First World War in Swakopmund

The German Embassy and the Museums Association of Namibia this week announced that the mobile exhibition covering events during the First World War, this week opened its planned country-wide roaming with an exhibitions in Swakopmund.
Called “Changing History”, it deals with the influence of the First World War on Namibian history.
The tour of the exhibition is financed through the German Embassy. The roving exhibition started this week with a three-day decamp in Swakopmund on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Later in the week it was dismantled and taken to Gobabis where it will be open to learners for three days next week starting on Monday. The Gobabis venue is the local library.
Additional exhibition venues are planned for September in Ondangwa and Tsumeb.
The exhibition, funded by the British High Commission last year, was already on display in Khorab, Windhoek and Keetmanshoop in 2015. This week learners in Swakopmund had the opportunity to learn about the meaning of the First World War for Namibia. The Museums Association is supported by students from the UNAM History Society, who provide guided tours through the exhibition. In addition to this, the teachers accompanying the groups receive a teacher’s handbook funded by the German Embassy, to be used during history classes as part of the history curriculum.
The Museums Association stated, this is “a unique opportunity for Namibian students to learn outside the classroom”. In total, the German Embassy is providing N$37,600 to assist the association to take the exhibition to all the intended locations. It also pays for the teachers’ handbooks.
The exhibition describes the course of the First World War in Deutsch Suedwest Afrika and especially highlights the transition from German to South African rule through the surrender of the German troops near Khorab on 09 July 1915. The role of the local population is also highlighted.
The pieces of the exhibition have been gathered by Museums Association in cooperation with the UNAM History Society, the British High Commission and the Namibian National Archives.
In a statement released after the Swakopmund opening, the association said it is especially “excited, that the exhibition is travelling to Swakopmund as the coastal town is significant in its involvement in the war. It housed one of the military targets for the Union of South Africa troops, the wireless transmitters that could be used to communicate with the powerful German fleet of battleships in the South Atlantic Ocean”.

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