Approximately 120 million people worldwide speak German, nearly 100 million of them as native speakers. German is also the most frequently spoken language in Europe. Every year, more than 110 000 German-speaking tourists visit Namibia, thus knowledge of the German language increases one’s employment prospects mainly in tourism, but also in many other economic fields in Namibia.
These are important reasons why almost 10 000 children and youth are currently studying German as a foreign language or mother tongue at 55 schools in Namibia, and their numbers are on the rise.
German is therefore a language that connects and offers its students countless opportunities and for this reason the Otjiwarongo Secondary School, with support from the Goethe-Institut Namibia and the German Embassy, recently held a fun-filled German language and culture day under the theme of “Deutsch verbindet’ which translates as ‘German connects’.
The aim of the first German Language Day in Namibia was to demonstrate this, support the structures for German language tuition in the central areas of the country and raise interest for German in those areas where German is not taught yet.
Many Namibian schools from the Otjozondjupa and Oshikoto regions, as well as representatives of the German partner schools of the PASCH network (PASCH-Schools: Partners for the Future”) participated in the event.
The many visitors enjoyed a packed programme with manifold activities, games and cultural events.
The German Language Day was opened by a colourful show programme by the Otjiwarongo Secondary School, followed by study guidance and later a career fair by UNAM/DAAD representatives and other activities (e. g. debate club), exhibitions and film showings.
The youngest students were in for a special treat as they listened to the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Namibia, Matthias Schlaga, who read them stories both in English and German from a children’s book.
In addition, Ambassador Schlaga and Director of the Goethe-Institut Daniel Stoevesandt hosted a round-table discussion on the perspectives of the German language in the Namibian school system with representatives from the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED) and Simon Tsuseb the Director of Education for the Otjozondjupa Region as well as school principals.
The participants agreed that a lack of qualified teachers as well as decent training for teachers were the biggest challenges for satisfying the rising demand for German in Namibia and that they will continue to cooperate closely with a special focus on this area.
The highlight of the day was a hip-hop concert by the German artists ‘Mine and Edgar Wasser’, who thrilled the many youthful visitors from Otjiwarongo.