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St Barbara Roman Catholic Churh

Tsumeb | Namibia

The first church in Tsumeb, a mining town, was called St. Barbara, after the patron saint of miners. It was built in 1913 and consecrated a year later. It is the oldest building in Tsumeb as well as being a prominent landmark in the historical part of the town.

In 1906 the Roman Catholic Church in Windhoek approached the Otavi Mining and Railway Company for assistance to establish a Roman Catholic mission in Tsumeb. The application was approved and a site to build the church was allocated. Construction by the Roman Catholic Brothers commenced in May 1913, supervised by Brother Ucken and by the end of the year, the first church ever built in Tsumeb, and for 13 years the only church in the village, was completed.

It was in 1914 that Father Schulte began his missionary work from St Barbara's. A small house was erected at the back of the church that served as school for Namibian children. Later, the complex grew with arrival of Roman Catholic Sisters. A small mission school and kindergarten were added, then a hostel, visitors accommodation and a house for the Sisters themselves.

The Roman Catholic Church Building is a very well-maintained building and is situated on the main road in Tsumeb. It's picturesque setting and simplistic design make it a photographic favourite, especially amongst visitors to 'the place of frogs'.

It was proclaimed a national monument on 15th February 1990.

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