18 January 2013

Namibia: Museum Opens At Cape Cross

NEARLY 550 years after Portuguese seafarer Diogo Cão planted a stone cross, or Padrão, at Cape Cross on the Namibian coast in 1486, a museum recording the history of Cão's sea voyages was opened at the Cape Cross Lodge on Saturday.

The Portuguese charge d'Affaires in Namibia, Helena Paiva, officially opened the museum.

The museum allows visitors to appreciate the efforts of the Damaraland Guano Company that established the first railway line in Namibia in 1895 to transport guano deposits. There are also relics such as old crockery and workmen's tools, and the 'glass torpedo bottle' that was used to transport carbonated drinking water from England to Cape Cross via ship.

"This museum records the life of early pioneers who withstood the harsh living conditions at Cape Cross and it pays tribute to all the present-day people who have contributed to preserving the history of Cape Cross and its early settlers for generations to follow," said the museum's co-creator, Nadine Downing.

Paiva said there is a sizeable Portuguese community in Namibia who are proud of their ancestral relationship with the country.

She said the original stone cross is currently in Berlin, Germany, and added that there are hopes to return it to Namibia.

Former Namibian fisheries director Burger Oelofsen, who is a partner in Cape Cross Lodge, described the museum as a "work of passion" by its creators, Nadine Downing and her mother, Connie.

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