Best spots for a dose of culture
Most people travel to Namibia for the scenery, but you should get to know its culture, too.
Warehouse Theatre & Boiler Room
The Warehouse Theatre is the cultural heartbeat of Windhoek. Mike and Tania Ott offer a creative lineup. ( They also organise the annual Namrock music festival – see page 80.) The theatre seats 280 people (650 standing) and often hosts music concerts and comedy events. It’s also a platform for young Namibian artists, from poets to jazz musicians and flamenco dancers. The Boiler Room next door also hosts musical acts. Where? 48 Tal Street When? The Warehouse Theatre is only open for shows, but the Boiler Room is open Monday to Saturday from 4 pm until late. Contact: 00 264 61 402 253;
Xwama Cultural Village
Twapewa Kadhikwa, one of Namibia’s top entrepreneurs, established the Xwama Cultural Village in 2008 – stop here to experience Namibian culture.
Sit with your toes in the sand, sip an oshikundu and listen to traditional stories and songs. On the menu is goat and sheep’s head, beef stew with pap, bean soup and mopane worms. There is also a shop with arts and crafts and souvenirs. Where? On the corner of Omongo Street and Independence Avenue. When? Monday to Thursday from 11 am to 9 pm; Friday and Saturday 11 am to 11 pm; Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm. Contact: 00 264 61 210 270; xwama.com
Franco Namibian Cultural Centre
The FNCC focuses on cultural co-operation between Namibia and France, and for the past 15 years it has showcased local talent. It hosts photography workshops, lectures, language courses, art exhibitions, film screenings, and theatre and dance productions. There is also a library and a restaurant, La Bonne Table, with a French-themed menu (open Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 9.30 pm). Where? 118 Robert Mugabe Avenue When? Visit their website ( fncc.org.na) for the library and restaurant hours, as well as details of specific events and exhibitions. Contact: 00 264 61 387 330; fncc.org.na
Uncle Spike’s Book Exchange
Come swap your second-hand books for a new read. The shop, filled to the rafters with books, used to be part of a toy shop owned by Neville Edgar Bauser (aka Uncle Spike) on Kaiserstrasse (now Independence Avenue). In 1980 it moved to the current address where George Yates has been running things for the past 33 years. They have books in every conceivable genre, including classic Namibian books. Where? On the corner of Tal and Garten streets. When? Weekdays from 8 am to 5.30 pm; Saturday from 8 am to 1 pm. Contact: 00 264 61 22 67 22
For accommodation options in and around Windhoek, see page 111. Visit whatsonwindhoek.com for a daily calendar of activities in the area. Thanks to Botha Kruger for his help with this article.
CULTURE FOR AFRICA. The Wikaphoniker Orchestra (above) in full swing during a performance at the Warehouse Theatre. Twapewa Kadhikwa (below, left), owner of the Xwama Cultural Village, and employee Meke Hedimbi show off some of the curios for sale there. Tania and Mike Ott (bottom) in the Boiler Room, next door to the Warehouse Theatre.