• August 7th, 2020

Obituary for Namibia’s poverty overdue

Columns, Comment
Columns, Comment

Namibian leaders must have been priding themselves in the nom de guerre Land of the Brave, and in governing over a brave people. Likewise citizens must equally have been proud of same. But 28 years down the line, one cannot but wonder to what extent and if such an accolade is still befitting – given the sad reality on the ground. Its populace being no more a hard working people, toiling to overcome the rampant and suffocating poverty in which many, if not most, of her citizens are and have been walloping and suffocating. To what extent the governors are aware of the reality of poverty on the ground, one does not know. Of course one cannot be oblivious to the various efforts of the government to address poverty. As much as the questions beg as to what extent various measures in this regard have had the desired actual impact. In alleviating poverty, and eventually eradicating it. A caveat is also in order if the measures in question have ever been based on a true and correct identification of the problems pertaining, and whether they have been in the first place directed at the right affected target groups. There’s no denying the harsh reality of thousands and thousands of fellows who today have since independence never known a better tomorrow. Let alone have any little hope of ever wishing for a better tomorrow. Simply because tomorrow for them has no hope. If there’s no hope today how can one really hope on such tomorrow? If simply there’s no slice of bread on one’s table, can one hope on such tomorrow basing such hope on what? Hope against hope? This is a situation some if not most sections of the citizenry have been enduring since independence. Often, and every day, one is and has been hearing about landlessness, and its ugly and vicious appendix of lack of shelter one can call home. And this is not as if this is the only most pressing problem for a majority. The pressing problem of most Namibians today may not so much be homelessness. Because even those lucky enough to have a roof over their heads, lucky enough to be squatting somewhere, simply don’t have anything to eat. Not only on that particular fateful day, but for weeks, months, and years on. The only wonder is that as yet there have been no reported incidences of starvation. But one cannot deny outright the fact that people are dying today partly because of hunger. There may also be those fortunate enough to have something to eat daily. But can whatever they are able to eat daily really be said to be nutritious to ensure a reasonable life fit for citizens of a country ranked as a middle-income country? Today most of the citizens of this country seem to subsist on and are sustained by begging. Not because they are lazy to work but simply because they do not have the opportunities. The public have lately often been inundated with official pronouncements that the stormy weather that the economy of the country has been enduring may be subsiding. But the reality on the ground is different. That they may be in for a long haul. In particular for those at the sharper end of the socio-economic ladder. One needs not be a rocket scientist to know that, for instance, it would take decades, and even centuries, before the problem of urban influx can be effectively alleviated, and the attendant poverty and squalor. As much the problem of rural underdevelopment and stagnation, which again gives rise to urbanisation. Thus, the City of Windhoek’s benevolence, cancelling debts of senior citizens, is laudable. But can this really be a lasting solution? Because these houses are not solely occupied by the senior citizens themselves. As the mothers and fathers of the City of Windhoek are and may well be aware, these houses are a necessary and critical socio-economic solace and safety nets for many able-bodied residents without opportunities. More than anything else, these hide the stark reality, because such opulence and decadence in Namibia is the exclusive domain of a tiny few. That is why one cannot but also laud the gesture of communalism by the Ovambanderu Traditional Council [OTC] under paramount chief Karikondua Nguvauva, that donated cattle to the Harambee initiative. It cannot and should not wait for renognition one day to address poverty within its community. Many obituaries have been pouring in, and befittingly, since the falling of Namibian liberation struggle stalwart, Theo-Ben Gurirab, on Saturday. As indeed befittingly has been the case with the passing on of other stalwarts before him, lately Uncle Paul Helmuth, and before him Auguste “Mukwahepo” Immanuel, Tilly Abrahams and Norah Schimming-Chase. But the only befitting legacy for them, and many others long gone, like Mama Enette Jeanette Kandjii [Genocide, Lephalale, RSA], Samuel Maharero, Hosea Kutako, Hendrik Witbooi, Jonker Afrikaner, Kahimemua Nguvauva, Gerson Veii, Uatjindua Ndjoze, Peter Njambe, Kalisious Hineleshi [one hears little or nothing about him] are not endless obituaries. But, to borrow from Dr Patrick Lumumba during the Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture in Mthatha on Tuesday, to write an obituary for poverty in Africa. And for Namibia as much.
New Era Reporter
2018-07-20 10:06:46 | 2 years ago

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