Who are we?

The Windhoek Industrial and Agricultural Show (WIAS, short: the Windhoek Show) is an annual trade fair in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. It’s a special event covering many facets, which brings together people from all walks of life – transacting, negotiating, networking, promoting, learning, socializing and having fun. Held during the first week of October, the Windhoek Show is the biggest industrial and agricultural exhibition in Namibia.

WIAS has a special significance and meaning for most Namibians and can easily be described as a micro showcase of Namibia. It attracts close to 100,000 visitors per year and has become more than a show – it is a reflection of Namibia’s cultural and economic diversity.

WIAS combines an agricultural exhibition, several industrial and retail offerings, and a range of entertainment facilities. Participants from the Government, ranging from the offices of the President and the Prime Minister to Ministries and mainline Parastatals amidst formal (large and small) and informal private sector businesses – all constitute and contribute to making this event the largest of its kind in Namibia.

History

The first Windhoek Show was held in 1899 when the country, then known as German South-West Africa, was still a colony of Imperial Germany. At that time it was exclusively an agricultural exhibition. Subsequent fairs were held in 1902, 1910, 1913,1914 and 1930. In 1934 the Windhoek Show Grounds were laid out, an area between Windhoek’s central business district and the Suiderhof suburb, next to today’s Maerua Mall.

These show grounds were designed primarily to house the Windhoek Industrial and Agricultural Show but the next fair was only held in 1954. The organization expanded with the inclusion of an industrial sector, initially consisting predominantly of businesses supplying the agricultural sector but systematically grew to incorporate the entire industrial sector. 1954 is considered the base year of the present show grounds. In 1966 approximately 27,000 visitors attended the show. It was held since then annually. Further expansion attempts through splitting several smaller thematic shows from the main event did not become economically viable and were soon discontinued.

After independence in 1990, the Windhoek Show Society, a non-profit (art 21) organization transformed its governance structure from a Board of Trustees to a Board of Directors, comprising maximally 10 members including the President and Vice-President, which are elected at the Annual General Meeting. Between 1993 and 1997, the Windhoek Show Society (WSS) organized and hosted several smaller shows during the year, apart from the annual Windhoek Industrial and Agricultural Show (WIAS). These included the Namibia International Trade Fair, the Office and Home, the Feather and Fur Show, the Mineral EXPO, the Motor Show.

These smaller shows proved not to be viable and could not be sustained in the long run. As in earlier times, the WIAS successfully embraced the changing economic, social and financial challenges by transforming and aligning itself to the changing needs of its stakeholders. The 2009 ICT EXPO, destined to become an annual event, is the newest initiative in repositioning the WIAS in the ever-changing environment. In addition, the Windhoek Show Society embarked on a strategy of optimal land utilization by systematically leasing out to developers portions of its land not used for core show business on a 50-year lease period. The generated long-term lease revenue supplements the revenues from its show business as well as the renting out of halls (on a short term basis).

Throughout its existence, the agricultural sector of the Windhoek Show – focusing predominantly on the stud breeders of large and small stock animals – has been the premier event of the Namibian breeders’ associations. National and World Championship    s of respective breeds are held on a regular basis during the annual Windhoek Show. Over the past few years, the event has been marked by a growing trend in participating breeders and number of animals – in both, large- and small stock breeds. Record prices are attained at the auctions of animals during the show, which confirms Namibia’s supreme breeding stock being sought worldwide.

Apart from the Agricultural and Industrial exhibits, the annual Windhoek Show also boasts of an array of food outlets offering a wide choice of cuisines that can be enjoyed with Namibia’s popular beers. Entertainment for both young and old, ranging from the popular merry-go-round to various other attractions – the snake park, animal park, laser shooting, bunji rockets – constitutes an important component of the overall programme.

The newest event of the festivities list is the Windhoek Schlachterei Oktober Fest, taking place on three of the nine show days. Good music, food and “prosting” beer are the basis for enjoying cultural integration during the Windhoek Show – an added benefit to the successful business turnover being experienced by most WIAS exhibitors – some of who have an uninterrupted participation record exceeding twenty years and longer.