Spring 2000 • For centuries this part of Africa has been home to Himba, Herero, San, and Owambo, as well as to some of the planet's most stunning dunes. Germans arrived in the 19th century and made quick work of exploiting the natural resources, mainly diamonds. After the Germans departed, so-called South-West Africa was administered by the apartheid regime in South Africa. Blacks eventually rebelled, and their leader became the first president of the newly independent Namibia in 1990. Nine years later, I saw a photo of the Namib Desert in the travel section at Stacey's (R.I.P.) and couldn't get it out of my head, so I went there for my birthday. Met Sakkie while I was stuck in Luderitz, a town on the South Atlantic coast that looks like a fever dream of stark desert dunes, German colonial architecture, and Herero women wearing enormous hoop skirts topped off with head scarves shaped like bull's horns. Sakkie and his wife Anri let me use their home in Windhoek as a base camp for over a month, and for as long as I live, I'll never forget their generosity and friendship.
Restricted Diamond Area, Sperrgebiet
Anri & Sakkie, Windhoek
Catfish hunter, Owamboland
Gert & Mario, Oshakati