By Marita van Rooyen
Israelis do it, Germans do it, Austrians do it, the French do it, and even the Polish do it too!
What is this, you ask? Well, these countries love exploring culture, the Baster culture to be more precise! And why wouldn’t they, it is a very unique and extremely interesting one at it, dating back to 1868!
At the Rehoboth Info Office you’ll be greeted by the friendly and eager to share tourist admin officer, Julia McNab. This lady loves to tell tales of her people’s history, the story of Sam Khubis and its relevance to annual celebrations. She also shares info on what’s up in the community, of which popular events include drag racing and the annual Miss Rehoboth beauty pageant.
Then there are a number of sites in and around the town that’s worth a visit, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church (which, being the oldest in town, is according to Julia the most popular stop for tourists); “Kaptein se Boom”, where the first official Baster meeting was held; the “Skudkraal”, a work in progress; War Monument and German soldiers’ graves; Ida Heidmann’s grave, who was a noteworthy missionary who worked amongst these people; the Rehoboth Museum and Café; the library, which was also the former house of Captain Cornelius van Wyk; the Rehoboth School of Arts; Acacia Forest; Hotsprings; and Bahnhof Station.
Living in Rehoboth, the Baster community consists of approximately 55 000 people. Their home language is Afrikaans, and their way of life is similar to that of their Afrikaner forebears. While they are traditionally stock and crop farmers, today many of them are involved in other economic sectors, especially the building trade. A large number of Rehoboth Basters commute to Windhoek on a daily or weekly basis. In the sphere of culture and religion they maintain a western way of life.
The Rehoboth Info Office is situated adjacent to the Town Hall and is open weekly from 08:00 to 17:00 and from 08:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays. Call Julia for more info: 062 525785.