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- 05/08/19--16:00: _Shipping profits
- 05/09/19--08:40: _ ANC leads with 50%...
- 05/09/19--16:00: _LSD drops Damage Co...
- 05/09/19--16:00: _Getting your tune s...
- 05/09/19--16:00: _Emulate Nujoma
- 05/09/19--16:00: _Priceless contribut...
- 05/09/19--16:00: _60 years of friendship
- 05/09/19--16:00: _A shining light for...
- 05/09/19--16:00: _The man behind the ...
- 05/09/19--16:00: _Sonically changing ...
- 05/09/19--16:00: _Seeking no validation
- 05/09/19--16:00: _SYMLAFA countdown 2...
- 05/09/19--16:00: _Make us listen to y...
- 05/09/19--16:00: _Up close
- 05/09/19--16:00: _100k rely on mining
- 05/09/19--16:00: _Sat-Com reaches for...
- 05/09/19--16:00: _Five to contest Ond...
- 05/09/19--16:00: _Rössing deal almost...
- 05/09/19--16:00: _SA's Transnet hijac...
- 05/09/19--16:00: _Lodge manager follo...
- 05/08/19--16:00: Shipping profits
- 05/09/19--08:40: ANC leads with 50% of votes counted
- 05/09/19--16:00: LSD drops Damage Control
- 05/09/19--16:00: Getting your tune some airtime
- 05/09/19--16:00: Emulate Nujoma
- 05/09/19--16:00: Priceless contributions
- 05/09/19--16:00: 60 years of friendship
- 05/09/19--16:00: A shining light for youth
- 05/09/19--16:00: The man behind the legend
- 05/09/19--16:00: Sonically changing the rules
- 05/09/19--16:00: Seeking no validation
- 05/09/19--16:00: SYMLAFA countdown 2019 begins
- 05/09/19--16:00: Make us listen to your music
- 05/09/19--16:00: Up close
- 05/09/19--16:00: 100k rely on mining
- 05/09/19--16:00: Sat-Com reaches for global market
- 05/09/19--16:00: Five to contest Ondangwa by-election
- 05/09/19--16:00: Rössing deal almost complete
- 05/09/19--16:00: SA's Transnet hijacks Trans-Kalahari rail
- 05/09/19--16:00: Lodge manager follows his passion
This was confirmed by mines minister Tom Alweendo during his keynote address at the Mining Expo and Conference in Windhoek this week.
Alweendo said foreign ownership persists, despite the fact that over the years the vast majority of mineral exploration licences were granted to Namibians.
He added that by the end of 2018, more than 60% of all exclusive prospecting licences (EPLs) that were granted were issued to Namibians.
“It is also so that in most cases local ownership is not beneficial ownership, because it is financed with loans provided by the majority shareholder.
“In such instances the agreement is that the dividend, if any, which would have accrued to the local shareholder, will be utilised to service the loan and no dividend will be paid to the local owners until the loan is fully repaid. This is certainly not an economically beneficial arrangement.”
According to Alweendo, one of the most difficult issues that needs to be addressed when it comes to local ownership is that of financing.
“We know that mining is a highly capital-intensive undertaking. However, it is not impossible for serious local entrepreneurs from different professions, in collaboration with foreign investors, to put together a credible funding proposal to those with capital.”
According to him it is doable when well-aligned groups of local entrepreneurs, in collaboration with government-initiated funding programmes, approach the capital markets - both local and foreign - with well-prepared funding proposals.
“If ever we are going to find a solution to the funding dilemma, there is a need for innovative funding ideas from not only the aspiring entrepreneurs, but also from the government and the foreign investors.”
Alweendo said during his conversations with some foreign investors, the issue of local ownership is sometimes viewed as an irritant, something that can be wished away.
“This is a fallacy and a mistaken view. There is a legitimate expectation for local ownership and the sooner we address this concern, the better it is for the future sustainability of the mining sector.”
He further told local entrepreneurs who wish to venture into mining that it is not a walk in the park that everyone can do.
“The allure of success in the mining sector is at times misleading; the seeming glamour of the sector can at times be more than real. It takes real hard work and dedication.”
Alweendo also said that there is a growing call that it should be mandatory for the government to have shareholding in mining companies.
“Again, this call is from those who hold the view that the economic benefit from the mining sector is not being shared equitably. We do not currently believe that government's direct ownership in mining companies is the best solution to cure the problem of the lack of local ownership.”
Alweendo however said that they are undertaking public consultations to fully understand the origin of this view and how best it can be addressed.
An economics professor at the University of Namibia, Omu Kakujaha-Matundu, told Namibian Sun the fact that the majority of mines in Namibia are in the hands of foreigners means that the profits earned from these mines are also leaving the country.
“These profits are going to other countries and less money is left for the development of Namibia,” said Kakujaha-Matundu.
Although he said that the share owned by Namibians in local mines should be increased, he added that the country also sits with the problem that it does not have the expertise to run these mines.
Kakujaha-Matundu further pointed out that should the share of local mines be increased for Namibians it should not be for the benefit of the “small Namibian elite”, but should benefit the majority of the country.
He said there was no other way to address the current situation than to change legislation and increase the share that Namibians can own in local mining companies.
