Compiled Sanet van Zijl
The small village of Gibeon in the South of Namibia is undergoing major changes. A N$25 million tourism centre is currently under construction. The hope with building this centre is to attract both local and foreign visitors to the village.
Gibeon is situated 60km south of Mariental and has a minute population of only 3500 people. Gibeon received its name from Kido Witbooi, the first Kaptein of the IKhowesin, a sub-tribe of the Orlam. He arrived with his followers in about 1850, shortly after a Rhenish mission station was established here. Gibeon has been the hometown of this group, subsequently known as the Witbooi Nama, ever since.
Gibeon is known for the Gibeon meteorite that crashed over a 275 km long and 100 km wide area in prehistoric times. The meteorite was discovered by the Nama people and used by them to make tools and weapons.
The centre is being built by the Ministry of Trade and Industry with assistance from the Namibian Development Corporation (NDC). The NDC promotes, develops and supports all sectors of the Namibian economy for sustained economic growth and the economic empowerment of its people, in conformity with the development strategies and policies of the Government of Namibia.
Construction of the centre started last year and is estimated to be complete in October of this year. The centre will contain overnight facilities, a laundry and a kiosk.
Residents of the village are excited for the new development and they hope that this centre will lead to other project developments in their area. The centre is expected to create temporary and permanent jobs for the local people. Many of the locals are already working on the construction of the building. The centre will also provide skills and training to rural people in order to help them improve their living standards.
The government has budgeted between N$60- and N$80 million for development projects at the village. These projects are however still under discussion by village council management.