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Okahandja is a city of 24,100 inhabitants in Otjozondjupa Region, central Namibia, and the district capital of the Okahandja electoral constituency. It is known as the Garden Town of Namibia. It is located 70 km north of Windhoek on the B1 road. It was founded around 1800, by two local groups, the Herero and the Nama.
A German pastor, Heinrich Schmelen, became the first European to visit the town in 1827. In 1844, two missionaries were permanently assigned to the town, Heinrich Kleinschmidt and Hugo Hahn. A church dates from this period. A military post was established at the initiative of Theodor Leutwein in 1894, and it is this date that is officially recognized as the town's founding.
Von Bach Dam is situated outside of Okahandja. It provides the majority of Windhoek's water. An open-air curio market attracts tourists, and the town serves as the administrative centre for the Herero people.
Okahandja Railway Station, situated on the Windhoek—Swakopmund line, was built in 1902 during Imperial Germany's colonial rule of German South West Africa. Today it belongs to the Trans-Namib railway network.
In the 1870s Rhenish missionaries established the first school. The Augustineum School was reopened at Okahandja on 9 November 1905; it was later moved to Windhoek. Today[update] Okahandja has six primary schools and two high schools. Namwater Vocational, situated outside the main town, is the only institute of higher education in Okahandja.
The National Institute for Educational Development (NIED) is today situated in Okahandja. NIED was created after independence as the institute from where a new national system of education was created, replacing the previous racist system of apartheid.
Previously the German school Regierungsschule Okahandja was in the city.
Okahandja is governed by a municipal council that has seven seats.
In the 2010 local authority election in Okahandja, SWAPO won with approximately 62% of the vote. Of the five other parties seeking votes in the election, Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) received approximately 13% of the vote, followed by the United Democratic Front (UDF, 8%), the United People's Movement (UPM, 7%), National Unity Democratic Organization (NUDO, 6%) and Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA, 2%). The 2015 local authority election was again won by SWAPO which gained five seats and 2,572 votes. One seat each went to the DTA and the UDF with 236 and 213 votes, respectively.
In the 1970s, Okahandja Soccer Club had a competitive football team that won several competitions.
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