Germany to Return 15th Century Navigation Landmark to Namibia

In a response that might lead to further artefacts being returned to Africa, a German museum has said it would return to Namibia a 15th-century navigation landmark that Portuguese explorers erected on the coast.
The navigation landmark is the padrao or stone cross erected at what soon became known as Cape Cross, north of Walvis Bay, by the Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão in 1486.

Cão had sailed the African coast seeking a way into the Indian Ocean and reached as far south as 22°10 S before turning back.

Before doing so he left his final “marker” on a small headland that as early as 1500 was being shown on maps as “Cape Cross”.

The next explorer to pass that way was Bartolomeu Dias who succeeded in becoming the first European to round the southernmost tip of Africa when he sailed into the Indian Ocean in 1488.

Dias went only as far as a little north of Algoa Bay before turning back, leaving the glory of opening a trade route to India to Vasco da Gama whose sailing along the east coast on Christmas Day, 1497 left us with the name of “Natal”.

The stone cross at Cape Cross remained a useful marker to all navigators. Carved from sandstone and weighing more than a tonne most were able to withstand the ravages of time, but not always of man. Some are thought to have been destroyed by the inhabitants of the land on which they were planted by a European race claiming the land. Others, like that at Cape Cross, were later removed elsewhere.

The padrao at Cape Cross was one that remained in situ until the 1890s when the occupying Germans removed it to Germany. In 2006, the cross went on display at the the German Historical Museum in Berlin.

In 2017, Namibian authorities began requesting its return, which has been acceded and which might prove to be the start of a return to Namibia of other artefacts and even human remains.

Namibian ambassador to Germany, Andreas Guibeb, described the return of the cross as “important as a step for us to reconcile with our colonial past and the trail of humiliation and systematic injustice that it left behind”.

German culture minister Monika Gruetters said the restitution of the stone cross of Cape Cross was a clear signal that Germany was committed to coming to terms with its colonial past.

“For too many decades, the colonial time has been a blind spot in our remembrance culture,” she said.

The museum pointed out that while it has agreed to return the 533-year-old cross, despite it not being of African origin, it acknowledged the outstanding significance an artefact like this padrao had on the people of Namibia and the special contribution it could make on site in the future of understanding Namibia’s history.

The cross, it said, highlighted how “descendants from Europe and Africa can engage in dialogue that does historical justice” to it.

The Cape Cross padrao is 3.5m high and weighs 1.1 tonnes and, as with the others, was intended to be seen from out at sea.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2], [3]. Image sources: [1], [2].

New Research Study Looks to Empower Namibian Communities to Champion Environmental Conservation

Namibian Environmental Awareness Training (NEAT) has just launched a three-month research project in the Kunene region in northwest Namibia to understand the relationship and interactions between rural communities and the regions’ iconic nature and wildlife. This study will allow NEAT to develop tailored environmental education programmes for schools and communities, to empower them to actively engage in and benefit from nature conservation.

The Kunene region is one of Namibia’s last wildernesses and home to rare desert-adapted elephants, rhinos and lions, as well as numerous other endangered species. Himba, Herero, Damara, San people and many other indigenous communities also live in the region, often in remote villages and in direct contact with nature and wild animals.

Rural livelihoods often depend on natural resources and are affected by human-wildlife conflict or environmental disasters such as droughts. Wildlife populations are also under pressure, facing threats from habitat loss and illegal poaching. NEAT’s research and education programme will address these issues together, recognising that human prosperity and biodiversity conservation are inextricably linked.

NEAT started the research study on Sunday, 3rd March 2019. Over the coming three months, a team of four conservationists and educators will visit eight different communities from across the entire Kunene region and interview adults, children and school teachers. Two experienced UK-based scientists will assist with data analysis. The results will be shared with Namibian school directors and the Minister of Education, who have already expressed their interest in this study.

The project is led by NEAT founder Steven Maseka, an award-winning Namibian environmentalist who previously worked in Namibia’s world-renowned Community Based Natural Resources Management programme and featured in the 2018 BBC documentary Pangolins – The World’s Most Wanted Animal.

The first phase of the project is supported by crowdfunding, and you can help immensely by donating here.


For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], Richard van Wijngaarden [2].

Relocation Africa – a Brief History

A Brief History

As the New South Africa was being born and South Africa was on the world stage, Relocation Africa started in 1993 in Johannesburg, South Africa, providing homefinding services to expatriates moving into Johannesburg. In 1997 the Cape Town branch was opened and Immigration services were included into the offering to support the client’s needs and in 1999 the international payment service was incorporated to support international clients needs to transact expatriate’s payments in South Africa.

