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About 30 km’s from Walvis Bay, adjacent to the the dune belt and lying in the Kuiseb River valley is Rooibank. Named for the red granite outcrop and red dunes this small scattering of buildings and a pumping station is not much more than a dot on a map. This is the home of the Topnaar people descendants of Khoekhoe Strandlopers (beach walkers).

Without doubt, the Topnaars are among the oldest inhabitants of Namibia. They trace their origins back before 1652, when Jan van Riebeeck established a European settlement on the Southern African soil. Records from 1677 recount a barter trade system between Topnaars and European sailors, which suggest that the Topnaars were among the first traders in Namibia. Beef, lamb, milk, !Nara plants and fresh water were exchanged for groceries, clothes and weapons. The bulk of their subsistence activities is the recovery of !Nara seeds and some goat herding.

Early missionaries to South West Africa were keen to convert the Topnaar people and one of the Rhenish missionaries translated the bible into their language and started the first mission station in Rooibank

About 2 km’s from Rooibank, surrounded by barren gravel plains the church pictured here stands in isolation. Built in 1969 and assailed by the harsh climate, it was difficult to decide whether or not the building was still in use.

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This photograph is copyright of Rosemary Walden - © Rosemary Walden 2014. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of the image in any form is prohibited. You may not, except with my express written permission, copy, reproduce, download, distribute or exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system

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Additional Photos by Rosemary Walden (SnapRJW) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2709 W: 79 N: 6610] (30020)
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