The Khorab Memorial:
National Monument of the place where the Imperial German Forces
officially surrendered to General Louis Botha's Union of South Africa Army on 9
July 1915. OK. The memorial carries a National Heritage Plaque that
states, Kilometre 500 Memorial " It was here that the German troops signed
their capitulation to the troops of the Union of South
Africa on 9 July 1915. The co-signatories of the treaty were
General Louis Botha, Governor Seitz and the Oberstleutenant
Franke. This marked the end of German rule in South West Africa." It's
not very impressive, but it is a little piece of history that commemorates
the culmination of a war that spread its insidious tentacles into our
beautiful land so long ago, and soldiers died for their country's cause, so
I suppose one should pause for a moment and remember them.
||General. L Botha Greets
Governor T Sietz
||Signing the Treaty
Finding the Monument: This
exercise requires concentration, patience and an amount of
determination. Firstly many of the streets in
Otavi have no name plates,
so follow these directions carefully and save yourself a lot of
frustration and time. Enter the town from the B1 Road. You will drive
along the above street until you arrive at a 4 way stop sign.
Diagonally to your right will be a SPAR shop. Turn right onto this
road and drive until you arrive at a traffic circle. Turn left. In
this street you will see a PEP Store and a First National Bank.
Drive along this street until you arrive at a T-Junction. The small Otavi
Municipal Office is opposite. It is painted green.
There is a sign 'Khorab Monument'. You drive over what appears to be
waste land for about 70 meters. You then arrive at a fence shown
below. The left hand sign states: "STRICTLY PRIVATE". The right hand
sign that is obscured by overgrown bush indicates that this is the
Farm Rentes. The road forks to the left and to the right. Take the
left hand road passing the 'Strictly Private' sign. You then drive
along a dirt road for 1.7km (1.1mile) and you arrive at the Khorab
Monument. If you take the turn to the right you will end up driving
along a sandy path alongside the rail track. The memorial is behind a farm fence
and stands about 1.5m high.
The 1st of August 1914 witnessed the outbreak of World War 1, and it
was on Christmas Day 1914 that General Louis Botha led the Union of South African troops ashore at
Walvis Bay from where, in the
Namibia mid-summer heat they began, what was referred to as the 'South West
Africa Campaign' against the Imperial German Forces.
The war for the German troops soon presented
difficulties owing to sea routes to the ports of
Swakopmund being blockaded by the Royal Navy. The supply lines for
much needed ammunition and the other needs of the German colonial
army were strangled. The South African forces pursued the German
Army relentlessly and further North by the day.
On 20 May 1915 the Germans sought a solution with
the South Africans that would allow them to keep the northern area
of the Territory. The South Africans, by this time had accumulated a
force of some 35,000 troops within the Territory, refused and insisted on an
The South Africans responded by sending Brigadier
Coen Brits with task force
northwards and around the Germans to seal off attempts of escape to
Angola; a country which also presented difficulties of refuge for
the Germans owing to their strained relations with the Portuguese.
The last area of conflict in the South West Africa
Campaign took place in the Otavi District. It was here that the
Germans, outnumbered, tired and having depleted virtually all of the
needs vital to a fighting force, and without the alternative of
escaping across the border into Angola held meetings on the 4th, 5th
and 6th of July regarding the terms of capitulation.
10h00 on 9th July 1915, as previously agreed
upon and arranged, a train carrying the Governor of German South
West Africa accompanied by Schutztruppe Major Victor Franke and
several junior officers arrived at a point known as Kilometre 500
just North of the small town of Otavi. They were met and welcomed by
General Botha, Colonel de Waal, Major Bok, Major Esselen and Major
Leish, of the South African forces. The terms of surrender were
signed on the wooden table set in a clearing in the bush alongside the rail
track shown in the photograph above ended the hostilities.
The document became known as The Treaty of Khorab.
However, the area and farm known as Khorab is south of Otavi town.
It is at this place where the remainder of the German force of 3,467
men and 204 officers were camped at the
The South West Africa Campaign lasted 203 days, and
ended just under 31 years of German colonial rule in Namibia.
Of Interest: Just before the German Army surrendered to the South African
troops they dumped many of their field guns, ammunition and
Aus Schutztruppe POW Camp
Lake Otkikoto and the Kaiser's Xannina