Katima Mulilo
Katima Mulilo is the capital of the Caprivi Strip
Caprivi Strip
Caprivi, sometimes called the Caprivi Strip , Caprivi Panhandle or the Okavango Strip and formally known as Itenge, is a narrow protrusion of Namibia eastwards about , between Botswana to the south, Angola and Zambia to the north, and Okavango Region to the west. Caprivi is bordered by the...

, Namibia's far north–east extension into central Southern Africa. It comprises two electoral constituencies
Constituencies of Namibia
Each of the 13 regions in Namibia are further subdivided into electoral constituencies. The number and size of each constituency varies with the size and population of each region. There are currently 107 constituencies in Namibia...

, Katima Mulilo Rural
Katima Mulilo Rural
Katima Mulilo Rural is a constituency in the Caprivi Region of Namibia. Its population is 22,197. It is mostly the area surrounding the city of Katima Mulilo, the capital of Caprivi.-Politics:...

 and Katima Mulilo Urban
Katima Mulilo Urban
Katima Mulilo Urban is a constituency in the Caprivi Region of Namibia, that also includes the capital city of Caprivi, Katima Mulilo. As of 2004, the Constituency had 10,778 registered voters.-Politics:...

. Katima Mulilo, which is sometimes shortened to just "Katima", had 22,134 inhabitants in 2001, a number that is estimated to have risen to 28,100 in 2010.
It is located on the national road B8
B8 road (Namibia)
The B8 road often known as the Golden Highway is one of the national highways of Namibia. It leads from the capital Windhoek to the Caprivi Strip, in the Otavi triangle....

 on the banks of the Zambezi River in lush riverine vegetation with tropical birds and monkeys. The town receives an annual average rainfall of 654 millimetres (25.7 in).

The nearest Namibian town from Katima Mulilo is Rundu
Rundu is the capital of the Kavango Region, northern Namibia, on the border with Angola on the banks of the Okavango River about 1000 m above sea level. The place normally receives an annual average rainfall of , although in the 2010/2011 rainy season were measured.Rundu grows rapidly...

, about 500 km away. About 40 km east of Katima Mulilo lies the settlement of Bukalo
Bukalo is a settlement area in Namibia in the Caprivi region. It is situated about 40 km east of Katima Mulilo. It is where the Masubia Khuta is based under the control of Chief Liswani III. Currently, the Khuta is without a Ngambela, after Chrispin Katukula was ousted from his seat. Bukalo is...

, where the road to Ngoma
Ngoma, Namibia
Ngoma is a settlement in the Caprivi Region of Namibia. It is one of the border posts between Namibia and Botswana, traffic crosses the border at Ngoma bridge over Chobe River....

 branches off that joins Namibia to Botswana
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana , is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966...



On 28 January 1935, the administrative centre of the Caprivi Strip was moved from Schuckmannsburg
Schuckmannsburg is an African village in the Caprivi Strip in northeastern Namibia with a population of about 800. It belongs to the Kabbe electoral constituency of the Caprivi Region...

 to Katima Mulilo. This date is assumed as the foundation date of Katima Mulilo. The regional office, the only brick–and–mortar building at Katima at this time when the area consisted exclusively of pristine forests, was built under a giant Baobab
Adansonia is a genus of eight species of tree, six native to Madagascar, one native to mainland Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and one to Australia. The mainland African species also occurs on Madagascar, but it is not a native of that island....

 situated near today's SWAPO Party regional offices. In present times the tree is known as the Toilet Tree because of a rest room carved into it.

Katima Mulilo was very sparsely populated at that time. It had a missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 school run by the Seventh–day Adventists
Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ...

, and the small settlements were connected only by sleigh tracks. Without any roads nor other infrastructure it was difficult to administer the Caprivi from here. The South African administration therefore decided to shift the regional office again, this time to Pretoria
Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.Pretoria is...

, in 1939. Due to the vicinity to important transport routes, particularly the railway bridge at Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls
The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya is a waterfall located in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe.-Introduction:...

, the location of Katima Mulilo became strategically important in the Second World War which broke out soon afterwards. All military supplies, people, and goods had to be flown in. The first car of the town came in 1940 and belonged to the air strip operator.

In 1940, William "Bill" Finaughty established the first shop in the Caprivi Strip in Katima Mulilo, the settlement that surrounded the shop was subsequently named for him. In the 1950s, transport on the Zambezi River was established and allowed connection to the train service at Livingstone
Livingstone, Zambia
Livingstone or Maramba is a historic colonial city and present capital of the Southern Province of Zambia, a tourism centre for the Victoria Falls lying north of the Zambezi River, and a border town with road and rail connections to Zimbabwe on the other side of the Falls...

. The M'pacha Airfied, today Katima Mulilo Airport
Katima Mulilo Airport
Katima Mulilo Airport , also known as Mpacha Airport, serves Katima Mulilo, the capital of the Caprivi Region in Namibia. The airport is situated on the B8 road, about southwest of the center of Katima Mulilo.-Facilities:...

