Tripti Joshi

Grootfontein

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Country  Namibia
Founded  1885

Region  Otjozondjupa Region
Mayor  Emma Taukuheke
Grootfontein wwwgrootfonteinmuncomnawpcontentuploadsin1jpg

Map of Grootfontein

Grootfontein (Afrikaans: Large Spring after the nearby hot springs) is a city of 23,793 inhabitants in the Otjozondjupa Region of central Namibia. It is one of the three towns in the Otavi Triangle, situated on the B8 national road that leads from Otavi to the Caprivi Strip. Grootfontein receives an annual average rainfall of 557 millimetres (21.9 in), although in the 2010/2011 rainy season 956 millimetres (37.6 in) were measured.

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Overview

The place was known to the Herero under the name Otjivanda. In 1885, 40 Boer families from the north-west of South Africa settled at Grootfontein. Part of the Dorsland trekkers, they were heading towards Angola. When that territory fell under Portuguese control, they turned back and established the Republic of Upingtonia at Grootfontein. Abandoned by 1887, it became the headquarters of the South West Africa Company in 1893.

In 1908 the Roman Catholic church established a mission in Grootfontein as the basis of their eventually successful attempt to establish missions in Kavango.

Like all the towns in the Otavi Triangle, Grootfontein is very green in summer but drier in winter. In spring, jacaranda and flamboyant trees bloom in profusion. The town has an old German Schutztruppe fortress from the year 1896, which today houses a museum that expounds on the local history. The economic mainspring of the area were for many decades the Berg Aukas and Abenab mines to the north east of the town. These produced zinc and vanadium but have since closed. This is dolomite country and the carbonate deposits in the upper parts of the mine have yielded interesting fossils of simian or pongoid creatures that lived millions of years before modern humans evolved.

Twenty four kilometres west of Grootfontein lies the huge Hoba meteorite. At over 60 tons, it is the largest known meteorite on Earth, as well as being the largest naturally occurring mass of iron known to exist on the planet's surface.

Transport

Grootfontein is a railhead on TransNamib, the national railway and transport system. The next station to the west is Otavi. Grootfontein is also home of Namibia's main military base which housed several units of the now departed South African Defence Force. It has an airfield that can handle large transport carriers such as the Hercules C130, as well as commercial passenger aircraft.

Agriculture

Grootfontein Show, an annual agricultural exhibition that takes place since 1911, is the second largest annual entrepreneurial exhibition in the country, after Windhoek Show.

Business

The town has four supermarket chains (Spar, WB, Pick n Pay and Ok Foods), and a newly developed mall. Grootfontein is home to Namibia Property Group, a developer of low and middle income housing across the country. NPG is developing Omulunga Extension 5, and has plans to continue growing Grootfontein's inner township.

Several other national businesses are based out of Grootfontein, including Simondeum Fine Meats, a manufacturer of sausage and meat products.

The town has three active Fueling Stations.

Politics

Grootfontein is governed by a municipal council that currently has seven seats.

Namesake

There is another Grootfontein in Hardap province.

Education

Previously the German school Regierungsschule Grootfontein was in the town. In 1965 it had 4 teachers and 117 learners and was supported by German government.

Grootfontein is home to three high schools, Grootfontein Secondary School, Friedrich Awaseb Senior Secondary School, and the Grootfontein Agricultural College.

Notable people from Grootfontein

  • Behati Prinsloo – model, best known for working with Victoria's Secret
  • Leon Jooste – SWAPO politician and businessman
  • Hage Geingob – The President of the Republic of Namibia
  • Lydia Katjita – SWAPO politician and member of the Pan-African Parliament
  • Hannes Smith – journalist
  • Inge Zaamwani – businesswoman
  • References

    Grootfontein Wikipedia


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