Usakos

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Usakos
Okanduu
City
Official seal of Usakos
Seal
Motto: Excelsior
Usakos is located in Namibia
Usakos
Usakos
Location in Namibia
Coordinates: 22°0′S 15°36′E / 22.000°S 15.600°E / -22.000; 15.600
Country  Namibia
Region Erongo Region
Constituency Karibib Constituency
Established 1900s
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 3,583
Time zone South African Standard Time (UTC+1)
Climate BWh
Purpurite, a very rare phosphate of manganese, from Sandamab pegmatite, Usakos, Namibia. Size: 5.4 x 4.6 x 1.9 cm.
Bush fire in Usakos, 2009

Usakos (Damara: grab the heel,[2] Otjiherero name: Okanduu[3]) is a town 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.[4]

Surrounded by mountains, Usakos is quite picturesque. Certain spots around the town show the longest uninterrupted horizon in the world.[2] It is the closest town to the Spitzkoppe, often referred to as the "Matterhorn of Namibia".[5]

History[edit]

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.[5]

Historic buildings and structures in Usakos are the Roman Catholic church (erected 1905), the now dilapidated railway station building, and the old hotel.[5]

Development and infrastructure[edit]

Usakos is riddled with poverty and alcohol abuse, the current unemployment rate is around 60%. Unlike other Namibian towns, it has not seen substantial development since independence in 1990.[6]

Usakos Railway Station connects the town to the Namibian railway network.

Politics[edit]

Usakos was downgraded from municipal to town status in 2010.[7] It is now governed by a town council that has seven seats.[8]

Local authority results, 2010[edit]

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%).[9]

Notable residents[edit]

Usakos is the hometown of the following prominent politicians:[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "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. 
  2. ^ a b Henckert, Wolfgang (17 September 2009). "Usakos". Henckert Tourist Centre. 
  3. ^ Menges, Werner (12 May 2005). "Windhoek?! Rather make that Otjomuise". The Namibian. 
  4. ^ "ELECTIONS 2010: Erongo regional profile". New Era. 16 November 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c 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. 
  6. ^ a b Ihuhua, Corry (12 September 2012). "Unemployment rips Usakos apart". Namibian Sun. 
  7. ^ Hartman, Adam (27 Aug 2010). "Town regrading a 'sad move'". The Namibian. 
  8. ^ "Know Your Local Authority". Election Watch (3). Institute for Public Policy Research. 2015. p. 4. 
  9. ^ Local Authority Election Results for Usakos

Coordinates: 22°00′S 15°36′E / 22.000°S 15.600°E / -22.000; 15.600