Established in 1966 by the South African colonial administration as the capital of the newly designated Owamboland, OSHAKATI means “the place where people meet” or “that which is between” in Oshiwambo – perhaps a reference to its deliberately central location, chosen so that the authorities could further their political and commercial interests. Today, with a population of just under 40,000, Oshakati is Namibia’s fourth-largest town; it’s the capital of the north and a major commercial centre and transport hub. Along the main dual carriageway, punctuated by traffic lights, and lined with the occasional pavement, new supermarkets, warehouses and shopping malls gleam in the sunlight; at the same time, rusted old cars still decorate the waste-ground and the odd herd of goats will slow down the traffic, while battered combis slither on and off the road at will, to pick up or drop off passengers.

Just south of Oshakati, but soon to be sucked into the conurbation, lies the quiet, mainly residential town of ONGWEDIWA; established initially to house workers in Oshakati and Ondangwa, the place hosts a faculty of the University of Namibia plus a teachers’ education college; more pertinently, it also offers a couple of pleasant places to stay.

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