Back in Windhoek, I met up with Baldwin again the next day and asked him to show me something than I had not already seen, so he took me to the Katutura township in the outskirts of the city.
Katutura, “The place where we don’t want to live” was created in the late 1950’s following the forced removal of all black people from Windhoek city centre. Today, Katutura houses more than 2/3 of Windhoeks total population and the people live in metal sheds that they sometimes use as shops, bars and hair salons during the day. But despite suffering from overpopulation, obvious sanitation issues and difficult access to clean water and electricity, the very poor township felt like a safe and extremely friendly place.
I spent some time in the Havana district where I met 17 year old Rejoice with the amazing smile, who had just painted her face red. Painting the face is a Himba tradition to protect it from the sun and give it a beautiful red nuance. Rejoice was shy, but her mother an I laughed it off. Oh, and the little boy on her back was not her son, it was her little brother.
We drove around the township and met a big group of playing kids. Later, I spent some time in a hair salon where Cornelia was getting her hair braided while her little girl Respect was running around. She wasn’t sure about the age of her child, but said she thinks she’s around 2 years old.
The people I met in Katutura were a little shy, but very keen to talk and interact, and really friendly. The obvious contrast to the sparkling city centre of Windhoek made a big impression on me. One needs to go a bit outside in order to understand what Namibia is all about.