RehobothThe small town of Rehoboth lies 90 kilometres south of Windhoek on the National Road B1. It has a strong spring and was founded in 1844 as a mission station. But because of the frequent attacks and lootings by the Namas, the mission was abandoned a few years later. In 1870, a "trek" of about 100 Baster families from the Cape reached the deserted place and settled here. The Basters (Afrikaans for "bastards") are racially mixed descendants of Khoikhoi women and Boerish immigrants from the Cape. In 1885, the Rehoboth Basters reached a protection and friendship agreement with the German colonial administration, which granted them a great amount of autonomy. During the First World War, the Rehoboth Basters turned against the Germans and refused to fight against the South Africans, which, during the following South African occupation, gained them quite a few privileges, despite the rule of Apartheid law.
Today about 50.000 Basters live in and around Rehoboth. Their language is still Afrikaans. They are a highly respected minority in Namibia with considerable political influence in Windhoek. The Basters mainly live on cattle and sheep farming, because their land belongs to the most fertile areas with the highest rainfalls in Central Namibia. Rehoboth Basters are very talented craftsmen, too.
Photo left: A Citizen of Rehoboth. The Basters came in the 19th century from the Cape to Namibia. Right: Lutheran Paulus Church in Rehoboth
Rehoboth's highly visible landmark is the Lutheran Paulus Church, inaugurated in 1908. A visitor to this dusty little town can get information about the history of the Baster people and the region of Rehoboth in the Museum in the former post office.