Okahandja is a small town situated 75km north of
Windhoek. It is here that the B1 main
north road has a junction with the B2 main road to
and the coast. Originally settled by the Herero people, it remains the centre
for the Herero, and is the traditional burial place for their Chiefs.
The name is Okahandja taken from the Herero language and means, "the place
where two rivers converge to form a larger one". The two rivers, the Okakango
and Okamita, are quite small, normally dry and, in the rainy season, drain into
the Okahandja River.
The missionary Johann H. Schmelen visited here in 1827 and noted with
interest the amount of souls that could be converted, but it wasn't until after
1840 when the London Missionary Society had transferred its right to the Rhenish
Missionary Society at Otjikango (Gross Barmen) that Karl Hugo Hahn and Franz H.
Kleinschmidt brought Schmelen's Dream to fruition when they established a
Mission at Okahandja in 1844, which they appropriately named Schmelen's Hope.
During August 1850, while the British explorer Francis Galton was staying
with the Hahn family
at Otjikango, the Nama Warlord Jonker Afrikaner, who was based in Windhoek
attacked the Hereros of Okahandja and slaughtered many of them. Legend has it
that many of the Herero