Lüderitz, Namibia debates name change

18636357723_bbaf75176b_mLüderitz, a small Namibian harbor town located off the coast of Africa, was founded in 1883 and named after a well-to-do tobacco trader, Adolf Lüderitz, from Bremen, Germany. Originally a trading post and fishing town, Lüderitz achieved sudden global notoriety at the turn of the century when a small pocket of diamonds were found. After the mines closed, the name of the former German colony was all but forgotten…until this year when the current Mayor, Suzan Ndjaleka, publicly called for an official name change.

According to Ndjaleka, the name is offensive to the Nama people who were decimated during the European occupation. In just a few decades, some 80% of the Nama’s original population had perished in the colonial genocide. In recognition of this town’s original African ancestry, Ndjaleka and her supporters have lobbied to change the harbor town’s name from Lüderitz to !Nam’Nus.

Critics of the proposal have charged that such a name change would endanger the critical yearly income that the town receives from droves of curious European tourists. The opponents also charge that the proposed name is alienating to town residents who do not speak the local indigenous click language.

At the moment, the town is sharply divided.

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