, was constructed in 1965 at a cost of 65 million Rand
South African rand
The rand is the currency of South Africa. It takes its name from the Witwatersrand , the ridge upon which Johannesburg is built and where most of South Africa's gold deposits were found. The rand has the symbol "R" and is subdivided into 100 cents, symbol "c"...

, an astronomical amount at that time when 2 Rand roughly equalled 1 Pound sterling
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

. A police station was erected in 1961.

Katima Mulilo became a segregated
Racial segregation in the United States
Racial segregation in the United States, as a general term, included the racial segregation or hypersegregation of facilities, services, and opportunities such as housing, medical care, education, employment, and transportation along racial lines...

 town in 1965 when the erection of the Nghweeze township began. The South African administration was unhappy with the Mafulo informal settlement where members of the Caprivi African National Union (CANU) where staying and conducting political activism. As a response to this development, Nghweeze (which literally means "stab me") township was established to enable some degree of control over Blacks by only allowing local workers and their families to take up residence. At the same time the central parts of Katima were declared the Katima Mulilo Proper residential area and restricted to Whites. Contract workers from the company Lewis Construction from Salisbury (today's Harare
Harare before 1982 known as Salisbury) is the largest city and capital of Zimbabwe. It has an estimated population of 1,600,000, with 2,800,000 in its metropolitan area . Administratively, Harare is an independent city equivalent to a province. It is Zimbabwe's largest city and its...

 in South Rhodesia (today's Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

) that built Nghweeze camped in an area that for this heritage is named the Lewis informal settlement. The town had only 575 inhabitants at that time but grew to over 5,000 until 1978.

In 1971 the area around Katima got involved in the South African Border War
South African Border War
The South African Border War, commonly referred to as the Angolan Bush War in South Africa, was a conflict that took place from 1966 to 1989 in South-West Africa and Angola between South Africa and its allied forces on the one side and the Angolan government, South-West Africa People's...

. As in World War II, it was a strategically important location, this time due to troops transports into and out of Zambia and Angola.

The settlement also was at the centre of the Caprivi conflict in the 1990s, an armed conflict between the Caprivi Liberation Army
Caprivi Liberation Army
Caprivi Liberation Army is a Namibian rebel and separatist group which was established in 1994 to separate the Caprivi Strip, a region mainly inhabited by the Lozi people. It operates only in the Caprivi strip.-Background:...

 (CLA), a rebel
Rebellion, uprising or insurrection, is a refusal of obedience or order. It may, therefore, be seen as encompassing a range of behaviors aimed at destroying or replacing an established authority such as a government or a head of state...

 group working for the secession of the Caprivi Strip, and the Namibian government. In the early hours of 2 August 1999, CLA launched an attack occupying the state-run radio station and attacking a police station, the Wanella border post, and an army base. A state of emergency
State of emergency
A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend some normal functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, alert citizens to change their normal behaviours, or order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. It can also be used as a rationale...

 was declared in the province, and the government arrested alleged CLA supporters.


The oldest suburbs are Nghweeze, the former Blacks' township, and Katima Mulilo Proper, the area restricted to Whites during the apartheid era. Further parts of town are named Butterfly, Cowboy, Chotto, Mahohoma, Nambweza, Soweto (SOuth–WEstern TOwnships, a reminiscence of the famous suburb
Soweto is a lower-class-populated urban area of the city of Johannesburg in Gauteng, South Africa, bordering the city's mining belt in the south. Its name is an English syllabic abbreviation for South Western Townships...

 of Johannesburg
Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa...

), New Look, Mabuluma, Lyambai, Bebi, Greenwell Matongo, and NHE (from National Housing Enterprises, a governmental low-cost housing company that drew development here).


Katima Mulilo is inhabited by members of the Masubia and Mafwe tribes. The town's coat of arms, still very similar of that used by the Caprivi government, depicts these tribes as two elephants facing each other, symbolising unity and peaceful coexistence of the two tribal chief
Tribal chief
A tribal chief is the leader of a tribal society or chiefdom. Tribal societies with social stratification under a single leader emerged in the Neolithic period out of earlier tribal structures with little stratification, and they remained prevalent throughout the Iron Age.In the case of ...


Economy and development

Established and run as a garrison
Garrison is the collective term for a body of troops stationed in a particular location, originally to guard it, but now often simply using it as a home base....

 for a long time, Katima Mulilo still shows signs of its military role today. In the city centre was the South African Defence Force
South African Defence Force
The South African Defence Force was the South African armed forces from 1957 until 1994. The former Union Defence Force was renamed to the South African Defence Force in the Defence Act of 1957...

 military base, almost every house had a bomb shelter. The town benefited from the military presence in terms of infrastructure and employment, and there are still a number of military bases surrounding the town.

Since the opening of the Katima Mulilo Bridge
Katima Mulilo Bridge
The Katima Mulilo Bridge carries the TransCaprivi Highway over the Zambezi River between Katima Mulilo, Namibia and Sesheke, Zambia. It is a road bridge, completed in 2004, 900 metres long and with 19 spans...

 in 2004 that spans the Zambezi River and connects the Zambian Copperbelt with the Namibian deep sea harbour at Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay , is a city in Namibia and the name of the bay on which it lies...

