A closer look at Namibia

A pictorial and narrative companion to a special country, Namibia
Vogt, Andreas
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39,95 € *
A closer look at Namibia

Author: Andreas Vogt
Windhoek, 2007
Soft cover, 30x29 cm, 133 pages, throughout colour photos

Foreword by Andreas Vogt:

In this book, thirty selected articles that have formerly been published mainly in Flamingo, Air Namibia’s in-flight magazine, have been processed for publication in a single volume under the title of „A closer look at Namibia“. (Air Namibia is Namibia’s national air carrier).

Whereas normally a number of photographs are sent in together with the text to a magazine’s editor for publication, only a few pictures may ultimately be selected for final publication.

The result is, that while a host of photographic material is available which could also be used for a photographic exhibition or for publication in a book, only a fraction is actually used in a magazine publication.

The idea of this book is to make better use of the photographic bulk material amassed by the author in the course of preparing his magazine articles in order to convey more visual information, because to take „A closer look at Namibia“ means not to take a cursory glance or a superficial peek only.

The compiler of this book is a Namibian freelance writer and photographer, who has published numerous books and articles concerning Namibian culture, art, heritage and tourism in Namibian print media, especially in popular magazines such as tourism magazines, in-flight magazines and the local print media.

Due to the limited shelf-life of magazines and the flooding of book markets by magazines in general, he is often asked by people who have read some of the articles earlier, whether they could re-read or share them with friends and acquaintances.

Namibia is a huge and very sparsely populated country. There are many people living in Namibia itself, who have actually seldom taken a glimpse at how other people in their own country actually live, or how it looks in other parts of the country.

It would therefore be appropriate if there would be a medium that allows them to take „A closer look at Namibia“. This book could be of assistance in this regard and should also be circulated in Namibia itself.

On the other hand, outsiders to Namibia such as visitors and tourists often spend very limited time in Namibia, so they also only get a cursory glimpse of this extraordinary country.

After Independence, many newcomers to Namibia have started to develop a keen interest in their new home country.

They also might want to take „A closer look at Namibia“, and the book could also help out here. It should be noted that the title of this publication is not „A close look at Namibia“, because the local Namibian or the visitor/ tourist/ foreigner/ newcomer would have to take a close look himself at those things that he or she might find interesting about Namibia.

The author himself, a born Namibian, having travelled Namibia far and wide, is keenly aware that to cover everything in Namibia would even in a lifetime simply be impossible. Also, considering the issue of cost if looked at from a logistical point of view, or from the immense cost of travelling in Namibia alone, even the most detailed or comprehensive journey would only allow a glimpse at what is there to experience, and would therefore still be only subjective.

It was therefore also for the author only possible to take „A closer look at Namibia“ in the span of a couple of years, and to share an ultimately and essentially limited cultural and informational resource, namely some images/views and some words/texts about Namibia, with the reader.

This book is thus aimed at both a Namibian audience as well as an audience outside Namibia. It aims to inform both Namibians and foreigners about certain aspects pertaining to Namibia and thus to act along an intercultural communicative line, in an entertaining, yet informative way.

With pictures being circulated virtually every second in front of our eyes in our media-dominated consumer society, the attention of viewers is cleverly directed towards certain carefully selected images. Often, these are backed up by relentless commercial interests such as advertising (of which the tourism industry is a big benefactor), or a variety of consumer goods such as alcohol, cigarettes, soft drinks or whatever.

Clandestinely, some images start to attain a privileged status, such as for instance, in the Namibian context, the dunes at Sossus Vley, zebras at a waterhole in Etosha, or Himba nomads in the Kaokoland. Being essentially rather commercial cliches than real visual icons, they either subtly or even brutally overshadow other, more subtle aspects of our visual world that may be more inconspicuous, but not less charming or interesting.

Assuming that something small doesn’t have to be insignificant, Namibia in this respect is still a fairly undiscovered country, and to the attentive eye or for an enthusiastic photographer, or for somebody who goes through life with an observant eye and a receptive mind, there are still many things and aspects to discover and to uncover. In this respect this book also aims at pointing out, that taking a closer look at certain aspects of our shared visual environments, both cultural and natural, can be a most rewarding experience.

Many aspects not only of the natural environment (which is certainly hugely privileged in this respect) but also about Namibia’s cultural environment may have only caught some brief attention, and have maybe raised a short-lived interest, only to become forgotten again. In this regard, the intention is to sharpen awareness of the public of the magnitude of natural and cultural phenomena that one can experience in Namibia.

