The weekend of the 25 to 26 October saw Windhoek accommodation packed to capacity as Namibians flocked to the Sports Klub Windhoek (SKW) for the annual Oktoberfest. For the 55th year in a row, Windhoek put on an extravaganza German culture, celebrating Namibia’s strong Teutonic heritage. This year, 5 500 revellers descended on the festival, and the event even got a mention in the Wall Street Journal.
For 35 years, Namibia was a colony of this European superpower, and the ties with the motherland are still strong. Many of the locals still speak German as a first language and Namibia is the only African country to publish a daily German-language newspaper.
The festival is not limited to those with a European heritage, and is celebrated by all Namibians who enjoy a good party – and what a party it was! Agnes Mpingana Kafula, the mayor of Windhoek presided over the opening of the first festival keg, enthused, “We have one nation, one Namibia.”, as she clinked glasses with German community leaders.
That got the ball rolling, and a weekend of parades, traditional German food, family entertainment, music, beer and more beer was soon under way. Many thousands of litres of stein met their demise, the Namibian skies rang with folk songs and the 2013 beer queen was crowned. This year, Sonja Hoth successfully defended her title by lifting 18-beer filled steins at once, weighing 2 pounds each, to retain her crown for the third year running. The men challenged each other to see who could cut through a log the fastest.
Kirchdorfer, a popular folk band from Munich, returned to the festival again this year and got everyone’s feet stomping with German songs. Their act was followed by local rock band Famaz Attack, kitted out in lederhosen-style board shorts, performed a combination of German songs and American Rock.
“This is the place where you want to come,” said one of the revellers, and judging from its success – Oktoberfest is indeed the place to be for the biggest party in Namibia.