, Katima Mulilo has become a boom town that attracts significant investment. This development has, however, also fanned illegal business activities, and driven the establishment of shanty towns
The word township is used to refer to different kinds of settlements in different countries. Township is generally associated with an urban area. However there are many exceptions to this rule. In Australia, the United States, and Canada, they may be settlements too small to be considered urban...

 to an extent that endangers social stability.

The town features an Export Processing Zone
Free trade zone
A free trade zone or export processing zone , also called foreign-trade zone, formerly free port is an area within which goods may be landed, handled, manufactured or reconfigured, and reexported without the intervention of the customs authorities...

 and the largest open market in Namibia. There is an important international electricity inter–link facility, the Caprivi Link Inter–Connector; its inauguration has improved the power supply to the town. The Zambezi Waterfront Tourism project is under construction. The Caprivi Vision
The Caprivi Vision
The Caprivi Vision is bi- monthly published community newspaper in Namibia with content in English and siLozi. It is sold in the Caprivi Strip, Northern Regions of Namibia,in the capital Windhoek and other countries of the Southern Africa such as Botswana and Zambia...

, a newspaper from and for the Caprivi, is published in town.

Since being proclaimed a town on 2 October 1999, development has been steady but Katima Mulilo does not yet compare to more established towns and cities in Namibia. Few streets are tarred, and there is a lack of street lights and sewerage. The town does not have a single traffic light. Many residents use the bushes for lack of toilet facilities, and there have been many outbreaks of diseases such as diarrhea
Diarrhea , also spelled diarrhoea, is the condition of having three or more loose or liquid bowel movements per day. It is a common cause of death in developing countries and the second most common cause of infant deaths worldwide. The loss of fluids through diarrhea can cause dehydration and...


The town has been affected by corruption, financial mismanagement, and infighting between councillors ever since SWAPO took the majority in the town council in 1998. Water supply has been unstable due to money owed to the national water supplier, NamWater
The Namibia Water Corporation or NamWater is a parastatal in Namibia. It is wholly owned by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of Namibia. The company employees over 600 workers across the country....



Katima Mulilo is the terminal town of the Trans–Caprivi Highway, and the highway together with its extension to Zambia (and further throughout the entire continent to Tripoli
Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli , to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon. It is affectionately called The Mermaid of the Mediterranean , describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three...

 on the Tripoli – Cape Town Highway) is called the Trans-Caprivi Corridor. The Trans–Caprivi Highway was opened in 1999, and the bridge to Sesheke, and with it the entire Trans-Caprivi Corridor, in 2004.

Katima Mulilo is not yet connected to the Namibian railway network
TransNamib is the railway parastatal of Namibia. Organised as a holding company, it provides freight by rail and road as well as passenger services. Its administration is located in Windhoek.-History:...

. In October 2007, a proposal was announced for a railway connection between Namibia and Zambia which would pass through the town. The line would join Grootfontein
Grootfontein is a city of 14,200 inhabitants in the Otjozondjupa Region of central Namibia. It is one of the three towns in the Otavi Triangle, situated on the B8 national road that leads from Windhoek to the Caprivi Strip...

 to Katima Mulilo then 130 km to Mulobezi
Mulobezi is a small town in the Southern Province of Zambia, and the centre of its timber industry. Timber extends into Southern Province with which the town is economically linked....

 with an 80 km upgrade of the line to Livingstone.

The town is served by Katima Mulilo Airport, situated about 18 km to the southwest which is serviced by regular flights from the capital Windhoek
Windhoek is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Namibia. It is located in central Namibia in the Khomas Highland plateau area, at around above sea level. The 2001 census determined Windhoek's population was 233,529...


Culture and education

Before Katima Mulilo was officially founded missionaries already ran schools in the area. The Seventh–day Adventists operated one, as did the Capuchin Order
Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is an Order of friars in the Catholic Church, among the chief offshoots of the Franciscans. The worldwide head of the Order, called the Minister General, is currently Father Mauro Jöhri.-Origins :...

. Today there are a number of schools in Katima Mulilo such as Katima High School, Caprivi Secondary School, Kizito Secondary School, Ngweze Secondary School, Mavuluma Secondary School and many primary and junior secondary schools.

Katima Mulilo has two institutes of tertiary education, the Zambezi Vocational Center and a campus of the University of Namibia
University of Namibia
The University of Namibia is the national university of Namibia, located in the Pioneers Park district of Windhoek. Established by an act of National Assembly on 31 August 1992, UNAM includes Colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Economics & Management Science Education, Humanities and...

 (UNAM) for teacher training, formerly the Caprivi College of Education (CCE). At the time of the merger with UNAM, CCE had 400 enrolled students and 70 staff.

The town houses the community-based Caprivi Art Centre and holds an annual Caprivi Cultural Festival.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.