By Anna Shilongo WINDHOEK The impact of poverty and its resultant evils seems to have an ugly bearing on the society more than it is understood or viewed. It is the very same poverty that is dragging along the unemployed to be involved in evil deeds and despite being a small town, Okahandja is faced with a number of challenges. According to the residents of the town, Okahandja faces numerous challenges such as poverty, unemployment, crime, HIV/Aids, teenage pregnancy and alcohol abuse. "Many people in Okahandja are unemployed. There are no jobs in this town, and as a result people have given up on life. People try to solve their problems through alcohol, whether young or old, it doesn't matter," said Banny Reynolds a young unemployed resident. Reynolds, who recently completed his grade 12 at the town, complained about the high rate of unemployment and crime in Okahandja. "Every day we hear of incidents where people are being stabbed while others are arrested. This is a small town and there is nothing happening besides people turning against each other," said the unemployed resident of Okahandja. He blames the authorities for treating the town as if it were just another farm. The youth are engaged in unproductive activities because of the lack of youth centres or creative activities that could keep them off the streets and that could empower them. "But you can't blame residents and merely treat the town like a farm. There are no recreation clubs or a place for entertainment for the youth and youth end up entertaining themselves with alcohol and there are fights resulting in loss of lives. There aren't even street lights at this town," said another Okahandja youth. Petrus Monde has been unemployed for the past four years despite passing with flying colours - his parents could not afford the fees at the University of Namibia (Unam.) He applied for a government loan, but Government would not accord him a loan. "What future do I have, when I can't even further my studies. It is for this reason that we drink on top of our frustrations, just to get over it. There is nothing more to hold onto - life is so unfair. And our solution to problems is alcohol," he said. He was of the opinion that most of the crime committed at the town is due to poverty, unemployment and abuse of alcohol. "As early as 08h00 people are already drinking in this town especially the youth. Parents are drinking together with their children, while the young ones are starving," he said. "Most of the unemployed residents have also turned into wild people, which is why in most cases once they consume, they always end up in fights," he said. Although many youth have given up on life, there are still those that would like to make a difference in their lives. Some have keen interest in developing as artists, but there are some obstacles standing in their way. There is no single studio at the town where upcoming artists could work on their music and as a result they have to travel to Windhoek for their music productions. "It is not as easy as it sounds - going to Windhoek is costly. And it's also not a guarantee that one will be helped once you travel to Windhoek. This people first help the artist in Windhoek before they consider assisting us," said the disappointed artist. Another concern at the town is the high rate of teenage pregnancy involving girls as young as 14 and 15 years of age. The station commander of Okahandja Inspector Yolanda Ugulu also expressed concern with the increase in crime at the town. She attributed most crime committed to poverty and unemployment. "Crime is mostly committed by youngsters in this town," said the police inspector. She said common assault followed by stock theft and illegal hunting top the crime list. In most cases, she said common assault is due to the abuse of alcohol that is on the rise.
2008-05-20 00:00:00 10 years ago