Projekt Lilie

Karibib Privatschule: the school that formed a town

At the dawn of the 20th century, Karibib was a trading post, water point and small center that served the needs of farmers from the surrounding area. On 1 July 1900, the railway that was being constructed to connect Windhoek and Swakopmund was officially inaugurated, and Karibib found itself a center of major activity.

However towns are made of families, and families are built upon the presence of children.

On 1 June 1902, a private school was opened to accommodate the children of workers on the railway line. The school taught 8 - 10 children. Their teacher was Missionary Elger.

In 1904, a school building was erected. This was later converted to a hospital for the military during the Herero uprising. It is assumed, that not unlike all the other schools in the country, schooling was suspended during the uprising.

In December 1905, the district governor of Karibib was informed that government intended to open a school in Karibib in the same building erected in 1904. However, as the building was not available, it a decsion was taken in 1906 to construct a new school building, scheduled for completion by end of the same year. Due to delays in construction, Deutsche Schule Karibib was officially opened on 1 April 1907. Education resumed the day after with government teacher Berger and 18 children between 10 and 14 years of age.

By 1910, the school had 36 children. In 1911 this had increased to 42, and by 1915 the school boasted 69 learners with two teachers, Mr Herlyn and his assistant Mrs Heuer.

In 1907, the school merged with the small family school for the Hälbich clan in Otjimbingwe. However after World War 1, the government of the day withdrew its funding, and the school was forced to continue as a private school.

At that stage the school had 4 classrooms. By 1967, it had grown to house 291 learners (120 girls and 171 boys) in 11 classrooms. At this point, a period of expansion began. A new school hall was erected which contained gymnastic apparatus and movie theatre equipment. The old school buildings were replaced with modern buildings that included a workshop for woodwork, a home economy room with sewing and cooking facilities, a music room, reception rooms and finally a language laboratory.

the school continued as a private school proper until 1982, when the school celebrated its 75th birthday. Unfortunately, the changing structure of Namibia's economy and competition from other German schools took its toll, and with just 4 pupils, the school closed down for good in 1986.

The alumni of Karibib Privatschule still continue to make their mark in the fabric of Namibian society and the spirit of the school lives on in Projekt Lilie, an organisation that strives to promote German education in Namibia, as well as recognise the efforts of those who form the character of the future: the teachers.

As for the school, today its buildings are leased to the Karibib Private School, an educational institution that, like its predecessor Karibib Privatschule, has earned a reputation for academic excellence and producing young people with the potential to become tomorrow's leaders.

Source: Henckert Online
For more on Karibib's history, click here >>
Read about the background to the new Karibib Private School, here >>