The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is one that continues to be confirmed through every frame that conveys its entire essence with one look and, the Windhoek – Essen city perception project is nothing short of this adage.
This ingenuity started as a mere group assignment among a cohort of exchange students from the Universities of Duisburg-Essen and Namibia but now warms the book shelves across Germany, showcasing the unique features of both the cities in Namibia and Germany.
This photo collection underlines the contrast between the two cities particularly looking at common yet distinct components that portray the cultural set up therein.
Associate professor in the German head section, Prof Julia Augart states that “the idea of the project is that every city is different, yet share similar features or a set up corresponding to their culture systems. With the project, students were supposed to observe with curiosity each other’s cities under specific themes” she explained.
This curiosity led students on a spectacular adventure to find out what connects these cities despite their unresolved history. The result of this quest is documented in an illustrative book that transfers a palpable sensation through the heart of Windhoek and urban landscape of Essen across the motifs of space and water.
Emerth Nangombe, education graduate, states that “the book aims to create awareness of different perceptions of one and the same city. The photo series showcases crossroads, schools, landscapes, signs, cemeteries and picnic areas accompanied with creative and diverse captions including concrete poetry and reflective descriptions” she said.
The first half of the book focuses on the city of Namibia specifically looking at the central intersection in the heart of Windhoek, whilst the second section looked at the water city in the Ruhr district.
Prof Augart expressed pride in what the students have accomplished while remarking that the book is a new perspective for inhabitants and tourist.
“The illustrated book shows alternative and unknown perspectives of the two cities for tourists, but also inhabitants of Windhoek and Essen, we are very happy and proud that the students could capture and convey the contrast and similarities between these cities, said Prof Augart.
Nangombe expressed gratitude for the opportunity to participate in such a staggering project.
“My experience was wonderful and filled with so much learning, I learned and discovered spots in Windhoek that I wouldn’t have discovered without partaking in this project. It also gave me the opportunity to practice my German which helped to better my language skills” said Nangombe.
The city perception in text and pictures binational project was funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and focused on a new didactic approach to teaching as part of a partnership between the German departments of the Universities of Namibia and Duisburg-Essen.
The city perception in text and pictures will soon be available in Namibia.
Original story submitted by: Margareth-Rose Kangootui