Bethanie, Namibia

Bethanie, Namibia

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Bethanie, Namibia

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Bethanie (often in German: Bethanien, and in English: Bethany, previously Klipfontein, Khoekhoegowab: ǀUiǂgandes) is a village in southern Namibia, and is ranked as one of the oldest settlements in the country. It is situated on the road C14 between Goageb and Walvis Bay, 100 km west of Keetmanshoop.

As missionaries started travelling north from the Cape Colony in the early 19th century, they established mission stations on their way. The London Missionary Society founded the town, but, because of a shortage of missionaries and presumably because of the cooperation between the London and Rhenish Missionary Society at the time, they instead sent a German.

Reverend Heinrich Schmelen arrived in 1814 as missionary of the Kaiǀkhauan (Khauas Nama) and their leader Amraal Lambert. The Schmelenhaus was built the same year, long considered the oldest structure in Namibia, and currently a National Monument and memorabilia museum. It was later discovered that the church and the pastor's house in Warmbad, both destroyed in 1811, were older than the Schmelenhaus, and that the fortification of ǁKhauxaǃnas predates all European constructions.

In 1822, Schmelen left Bethanie after becoming dissatisfied with his missionary work among the local tribes, who refused his repeated and impassioned pleas to attend...
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