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Opinion - Namibia’s tribal and racist teachers: Judicial failure

2020-06-29  Staff Reporter

Opinion - Namibia’s tribal and racist teachers: Judicial failure
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Teaching is a noble profession, a talent resulting from an innate capacity to serve as a hub transmitting belt of knowledge. Being a person entrusted with a responsibility to take care, work with and nurture young people of diverse physical and non-physical background, a teacher is specially gifted with the ability to “make” or “break” the best of society in the development of the human population of young people. Teachers are the institutional image of the education system they operate in and represent – and as such, the recent development of racial outbursts from Ms Coreen Steenkamp and the tribal rants from Mr Lukas Kampale reflect a failure in their training and human development as human beings in a secular state as Namibia. Society, at large, expects flawless and, most importantly, objective facilitators of human educational objective and needs.

The racist and tribal antics of the two above-mentioned colleagues comes at a time when the world is besieged by the resumption of mass protests in principally western countries, where black people have not fully recovered from the dark times of slave treatment in that society. Most black people are being hurled all sorts of insults and subjected to negative legalised treatment in the west where most never applied to find themselves and they yearn to belong to Africa, yet in Africa, we find these sorts of hate trends in tribalism and racism.

True Namibians are satisfied with the fact the Ms Steenkamp has been excused from the noble position of being a mentor and inspiration to innocent children who knows and wants to know nothing about racism. The only wish is if we had the mandatory platform where the education system could recommend aftercare for her to enrol in a rehabilitation program to revisit her conscious and try to reform herself to become a functional member of society in a secular state like Namibia where we are expected to remain objective so that we embrace and appreciate differences and diversity of belief and existence without prejudice. The state failed to institute a case against her, thus encouraging racism to deepen its roots in Namibia.

True Namibians are also very disappointed with how the case of Mr Lukas Kampale was handled. There are rumours that the state prosecutor failed to object to bail, which resulted in a situation that an assistant magistrate was left to apply her/his naïve conclusion in the matter resulting in the granting of a preposterous bail amount.

Basically, the fact that Mr Kampale was formally charged on serious grounds, it was the natural obligation of the state prosecution to simply build a case against the perpetrator on the basis that the charges he faces were of serious and life-threatening to a community and state. The prosecution would have based its opposition to bail grating on the fact that Mr Kampale must be remanded in custody for his safety because he resides in a community predominantly of the Nama people, a group with which he created tension as a result of his tribal rants and justification of historical crimes against the same Nama people. 

Failure of the above mentioned by the state in convincing the Assistant Magistrate, the state prosecution would then have been forced by the circumstantial seriousness of the condition by reciting the above and request bail of not less than N$20 000 since it was also immediately after a weekend whereby Teachers got paid, and that Mr Kamaple was fully in charge of his sentient and the effects of it when he decided to engage in such reckless matters.

In the absence of the above-mentioned expectations, the assistant magistrate had the moral obligation as a learned legal adjudicator to look at and weigh the seriousness of the matter before her/him and impose a stricter bail amount in excess of N$10 000 and above, taking into consideration, the seriousness of the case and the potential damage it could have on the perpetrator, the justice system, the community involved and national reaction.

Thus my recommendation to the Ministry of Justice, Judiciary Service Commission and Magistrates Service Commission) is to recall the state prosecutor from their assignment in Bethanie and assign serious cases of this nature to competently fully appointed Magistrates. This case was mishandled deliberately or out of recklessness on the part of the justice systems of this country.

Namibians are happy that the education fraternity, the school, especially the office of the director in //Kharas region reacted swiftly in suspending the teacher and following the legal procedure as dictated and Namibians expect an expulsion of the unfit teacher whom I can only wish rehabilitation for to better him going forward. The failure of the justice system to act and show seriousness to the case has resulted in the Nama people of Bethanie demanding to be first consulted before appointing teachers, possibly in the whole //Kharas region now, where fears are that there might be negative developments of communities starting to want only their tribes to teach their children to avoid situations like the one created by Kampale.

*Tonata Angombe is an unemployed teacher aspirant and current student of Law. He can be reached at 

2020-06-29  Staff Reporter

Tags: Khomas
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