• September 20th, 2018
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Kalkfeld youth in dire straits

Youth Corner
Youth Corner

Jeremiah Ndjoze Windhoek IT is a thought so shocking it defies belief — but social dysfunction is fast becoming the new norm among the youth of Kalkfeld where substance abuse, violence and teenage pregnancy are said to be routine childhood experiences for many. Worse still, the government is seemingly failing to live up to its nobody-should-feel-left-out mantra as far as the settlement is concerned. Phillip Hipondoka, a community activist from the Oshikoto Region who resides in Kalkfeld, is adamant that his adopted home is not a part of the ‘Namibian House.’ “Young people in this settlement live in appalling conditions, worsened by the high rate of unemployment and many have now turned to substance abuse as a way of dealing with the joblessness and boredom,” Hipondoka confirms, adding that the absence of a youth resource centre in the area fuels the already bad situation. “We have fresh Grade 10 dropouts each year who end up nowhere but in the local shebeens. The school here is combined – up to Grade 10 – but recently we learned that the government is contemplating the exclusion of this grade (10). The reason for that removal is still unknown to the masses,” Hipondoka said concernedly. The collective hope of the community is for the classes at the school to be extended to Grade 12 rather than being slashed. “We were hoping that the school will use the additional newly built three classrooms for grades 11 and 12,” Hipondoka says, further lamenting that there are no centres of the Namibia College of Opening Learning (Namcol) at the settlement, and as such, Grade 10 dropouts have no access to tutorials to enable them to pass and progress. This, he says, has resulted in many young people losing hope and even when developmental meetings are called many young people opt to stay away. “Young people only congregate at drinking places day in and day out where they ponder their fate with obvious hopelessness. Needless to say there is a lot of talent in Kalkfeld as far as sport, particularly soccer, is concerned but these athletes end up nowhere. Their narrative would have been different if talent scouts from premier league teams visited the area during soccer tournaments,” says Hipondoka. He calls on the minister of sport, youth and national service to visit the settlement to acquaint himself with the situation and to establish a sub office in the area. “A lot has been said about decentralisation but today we only have a police station, a clinic, offices of the ministry [urban and rural development], and of gender equality and child welfare,” says Hipondoka. He reveals that an open market was constructed at the settlement by the government through the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC) but this development remains a white elephant because of its distance from the masses. He adds that the only service station at the town has not been operational for the past three months and vehicle owners have to find ways to get petrol or diesel from Otjiwarongo – which is somewhat costly. Kalkfeld settlement is situated about 70 kilometres southwest of Otjiwarongo in the Otjozondjupa Region. The settlement has a population of over 3,000 people. CAPTION:
2018-03-28 10:20:09 5 months ago
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