WINDHOEK - President Hage Geingob has called on young people to build the ‘Namibian House’ through national reconciliation and avoid racial discrimination.
He observed there are kids who become racists when older people tell them that they are different based on their colour and race.
Therefore, he said there is a need to teach young ones not to see colour and race but rather build peace through national reconciliation and guarantee equality amongst people by trying to eliminate racial discrimination at all costs. He made the remarks yesterday when he met a group of 17 international students at State House who are in Namibia on a volunteer school project for two weeks.
He was responding to the students who asked if there were any areas they could also look into while on their two weeks’ visit in Namibia.
He explained to them that Namibia is a land which was divided by colour and race during the apartheid era.
“It’s basically a bad thing. Even if you have established peace and reconciliation, there is visible differences based on colour and you end up colour-blind. We are building a Namibian House and we are using bricks of different ethnics and racial groups. The lesson here is that when you have plastered it and painted with Namibian colours, then you no longer identify individual colours and races. It’s not easy to build a house. Our firm foundation is the Constitution to build a house for national reconciliation,” Geingob remarked.
He said young people should try and bring different tribes and races together to address inequality.
Historically, Namibia was a victim to the apartheid era that also took place in South Africa where a white minority regime discriminated based on race.
As a result of this ideology, a number of discriminatory laws were transplanted into Namibian domestic law.
Examples of such laws are the Administration of Estates Act, the Intestate Succession Ordinance, and the Native Administration Proclamation.
These laws regulated the administration of and succession in deceased persons’ estates. Problematic was the distinction made between the administration of the estates of whites and so-called coloureds, on the one hand, and blacks on the other.
Racial discrimination may not be seen as serious, but it is a growing concern in Namibia based on cases often reported in the media.
The Office of the Ombudsman recently said racial name calling, which borders on crimen injuria, may be happening on a daily basis. But because people are either too afraid or want to avoid long court processes, racial name calling usually goes unreported.
The ombudsman also initiated public hearings in 2017 towards research to ascertain whether racism and racial discrimination are still prevalent in the country.
The overall purpose of the hearings, in selected regions, were to assist the ombudsman in making proposals on how to address the issue either through new legislation or amending existing legislation, as well as to find effective ways to increase public awareness of racism or racial discrimination or tribalism and discrimination in general.
Ombudsman argued that legislation alone is not enough to prevent and combat racism, racial discrimination or tribalism.
Geingob welcomed the students to Namibia, while commending them for sacrificing their comfort to come to Namibia for human kind.
“You have come to share and volunteer with others-if not money at least your muscles to build schools. So, keep it up, its very impressive,” he told them.
The international students were led by French Ambassador to Namibia Claire Bodonyi to State House.
On behalf of fellow students, Jack Wessels who is originally from the United States of America but lives in France, said they are be in Namibia for two weeks doing voluntary work on a school project.
He said during their stay, they will build a dormitory school in Otjinamangombe in Omaheke Region and they will have an opportunity to learn Namibian languages and different cultures.
The existing three school dormitories at Otjinamangombe are currently full.
The 17 students are from different countries, comprising of France, England, Russia, Mexico, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, the U.S., Canada, Germany as well as Malaysia.
They were accompanied by three teachers.
Presidential youth adviser Daisry Mathias welcomed the international students and commended them for their volunteerism spirit and wished them well during their school project in Namibia.
2019-07-03 09:15:43 16 days ago