In 1871 the Finnish Mission Society established a mission station at Olukonda, situated today about 10 km south of Ondangwa. Missionary Martti Rautanen was at work there from 1880 until his death in 1926. The local people called him Nakambale, ‘the man with the hat’. Amongst others, Rautanen translated the bible into the Ndonga language and in 1889 built the first church in the area. His house, built in 1893, and the church were renovated in the early nineties with financial aid from the Finnish government. Both buildings have been declared national monuments.
In 1995 the Nakambale Museum was opened in the old missionary house, named ‘Nakambale’ in honour of Rautanen. In his study a wooden stand with scraps of paper will catch your eye. They have Oshindonga words written on them to help the missionary with his vocabularies. An insight into the daily life of those times is gained by photos of the Rautanen family and other missionaries, as well as numerous items from the early years of missionary work. The culture and tradition of the Owambo is also covered, of course. Exhibits include ornaments, pottery, tools and weapons. Furthermore there are attractive boards which, for example, explain the royal houses of this people and their history.
Take the time to look at the traditional Ndonga homestead which has been built next to the missionary house to afford glimpses of an otherwise secluded world. On a tour of the homestead the functions of the different huts as well as the Owambo culture and way of life are explained. A small shop offers craft items from the area.