2024 April 11 – Windhoek Express: Alte Feste gears up for a new look

Windhoek Express report launch renovation repurposing Alte Feste fortress German colonial era Windhoek

“ALTE FESTE GEARS UP FOR A NEW LOOK

USA finances the renovation of the historic building
U$250 000 has been donated for the renovation of the Alte Feste.

Jemimah Ndebele
2024-04-11 09:17:00

The Alte Feste, the oldest building in Windhoek, is to undergo a major renovation.

This ambitious project, launched through a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture and the Namibia Craft Centre, on Wednesday received a grant of U$250 000 (around N$4.4m) from the United States Ambassador Cultural Preservation Fund (AFCP).

The historical significance of the Alte Feste, which dates back to its construction in 1890 by the German Schutztruppe, underlines the importance of preservation measures. While the function of the Alte Feste has changed over the last century – from housing soldiers to being used as an educational facility – it will now again play a central role in the local community and is intended to become a cultural centre.

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Editor’s note:
At the launch, it was also emphasised that the repurposing of the building must be seen in the context of coming to terms with the past. The Alte Feste symbolises the German colonial era (1884 to 1915). According to historical photographs, a prison camp was located next to the fortress during the colonial wars against OvaHerero and Nama (1904 to 1908). Tens of thousands of members of both peoples died in the course of the genocide.
This painful past is being reappraised through a variety of stories about the construction and use of the Alte Feste. By redesigning the building for a new use for arts and crafts and as a meeting place, the aim is to look towards a shared future.

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