OSHONGWE - The Councillor for Nehale lyaMpingana Constituency in Oshikoto Region, Leevi Reinholdt has cautioned San communities not to exchange drought relief food for Tombo, a cheaper home-brew widely sold in rural areas.
He echoed this sentiment recently while handing over food items to San communities at Oshongwe and Okoloti villages in Oshikoto. The drought relief package consists of six tinned fish, cooking oil and maize meal.
It has come to light this practice is becoming a habit and as such, the beneficiaries still swim in poverty and prefer going to bed hungry. Most of the San receive their foodstuff at the cuca shops where they usually gather and hence upon receiving their tokens and instead of going home, they start drinking and exchange the drought relief food for Tombo.
Moreover, similar cases of exchanging drought relief foodstuff have been reported in Omaheke Region where many San parents swap foodstuff meant for their school children for alcohol.
The San people were in the past mainly hunter-gatherers. But today, many have diversified livelihoods. Some are domestic or farm workers, others grow crops and raise livestock, do odd jobs in rural and urban areas, as well as engage in small-scale businesses and the provision of services. However, more than 80 percent of the San have been dispossessed of their ancestral land and food resources and today they are among some of the poorest people in the country.
On the contrary, the San people being nomadic in nature do not usually cultivate their fields but they largely depend on free government food handouts.
The San communities are assisted in order to improve their living standards. Therefore, the Division San Development is a special programme under the auspices of the Office of the Prime Minister mandated by Cabinet to ensure that the marginalised people such as the San in Namibia are fully integrated in the mainstream economy of society as per Cabinet decision.
In addition, this programme mainly focuses on resettlement, sustainable livelihood support programmes, education, land and income-generating initiatives for marginalised communities.
In a short span of time, the programme has recorded considerable achievements in the provision of land, livestock, education, clean drinking water, conservancies and better housing to bring these communities on par with the “mainstream population” in Namibia.
With the severe drought and abject poverty, the Namibia Rural Food Security and Livelihood Vulnerability Forecast report indicated that poverty remains one of the greatest challenges in the Sadc region, with approximately half of the population living on less than $1 a day.
*Josephina Mwashindange is an Information Officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Oshikoto Region.
2019-08-28 07:09:49 25 days ago