Namibia: Swakopmund Is 'Town of the Year'

Swakopmund on Sunday became Namibia's second KykNET Kwela town of the year recipient.

KykNET is the Afrikaans channel on DsTV, and Kwela is a programme which specifically focuses on news and entertainment in that language.

The annual Kwela town of the year competition has gained popularity over the past 10 years, with Namibia being included alongside nine South African provinces to enter their favourite towns. There are 30 towns in the annual competition. Henties Bay won the title in 2016, and although Swakopmund has been in the finals twice, the town just could not be crowned.

That was until Sunday night when KykNET announced that Swakopmund had won - impressively. For the first time since the launch of the competition, this year's winning town received double the number of votes than the runner-up, which is Dullstroom from the Mpumalanga province. Stilbaai from the Western Cape took third place.

Marketing manager of Destination Swakopmund, Oliver Ahrens, who spearheaded the campaign to promote Swakopmund, told The Namibian yesterday that "hard work got the job done this time".

Members from various sectors, especially from the tourism sector, began an aggressive social media campaign that "went viral" and encouraged voters to send as many SMSes as possible to promote Swakopmund. This propelled the popular holiday destination to the top prize.

"People from all over Namibia participated, as well as many from South Africa, who know and love Swakopmund. It was a team effort, and we can all be proud of the achievement. Swakopmund deserves the award, and we all will take full advantage of the spotlight," beamed Ahrens.

The prize is worth N$1 million marketing airtime on KykNET, which includes about 30-seconds advertising of the town on the channel every day.

A big public party slated for December in which all Swakopmunders can participate is also part of the winning package. Road signs announcing Swakopmund as the 'town of the year' are also expected to be erected at the town's entrances. Swakopmund CEO Archie Benjamin said the exposure was not just good for the town's already flourishing tourism, but also for investment opportunities.

"This is exciting for all of us, and obviously shows that Swakop is the place to be; not just for holiday, but also for business," he told The Namibian.

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