OSHI-DEUTSCH: The GDR Children of Namibia

A Namibian-German theatre project – supported by the TURN Fund

"Oshi-Deutsch", Copyright: Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS), Windhoek, Namibia, 1997

The theatre production “Oshi-Deutsch” told the story of the so-called “GDR children” of Namibia. In 1978, the South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO) were fighting for independence from what was at that time South West Africa and its Apartheid regime, when government forces bombarded a refugee camp in Kasinga where many Namibian Oshivambos had sought safe haven. The socialist SWAPO immediately airlifted some 400 Namibian children from the camp and sent them to former East Germany (GDR). There the traumatised children grew up in homes, completely cut off from the outside world. Although they were taught a handful of Namibian songs, dances and recipes, they primarily received an education in German-style socialist ideology in order to prepare them for leadership positions in Namibia in the future. Several months following the fall of the Berlin Wall, Namibia finally gained its independence and SWAPO assumed control of the government. This historic coincidence allowed the German government to quickly decide the fate of the GDR children; in 1990 they were uprooted again from their familiar surroundings and sent back to Namibia.

Based on interviews with former GDR children in Namibia and former counsellors and educators in Germany, the directors and actors of the College of the Arts in Namibia and the Theater Osnabrück have jointly developed an Oshivambo, German and English theatre production which examined the complex concepts of home and identity.

Artistic directors: Dr. Ralf Waldschmidt, Theater Osnabrück (Germany), Mrs. Angelika Schoeder, College of the Arts (Namibia); Project management: Anja Deu, Theater Osnabrück (Germany), Sandy Rudd, College of the Art (Namibia); Project organisation support: Raphaela Weeke, Theater Osnabrück (Germany)
Directors: Gernot Grünewald (Germany), Sandy Rudd, Collage of the Art, (Namibia);
Dramaturgy: Marie Senf, Theater Osnabrück (Germany), Ndinomholo Ndilula (Namibia); Set design: Michael Köpke (Germany), Costume design: Cynthia Schimming (Namibia); Composer: Richardo Gaalelekwe Mosimane aka Elemotho (Namibia)

Actors: Three actors from the ensemble of the Theater Osnabrück (Germany), Ndinomholo Ndilula (Namibia), Helouis Goraseb (Namibia); Dancer: Beatrix Munyama (Namibia); Musicians: Richardo Gaalelekwe Mosimane, Samuel Batola (Congo)

Former "GDR child", interview coordinator in Namibia and performer: Naita Hishoono, (Namibia), journalist for the Namibia Institute for Democracy

Scheduled dates

Courtyard Theater (COTA): 3 Sep. 2016 – 4 Sep. 2016
Windhoek, Namibia

KCKA (Boiler Haus): 5 Sep. 2016 – 6 Sep. 2016
Windhoek-Katatura, Namibia

Oshakati: 10 Sep. 2016 – 11 Sep. 2016

TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries

In 2012, the Federal Cultural Foundation established the TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries in order to encourage a wide range of German institutions to shift their focus on the artistic production and cultural debates in African countries.

More about the TURN Fund (opens in a new window)


Theater Osnabrück

Domhof 10/11

49074 Osnabrück

www.theater-osnabrueck.de (external link, opens in a new window)