10,000 books for Scientific Society
The Namibia Scientific Society managed to raise N$2,5 million in a relatively short time to ensure that a priceless collection of Namibiana remains in Namibia. The owner of the collection approached the Scientific Society late last year, offering to sell the collection to a Namibian collector if the funds could be raised. Two other bidders were also interested in buying all the books.
The members of the Namibia Scientific Society, in blind faith, contractually bound themselves to acquire the collection. Once an agreement was reached, the society went on a frenetic fundraising campaign.
Last week that campaign came to a successful end when the precious books went on display as the property of the Namibia Scientific Society.
More than 70 individuals and companies supported the project. The biggest sponsor was the American Embassy, who donated more than N$780,000 followed by the FNB Foundation and B2Gold with N$500,000 each and the Pupkewitz Foundation and the Pupkewitz Descendants Trust with N$250,000 together. Swakopmunder Karnevals Verein donated N$11,111.11 to prove their commitment not only to run an annual cultural festival, but also to preserve the precious Namibian heritage. Other institutions, private donors and companies and members of the Namibia Scientific Society all contributed larger and smaller amounts, even meat, making up some 70 independent donors. Various corporate members sent generous financial contributions, while Namibia Breweries Ltd supported the ceremony with refreshments.
US Ambassador H.E. Thomas Daughton said that he has seen other countries sell their cultural and national heritage off and out of their countries resulting in tremendous loss and lack of a cultural identity.
Over 600 pieces of the collection are more than 100 years old. Titles are from all scopes, eras, cultures, in various languages covering diverse genres. The collection is almost complete in terms of monographs relating to early expeditions of the 19th century. A large numbers of diaries, biographies and memories relating to the two colonial wars are part of the collection. 150 titles relate to the freedom struggle and border war and the period before Independence. The collection includes official documentation of the German Imperial Government, the Colonial Administration in Berlin, the Colonial Office in London, The South African government, the administration of South West Africa and the United Nations.
More than 40% of the books are in English and more than 450 titles in Afrikaans. Together with the society’s data and stone tool collection, it now owns the largest collection of titles relating to Namibia’s history.