Carnival In Namibia: Wika In Windhoek Celebrates Its 70th Anniversary

9 Apr 2024

Great hustle and bustle along Independence Avenue on Saturday morning. The roar of motorbikes and marching music, horn concerts and party hits, convoys of vehicles and cheering crowds. The Windhoek Carnival WiKa held its traditional colourful parade through the city centre of the Namibian capital.

It had already started on Thursday. This year's prince and princess were introduced at the Prinzenball: Prince Norbert I ("the passionate carnival worm") and Princess Svenja I ("of foolish much ... with drama").

Both are no strangers to German-speaking Namibians. Norbert Wurm (in English: worm) is Managing Director of the hotel and lodge group O&L Leisure. The trained actress Svenja Hecht works as a presenter for the German-language private radio station Hitradio Namibia.

The colourful parade on Saturday is one of the highlights of the WiKa. It begins at the city council with the symbolic handover of the keys to the city to the princely couple. Departing from there at 11.11 am, a colourful convoy of vehicles leads the princely couple through the city centre to the train station.

Roaring motorbikes form the front. Then come the police band and the Prince's Guard, followed by a long convoy of more or less decorated vehicles, from which sweets are repeatedly thrown into the cheering crowd at the side of the road. Meanwhile, Independence Avenue and Bahnhof Street are closed to traffic.

Colourful parade on Independence Avenue: After the symbolic handover of the keys to the city by the mayor, the Windhoek Carnival (WiKa) prince and princess drive through the city centre on their carnival float on Saturday morning.
Photo: Sven-Eric Stender


This year marks the 70th edition of the WiKa. Its motto is "Applause applause, full throttle ahead!". With a series of different events, it runs until coming Sunday. This will be followed by a ladies' and men's evening with a masked ball, two "International Evenings", a youth carnival and a "Kehraus".

Carnival in Namibia has no religious background

The Windhoek Carnival is mainly organised and supported by Namibians of German descent. However, many representatives of other ethnic groups also attend the events. This is especially true for the international carnival evenings.

Since the WiKa was founded in 1952, there has been a strong connection to carnival in Germany. Bands from Germany – such as the Happy Sound Orchestra from Eschweiler or the German schlager star Peter Wackel – come every year. For the special 70th WiKa anniversary, which was delayed by Corona for two years, even the Cologne cult band "De Höhner" ("The Chickens") travelled to the event.

The musicians' flights were donated by the German holiday airline Discover Airlines, for which Namibia is one of the most successful destinations in its portfolio with ten flights a week. Other major sponsors are the Namibian Ohlthaver & List group of companies, which also reports in detail about the WiKa on its website, and Commercial Investment Corporation (CIC) with 'its' Jägermeister brand.

Unlike in Germany, however, carnival does not take place at the beginning of Lent in February, but always much later. To top it all off, the 'fifth season' lasts up to five months in Namibia. The WiKa in Windhoek is followed by the Coastal Carnival (KüsKa) in Swakopmund and the OtjiKa in Otjiwarongo, both in June, and finally the LüKa in Lüderitz in August or September.

The reason for this: In Namibia, carnival does not have its roots in religion. The WiKa was founded in 1952 by the Sportklub Windhoek (SKW) in order to raise funds for the club with this merry big event. A video produced by the tourism company Gondwana Collection Namibia to mark the Windhoeker Karneval's 'foolish' 66th anniversary provides an exciting insight into the WiKa.

Sven-Eric Stender

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