Readers and viewers of this book may initially be confused to find thirty stories that may have little in common at first sight. It is not intended to supply a comprehensive and logical narrative throughout the entire book, but rather to supply impressions and information about Namibia, in a rather unorthodox fashion. The stories should be read individually, the pictures studied, to allow the reader to develop the wish to explore Namibia himself or herself.

This book invites to be opened, a story to be read, to be put aside and to be taken up later to read another story. It is an ideal travel companion - entertaining, informative and relaxing - and ultimately also a nice souvenir after a sojourn in Namibia. It is an invitation to raise a quiet awareness about the magnitude of experiential opportunities in Namibia, an invitation to re-read the stories, to take another look at them, at leisure, and, ultimately, to take a closer look at Namibia.

It is a country that deserves it - in so many, many respects Finally, Namibia is a country that abounds with natural sunlight, giving rise to the most spectacular sunsets, light situations, natural illuminations and is therefore any photographer’s dream. Knowing that an image that is not displayed or published is a useless image, the author, himself a keen photographer, is enthusiastic to share some of his photographs with the readers and viewers of this book.

They are not only exciting visual material, but also very personal records from many thousands of kilometres travelled on Namibia’s tarred and gravel roads, and reminiscences of many interesting people met and fascinating places visited.

This is why, ultimately, this book is dedicated to the many wonderful people I have met personally, those that have crossed my path, or with whom I have travelled a mile or two together, to those with whom an exceptional experience or a memory was shared and to all who have celebrated our wonderful country, Namibia, and the abundance of light the richness of our cultural and natural heritage, and the beauty of life itself.

About the author:

Andreas Vogt, born on July 26, 1962 in Windhoek/ Namibia, unmarried, attended primary and high schools in Windhoek/Namibia. Conscription 1981-82, studied humanities thereafter at Stellenbosch University/South Africa during 1983-88, obtaining B.A. and Hons.-B.A.-degrees.

Employed between 1989-2001 at the National Monuments Council of Namibia in Windhoek/ Namibia. Attended a post-graduate study course in heritage conservation at the Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg/Germany with a bursary of the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, DAAD) in 1993-94. Obtained a M.A-degree in the subject of cultural history from Stellenbosch University/South-Africa in 1995.

Doctorate (Dr.phil) 1997-2000 at the Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg/Germany, again as bursary holder of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). During his employment period at the National Monuments Council of Namibia, the author had been engaged in numerous heritage conservation projects.

He has authored several books, as well as numerous publications and articles in popular magazines and scientific journals pertaining to Namibian and African cultural history, heritage conservation, national monuments and topics related to tourism in Namibia. He is a keen photographer and lives currently in Windhoek as a freelance journalist and writer. Pictures in this volume were taken with a Leica R and various Leica lenses, on Fuji Film.



Bethanie in the South: A place well worth visiting
Son of the Soil - Namibia’s grassroots painter Paul Kiddo
You haven’t been to Namibia, if you haven’t been to Aus
A Kudu in Windhoek: Symbol of growth
Lost at Sea: Victims of a dreadful coast
The loneliest grave
Ever been to .... Otjimbingwe? It’s full of national monuments
Now for... !Hoaxa-!nas In its simplicity, the former Nama capital breathes authenticity
Oases of the urban jungle - a focus on Windhoek’s corner-shops
Karibib old and new - from national monuments to trendy hair-salons
Styles and epochs - A closer look at three German churches in Namibia
Windhoek old and new - City of contrasts
White Cold - a visit to Bird Rock Island
Less is more ...Nama women build beautiful matjies huts in the Richtersveld
The Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing - a new priory, home to a small missionary order, is an architectural jewel.
The jesus, Mary & Joseph Monastery near Windhoek - a harmonious blend of the African and European
Etendeka - Land of layered hills
Cool warm house - a visit to a unique beach cottage
The Heroes’ Acre Monument
The history of Bahnhof Street
The Heroes’ Statues in front of Parliament Building (Tintenpalast), Windhoek
Zoo Park - an oasis in the heart of Windhoek
They ran out of steam - old locomotives remind us of a bygone era
Gibeon — a relic of European colonial expansion
Ambolandbahn— an ambitious scheme is revived
A short-lived bridge in Swakopmund
Shark Island- reflecting a dramatic historical past
Cuca shops in the north
Ghostly foes meet again - the Ovambo Memorial in Palm Tree Park in Windhoek
Oorlam time capsule - Berseba and its „Mountain with the Apron“ - Brukkaros

Short Reference List