Commemorating the Legacy of the late Helmut zur Strassen

  • 7 March 2023

Building Natural Science bridges for Students through the Namibia Scientific Society and the Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality (NATH) 

by Silke Ahrens and Ruth Moldzio

The story of Helmut zur Strassen is one for the ages, from being a founding member of the Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality (NATH) in 1994 to leading the academy during its formative years. The main aim of the academy was to build the knowledge foundation of many Namibian Tour guides and pass it on from one generation of tour guides to the next.

After his official retirement, zur Strassen continued facilitating and lecturing at NATH for 17 years. He conducted many of NATH 5-day Training Tours to the North, South and Central areas of Namibia. He was greatly missed when he stopped lecturing, however, he always availed himself to tour guides who needed assistance of any kind, and one of his favourite past times was showing interested tour guides his botanical collection.

To ensure excellent and continuous tour guide education and nurturing interest in the sciences of geology, astronomy, fauna, flora and ornithology, he gifted many of his books, acquired works and crafts for the NATH Student Library. The collection contains meticulously gathered displays of lichen samples amongst others, and multiple visual aids for upcoming tour guides to study and inspect. The library has been faithfully displayed at the NATH offices and used by students and guide apprentices over time.

In 2022, the Helmut-zur-Strassen Library moved to the Namibia Scientific Society where it is still accessible to students and guide apprentices. New NATH students and apprentices of guiding are all registered members of the Namibia Scientific Society.

Through-out his life, zur Strassen shared his excitement for the riches of Namibian natural beauty and has been formative in sharing his expertise with many tour guides.

Part of his lecturing took place at the Namibia Scientific Society and the evenings of learning were well attended. He was well known for his ingenious ways of sharing knowledge as he deposited himself into the students every time he taught.

The Namibian tour guide fraternity has lost a truly remarkable giant of the profession, may his soul rest in eternal peace and may his life’s work and wisdom live forth in tour guide students of the profession both contemporary and those still to come.

We extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Alrun and the entire family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family during this time of great loss and bereavement. Equally so, we extend deepest sympathies to everyone who knew him, who worked with him and who sat under his tutelage, that they shall honour his life’s work and legacy for generations to come. 

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