Exhibition on migrant labour opens


The Museums Association of Namibia in partnership with the Embassy of Finland in Namibia and the Katutura Community Arts Centre (KCAC) is having a weeklong exhibition on the history of migrant labour in Namibia.
The exhibition is aptly taking place in the gallery of KCAC which formally housed the Kitchen and Canteen that served food to over 6,000 men who lived in the Katutura Contract Workers’ Compound.

In Windhoek, the exhibition – which is titled Omutete wOkaholo: Migrant Labour and the Making of Namibia Exhibition – opened on Wednesday this week, with Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, the Minister of Education, Arts and Culture and Anne Saloranta, the Ambassador of Finland in Namibia, officiating.

The museums association says it hopes that the exhibition would “encourage support for a Migrant Labour Museum.”

“One of the significant discoveries that was made during the research of the exhibition was a list of the names of sixteen South African workers who were killed during an industrial dispute at Wilhelmstal in 1910,” said the statement from the Museums Association of Namibia.

The men were working on the railway line to the coast. It is hoped that this exhibition will make this and other forgotten stories better known.

The museum could be housed in the remains of the old Migrant Workers’ Compound in Walvis Bay. MAN aims to make the exhibition available to schools as an education tool to raise awareness of workers’ history.

Entrance to the KCAC is off Hostel Road (after you turn right at the roundabout at the entrance to Katutura if you are driving from town).

MAN is encouraging people with memories of the migrant labour system to come to the exhibition to have their portraits taken and to tell their stories so that the exhibition might grow in the future.

The exhibition will be open to the public from 9am to 4pm until Friday, 17 February. The Museums Association of Namibia are encouraging local schools to book guided tours of the exhibition.

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