Martin Luther Museum to open again soon

The iconic Martin Luther Museum on the eastern outskirts of Swakopmund might open its doors again soon – after being closed for two years. Town Council has approved an application by two private individuals who wish to revive the popular landmark museum.
According to the Agenda the two private persons Esterina Carstens and Odette Labuschagne were invited to make a proposal to lease the historical site to the Management Committee in October 2016. “Various questions were raised and answered to the satisfaction of the MC,” it states in the document.
In their written proposal Carstens and Labuschagne state that the Martin Luther Historical Site is the “ideal place to display and sell all forms of handwork of the community and Namibia.” It is their intention to buy products and transform these into unique products not seen before. Recycle material will also be used and they wish to promote the different cultures of Namibia.
“In addition, the ladies plan to establish an Information Centre regarding the history of the historical locomotive and the region itself. Other plans include the hosting of a Martin Luther Festival in future to promote Swakopmund to sell strictly Namibian homemade products,” it states. The Namibian products they wish to showcase, include arts and crafts such as clothes, paintings, woodworks, metalwork, needlework, carvings, baskets, jewellery, mobiles and municipal plants.
During the recent meeting Council approved that Carstens and Labuschagne can lease the site, measuring about 2000 square metres for a period of five years with an option to renew. The monthly rental tariff is N$1 035.00 (incl. VAT).
The historic steam engine, which was bought in Germany, ground to a halt about four kilometres outside Swakopmund in the beginning of 1897 and was abandoned there. A local resident Max Rhode is said to have said at a gathering: “Did you know that the steam ox is called ‘Martin Luther’ now because it can also say – ‘Here I stand, I can do no other’.” Since then the steam locomotive was dubbed “Martin Luther”.
In the meantime a portion of land located next to the site has been allocated to the Ovahimba Cultural Group to build a cultural village and showcase their culture. The group is struggling with finances though to get the new venture up and running. The land earmarked for the cultural group measures 900 square metres and has a monthly rent of N$465.75 attached to it.

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