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Windhoek, the capital of the Republic of Namibia and the nation’s largest city, is perhaps an unexpected destination to find a beerfest-inspired celebration, but that is exactly what the Wika Carnival is. This event has been taking place in the cultural, social and economic centre of the country since the 1950s.
One of the biggest and most popular events in Windhoek’s annual event calendar, the Namibian/German Wika Carnival traditionally takes place over two weeks during March and April. It features theatrical performances and cabaret evenings which are performed to packed audiences in a hall called the Narrhalla, an all-night masked ball, and the crowning of a prince and princess who then go on to lead a street parade down Independence Avenue. The celebrations are then finalised with the Kehraus, or last dance, and the Ox Braal, a wild street party.
Originally organised by a small group of German immigrants taking inspiration from Rhine Valley based events in their home country, the beer-fuelled party atmosphere has attracted thousands of tourists over the years.
Since Namibia gained independence from South Africa in 1990, the organisers of the Wika Carnival have continually strived to transform the annual celebrations into a multi-cultural event, welcoming official delegations from carnival societies from all over the world.
Events are organized in German and English as well as several African languages, and appeal to both adults and children. This flamboyant and colourful carnival has become a huge tourist draw for this destination.
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