Members of the San community say they are being exploited and forced to work on farms without receiving the monthly payment.
They are now pleading with government officials to consider visiting farms where they have been resettled, with the view to help address the challenges they are facing.
“We are not violent as San communities. However, we are surrounded by people who do not respect our rights and tend to abuse us physically and emotionally by exploiting us,” said Maria Garises, a community member who spoke yesterday during a project launch in Windhoek aimed at reducing family violence in San communities.
According to Garises, other non-marginalised people use the San for their gains and this often results in abuse.
“Our brothers are working on farms for free. People are coming to get them under the pretence that they are going to pay them but they end up not giving them the salaries they have promised,” she said.
She added girls are also suffering, as some communities pretend to adopt them just to make them look after their children and perform house chores without going to school.
“How do you expect these people not to be violent if they are experiencing violence every day? We are grateful for this project as many stakeholders will join us to reduce this violent behaviour among us,” she said.
Deputy Minister of Marginalised Communities Royal /Ui /o/oo noted the San are still being subjected to physical, mental and psychological abuse by some sections of society.
He said despite Namibia being a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of Children, the San continue to experience human rights violations, ethnic discrimination, unfair labour practice and illegal child adoption.
“People in neighbouring communities are taking San children from their parents through illegal child adoption and keeping them at their homes to look after their children or livestock without following the legal adoption processes as stipulated in Namibia’s Child Care and Protection Act 3 of 2015,” he said.
He stressed the fight for equality, reduction and elimination of all forms of violence, requires an intersectional and collaborative approach.
The deputy minister encouraged youthful members of the San community to take up the torch, fully participate in youth leadership conferences and ensure that they have active political voices on local and national political platforms.
“I want to see more members of the San community occupying leadership roles and becoming central players in decision making, as this will ensure a direct approach to redressing issues from the grassroots level,” he said.
The project is training participants with different skills on how to end violence within their families and society at large.
Director of the Women’s Leadership Centre Elizabeth Khaxas said the project aims to reduce family violence in six San communities and understand the impact of family violence on the lives of the people in their communities.
“They are trained to understand the causes, attributes, behaviour and cultural norms that are driving family violence in our communities so that together we are creating tailored made solutions by the people in our communities,” she said.
The project was launched by Finland’s ambassador to Namibia Leena Viljanen who said it is being funded through a fund for local cooperation of the Finnish embassy to contribute to social issues and crucial themes such as gender equality and sustainable development.