In 2000 the Relocation Africa head-office was consolidated to Cape Town and an internal web-based system was developed to support the needs of the business and facilitate the centralised head office business model. The business decided to register a sister company called Global Expatriate Management (GEM) to take over the payments services as well as starting a payroll solution for clients who had regional offices across Africa but with a centralised payroll head office in South Africa.

In 2002 we made the strategic decision to expand relocation services into Africa. The network of consultants being recruited across Africa were able to provide housing data so in 2004 GEM formalised this housing data into a formal housing survey. We now run these biannual surveys across most countries in Africa. In 2005 GEM expanded to collect cost of living data with a network of field workers across Africa.

In 2006, due to client demand, we started expanding immigration services into other African countries. Our next key step was formalising a training department within the business in 2008 – prior to that, it had been the responsibility of the account managers to recruit and train consultants. The business has grown organically over the interleading years due to some key staff who always worked above and beyond what was asked of them.

In 2013 Relocation Africa rebranded into the Relocation Africa Group incorporating GEM’s services to formalise the service offering to clients with our four divisions, being Mobility, Immigration, Research and Remuneration.

Each division has a colour, icon and animal assigned with it and we use this branding to differentiate our services.

Immigration Services

Immigration Services


Immigration Services

Destination Services

Destination Services

Destination Services

Destination Services





Payroll & Payments

Payroll & Payments

Payroll & Payments

Payroll & Payments

Africa is an exciting space to be working and we strive to deliver a consistent quality of service to all clients no matter where the services are delivered in Africa.

Being a cog in the machinery facilitating the development of skills across Africa is what drives the management of Relocation Africa to help upskill Africa.

GOLDweblogo_curveIn 2016 we discovered an inspiring organisation called Generation of Leaders Discovered or GOLD for short ( The are based in Cape Town near our head office, and they have an inspiring model which gives hope and skills to Africa’s disenfranchised youth. They identify young opinion leaders in communities and invite them to go through their program, they give them hope, give them skills and enable them to become peer educators and role models within their peer groups. The results of their programs is astonishing. Please email us if you would like to know more about GOLD and what they do.

We are currently developing an internship program with GOLD and we are building a relationship with them as what they do fits in with our philosophy of helping to develop skills across Africa.

Our Promise

Embracing the Unknown

Our Vision

Our vision is to be the preferred supplier in Africa of trusted seamless relocation services to our clients to ensure their assignees become effective employees quickly.

Our Mission

Our mission is to remain a reliable and consistent quality managed provider of a comprehensive range of services to companies moving assignees into Africa, by removing the fear of the unknown continent.

Namibia’s president has made his ministers’ performance agreements public If you haven’t already fallen in love with Nam’s no-nonsense ‘new’ president, here’s one more reason you should… he’s making all his ministers’ performance expectations public for all Namibians to see. By Gerhard Jacobs – January 25, 2016

As part of president Geingob’s relentless efforts to root out corruption and create a culture of transparent governance in Namibia; his prime minister recently announced that anyone will be able to have a look at all cabinet minsters’ performance agreements at his office.

Last year we reported that in his first few weeks of being president, Geingob told his parliament that it certainly won’t be business as usual and that anyone who wanted to serve in his government would have to choose between serving the people and serving themselves.  Geingob warned his government that no-one will be allowed to have any businesses on the side and that he’d come down on corrupt officials like a tonne of bricks.

Now it looks like he really is taking them to task. Every one of Geingob’s ministers have committed themselves to performance based outcomes that the Namibian public can now hold them to; these include:

  • Eradication of poverty
  • Industrialisation
  • Reduction of income disparities and
  • Employment creation

Permanent secretaries are expected to submit quarterly reports on the progress of their respective ministry and the relevant ministers will then send their progress reports to Geingob a month before the year ends.

Geingob will then hold an evaluation session with each minister after two months.

According to The Namibian, some of the agreements are a bit vague, but most of themclearly set out what is expected of the ministers:

  • Minister of environmental affairs Pohamba Shifeta is committed to training 20 people each year in a selected field in tourism and to create 199 jobs in his attempt to eradicate poverty.
  • Finance minister Calle Schlettwein must  improve foreign reserves with an annual target of three months’ import cover.
  • Land reform minister Utoni Nuyoma expects to have acquired 188 000 hectares of land for resettlement in his bid for distribution of land.
  • Gender minister Doreen Sioka will have around 37 000 children enrolled at early childhood development centres in an attempt to improve opportunities for better living standards of children.

These agreements were signed off by Geingob with Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa as witness, last year October.

Imagine if we could  do this here in South Africa… just imagine.

Image Credits:Getty

Image Credits:Getty