When the old Herero settlement became a missionary station

Years ago, the 28 square kilometer farm served as a mission station for the Rheinische Mission and there is still a wall from the original church visible at the reception area. Today, the farmhouse is beautiful refurbished, stylish lodge with a well designed garden and rooms, reopened under new management since mid September 2021. 

During a conference of the Rheinische Mission held in 1871 it was decided that the young Missionary Johann Jakob Irle (1843-1924) should build a station with the aim to convert the Herero and Mbanderu people under Chief Kukuri to Christian faith. Irle stayed on Otjosazu (which was the old name) together with his wife for 31 years. He gained profound insight into the life and traditions of the Herero people which made him the best qualified expert of the Herero culture at his time. When the Herero rose against the German colonial power in 1904, Irle was one of the few people from Africa who informed the public in Germany about the reasons and causes of the rebellion. Irle’s successor on Otjisazu was Missionary Heinrich Brockmann (1873-1951) who lived through the Herero rebellion there. Senior Chief Samuel Maherero had passed a resolution which protected non-German whites and German women, children and missionaries against harm. In the following events, Missionary Brockmann was requested by the Herero on 29 January 1904 to leave Otjisazu to go to Okahandja. Like all surrounding missionary stations Otjisazu was also looted and destroyed.

The book about Otjisazu

Otjisazu - Von der Mission zur Gästefarm – Book by Gerhard Friedl

Otjisazu – Von der Mission zur Gästefarm
Author: Gerhard Friedl
Language: German
Released: 2005
ISBN: 978-3-9807682-3-8

A brief history of the place

The place is 115 m higher in altitude than Okahandja and situated 1520 m above sea level 21º56’17″ east. The station was built on the right bank of a small river which has its source in the mountain above Okahandja in the east and which flows into the Swakop two hours below Otjisazu at Ozoserekaze “the old honoured lady”. Otjisazu then had a good river source which streamed for a quarter of an hour with rich gardening land on either bank and a beautiful mimosa forest on its left bank, particularly near Okandjira. The grazing land was good with rainfalls of 350 mm in good years and 150 mm in bad years. There was no lack of ostrich, leopard, hyena, wolves and jackals. Ostrich troops often came into the plains of the place. Snakes were found there, too. The 5-6 m long Ondara lived on the Ondrohungu Mountains for some time, scarring us with her presence. When we came to Otjisazu in October 1872, the place had no inhabitants except some poor Ovatjimba families.”

Missionary J.Irle, cited from the publication “The Herero”, 1906, 282 f.