By Frederick Philander GIBEON A small businessman and goat farmer in the South has obtained the exclusive rights to develop and transform the presently disused Gibeon station into a vibrant tourism and cultural centre. Christy Bessinger was given permission by TransNamib, the owner of the station, to develop the area for the benefit of the people of Gibeon. “All the buildings at the station, some eight kilometres from the village, were supposed to have been bulldozed, but I approached TransNamib with a request to preserve the buildings as a historic site that can be of benefit to tourism as well as to the people of Gibeon,” said an excited Bessinger in a New Era interview. Renovations to the dilapidated station buildings that have not been used for more than a decade will start beginning of September. “The project will cost in access of N$1,5 million to develop the whole station area into a proper marketable and usable facility for tourists visiting the South. My business plan caters for phasing in the project, which is of great historic value to the people of Gibeon, on the B1 national road to South Africa and a stone’s throw away from the village,” Bessinger said. He and his wife moved to Gibeon from the comfort of city life some five years ago and set up their own small stock farming unit. “Gibeon has a very rich and important history of the country. Our great grandfather and his followers, who sacrificed their lives, are buried in scattered graves around here. Captain Hendrik !Nanseb Witbooi declared and resisted war against the German colonial government. For that, we respect him as a national hero,” said Bessinger emotionally. Bessinger also intends to market and sell the traditional crafts the villagers produce at his to-be-established cultural centre next to the national road. “My plan is to upgrade the existing buildings to provide overnight accommodation to tourists visiting the area because we cannot do it in the village. The services to be provided will include safaris to the village and the farms in the area, a kiosk, a restaurant, a children’s playground, a camping site, a truck port, picnic facilities, herbarium for local indigenous plants, an open air museum and a splash pool,” he enthused. He hopes to employ up to 50 villagers upon completion of the project and also invited potential investors to contact him for further information on the project.
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