits in the upper parts of the mine have yielded interesting fossils of simian or pongoid creatures that lived millions of years before modern humans evolved.
Twenty four kilometres west of Grootfontein lies the huge Hoba meteorite. At over 60 tons, it is the largest known meteorite on Earth, as well as being the largest naturally occurring mass of iron known to exist on the planet's surface.
Economy and infrastructure
Grootfontein is a railhead on TransNamib, the national railway and transport system. The next station to the west is Otavi. Grootfontein is also home of Namibia's main military base which housed several units of the now departed South African Defence Force. It has an airfield that can handle large transport carriers such as the Hercules C130, as well as commercial passenger aircraft.
The town has four supermarket chains (Spar, WB, Pick n Pay and Ok Foods), and a newly developed mall. Grootfontein is home to Namibia Property Group, a developer of low and middle income housing across the country. NPG is developing Omulunga Extension 5, and has plans to continue growing Grootfontein's inner township.
|Climate data for Grootfontein, Namibia|
|Average high °C (°F)||30.9
|Average low °C (°F)||18.5
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||141.7
|Average relative humidity (%)||58||66||66||70||51||48||43||34||28||33||42||46||49|
|Source: Ministry of Works and Transport (Meteorological Service Division)|
Grootfontein is governed by a municipal council that has seven seats.
The 2015 local authority election was won by Namibia's ruling SWAPO party which gained five seats and 2,019 votes. One seat each went to the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA, 546 votes) and to the All People's Party (APP, 154 votes).
There is another Grootfontein in Hardap province.
Previously the German school Regierungsschule Grootfontein was in the town. In 1965 it had 4 teachers and 117 learners and was supported by German government.
Notable people from Grootfontein
- Behati Prinsloo – model, best known for working with Victoria's Secret
- Leon Jooste – SWAPO politician and businessman
- Hage Geingob – The President of the Republic of Namibia
- Lydia Katjita – SWAPO politician and member of the Pan-African Parliament
- Hannes Smith – journalist
- Inge Zaamwani – businesswoman
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Grootfontein.|
- "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 24 August 2016.
- "Local Authorities". Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN). Retrieved 1 October 2012.
- Menges, Werner (26 May 2011). "Rainy season was one for the record books". The Namibian. Archived from the original on 15 December 2011.
- Menges, Werner (12 May 2005). "Windhoek?! Rather make that Otjomuise". The Namibian.
- Peltola, Matti (1958). Sata vuotta suomalaista lähetystyötä 1859–1959. II: Suomen Lähetysseuran Afrikan työn historia [‘One Hundred Years of Finnish Missionary Work 1859–1959. II: The History of FMS’s Missionary Work in Africa’]. Helsinki: The Finnish Missionary Society. p. 217.
- "Onÿarata @ Grootfontein Show centenary while The Wire storm the coastal towns". New Era. 23 September 2011. Archived from the original on 21 February 2013.
- "Farmer dies at Show". The Namibian. 29 September 2004.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-27. Retrieved 2016-03-20.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Know Your Local Authority". Election Watch (3). Institute for Public Policy Research. 2015. p. 4.
- "Local elections results". Electoral Commission of Namibia. 28 November 2015. p. 6. Archived from the original on 10 December 2015.
- Maps, Weather, and Airports for Grootfontein, Namibia
- "Deutscher Bundestag 4. Wahlperiode Drucksache IV/3672" (Archive). Bundestag (West Germany). 23 June 1965. Retrieved on 12 March 2016. p. 31.
- Matali, John Travolter (24 January 2014). "Another school defies ministry". New Era.
- "Grootfontein learner allegedly dies after punch to the head". Nampa. 5 April 2014.
- Leon Jooste Archived 2011-06-11 at the Wayback Machine Namibia Institute for Democracy