The People of Swartbooisdrift

Most of the people of the geographical area make a living out of live stock and small community farming. The population numbers are never constant as most of the people move around based on grazing needs for their cattle and goats. The Himba’s are actually close relatives of the Herero people that during various cultural wars with their neighbors in the territory, left the western parts of Namibia and settled in the far north of Namibia. In a region which today we know as Koakoland. The wealth of cattle and the role of cattle in the community plays an extremely important role in the culture of the Himba families and the status of the family and kraal.

The Kunene River provides the main stream of life for these people in the Koakoland region. Swartbooisdrift has great importance in the history of Namibia. It is at this location that the famous dorsland trekkers crossed the river with their ox wagons into Angola. Today some of the graves on the hill behind the Horeb property are evidence of the difficult times these early people had fighting off malaria and other illnesses.  There is a monument on the hill in memory of the early pioneers of the northern Namibian region. Today the Swartbooisdrif region consists of three main territories and locations where people have settled. The first region is the perimeter directly to the left of the Horeb property and mainly settled around the locations of the school (old van der Merwe church), the little shop and the clinic. The second region is located further away from the river at the Ehomba Mountains. It is here where the families of the Van der Merwe's have settled over the years after the dorsland trekkers returned from Angola. Water is provided from a fountain in the mountains behind Ehomba and people make a living out of farming with cattle and vegetables. It is interesting that these people are still capable of speaking Afrikaans after all these years where in all other regions around Swartbooisdrift people only speak OtjiHerero and Ovahimba. The last location where people have started to live together is at the Sodalite mine to the far left of the town of Swartbooisdrift and more inland in the Zebra Mountains.

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