The Waterberg Plateau, with its flambouyant brick-red sandstone formations and lush green vegetation presents an island of vibrant colour that can only be matched by the spirited people of the area. Yaari Kaputu, a local Herero, shares his Central Namibia...
“You can start to share my Namibia by flying into the international airport! Every visitor who lands here has a connection to the Herero people. Our international airport is named after Hosea Kutako, a Herero leader and Namibian hero. The connection is even stronger when you visit central Namibia for Kutako was born at Mt. Etjo, and this area has great historical significance for the Herero people.
Between 1904 and 1908, the Herero fought a great rebellion against the Germans, and this area is home to battle sights, caves where the Hereros stored weapons and gravesites that are an important part of our history.
Every year in late August we pay respect to our deceased leaders on Herero Day in Okahandja, and on August 11, in Okakarara, we mark the last battle between in the Herero and the Germans. Each of these events includes a procession where we pray to the ancestors and to God. The men march and drill in their military-style uniforms, while in their traditional dress, the women wear red, green and white, the colours of the three flags that make up the Herero nation. You might know this traditional dress. It is a skirt of many layers and a pointed or “horned” hat.
We sing during these events and the songs are dedicated to war, suffering, kingdoms and heroes and in this way the stories of our past are passed on to the younger generation.
Tourists can witness these processions and take photographs, so August is a good time to visit central Namibia.
There is never a bad time to visit the Waterberg Plateau Park. It is very important historically to the Herero people and very beautiful, with the contrast of colours and textures. There are also trees on top of the Waterberg that you won’t find anywhere else in Namibia. The park was initially proposed to protect eland, Africa’s largest antelope, but, recognizing the plateau’s natural physical defenses against human and livestock encroachment, conservationists soon introduced other endangered animals and in this way, protected breeding populations were established.
For a place that has seen so much conflict in the past, the Waterberg inspires peace. There is something about how the light shines on the mountain in the morning and in the afternoon, it fills me with peace and lulls me to sleep.”