“Foreigners will always want to own 100% of the mining company and want to have 100% profit. By increasing the share through legislation to, for instance, 40% you ensure that Namibia also benefits, like what was done with the Debmarine agreement.”
He said if Epangelo could get a greater share of mining houses this could be beneficial to the country.
But he pointed out that there are risks involved, as there are always problems with inefficiently run SOEs, corruption and undervaluation of resources.
Alweendo said another concern with regard to the equitable sharing of economic benefit derived from the mining sector is that of value addition.
“Of concern here is that we are exporting most, if not all, of our minerals in raw form instead of adding value to them. This means that we are exporting local jobs while we have a problem of growing unemployment, especially youth unemployment.”
Alweendo said the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) has been engaged to lead the process of developing a value-addition strategy and an implementation plan. The strategy is to be completed in August this year.
Alweendo said the mining sector relied heavily on external economies for its inputs.
According to him the issue here is that the mining sector is not being leveraged sufficiently to strengthen the productive capacity of the economy. The desire is, therefore, for the mining companies to source their mining operation inputs from the local economy.
He said that the mining sector procured goods and services from local suppliers totalling N$13.3 billion last year, compared to the total procurement of N$22.95 billion.
“While this figure of local spend seems to be sizeable, it needs to be unpacked further. For example, how much of what was procured was made in the local economy and not imported by Namibian companies. Or how much of what was procured was procured from Namibian companies owned by Namibians as opposed to Namibian-registered companies owned by non-Namibians.”
Damage Control was released on 10 April with 18 songs. The duo explained that they made it a lengthy project because they explored different sounds. Sweezy told tjil that with Damage Control they are not only targeting hip-hop fans but everyone who enjoys good music regardless of the genre. “That is why on Damage Control we have hip-hop songs, Afro-pop songs and R&B. We challenged our music-making abilities on this project and we are glad with how it all came out,” said Sweezy.
Sweezy added that the project was inspired by their life experiences and it is packed with more songs that are conscious. The duo is trying to shy away from making music that does not narrate Namibian daily experiences. “Of all the projects we have released this one is the one I am proud of the most. On this album we are really vulnerable and we did not filter anything,” added Sweezy.
LSD announced that they will be shooting at least three music videos from Damage Control. They said not having a management structure in place has deterred their progress. “The reason we do not have a music video out yet is because we do not want to put out mediocre content. But that is about to change as plans are at an advanced stage to release our first music video.
“Being independent artists is very challenging. Despite having good numbers online we still struggle to convince music promoters to book us for paying gigs,” said Lil'Kiddo.
With three mixtapes under their belts, tjil asked when we can expect a fully-fledged album from LSD. They said the music is there but they would rather have a proper structure and resources in place before they release an album. “We are trying to get the recognition we want before we can think of dropping our debut album. Albums require a big budget, and until we have that budget and have established a strong fan base across the country we will be feeding our fans with EPs and mixtapes,” said Sweezy.
Jean-Louis Knouwds, music compiler and radio host at Kosmos 94.1 told tjil that there are certain criteria that go with the broadcast conduct that helps them determine radio friendly songs.
“To begin with, you cannot broadcast content that has swear words or songs with explicit content. Of course there is radio edit which makes our work easier but it is advisable to not submit music with foul language,” said Knouwds.
Knouwds added that different radio stations have different policies that govern their playlists.
He mentioned that at Kosmos 94.1 they like to refer to it as giving a song line A and line B; a song must fit between those lines. If you get a song that falls outside that scope which is not what the station deems their sound, that song is then likely not to be playlisted.
“We are a commercial radio station and commercial stations have a standard sound across the globe. Whatever song is played must sound commercial. It must be produced properly and have good sound quality,” said Knouwds.
In terms of the format the songs should be saved as, Knouwds shared that at Kosmos 94.1 they broadcast in windows audio file.
This means that if you bring an MP3 it converts it automatically. He said when it happens that they receive a song and the format is not recognised by the system - which hardly happens, they then let the artist know but they try to convert it on your behalf.
“The only problem is that the sound quality is then compressed. But most of the general formats are recognised by our system,” said Knouwds.
Shona Ngava the music compiler at Nust FM said the current accepted format for digital radio stations is 325kbs per second or more and normally the song is an MP3 file because it's best for maximum listening quality.
Ngava added that MP3 formats are widely respected for making it easy for the human ear to pick up instruments and the vocals of the artist, stating that it's also a great source for saving songs because the song does not lose much of its quality.
For Ngava, any song with blatant foul language is not radio friendly. “In this day and age, it seems that an overwhelming amount of pop songs have questionable or foul language in the lyrics,” said Ngava adding that some of these songs, just to garner air-play, will release a “radio edit” where either a bleep, a blank space or an instrumental flourish such as a record scratch or a guitar riff may be mixed into the tune in place of the profanity, thus making it playable.
Ngava also mentioned that songs with questionable themes and content like strong sexual messages or songs that may for example promote racism are usually not radio friendly.
He said those types of songs will rarely if ever get air-play, even on radio stations that will occasionally let a minor curse word slip by. “Most radio stations don't want to deal with the possible problems that these types of songs can present,” shared Ngava.
Also contributing to the dialogue was Rapids FM's Elizabeth Mwengo who doubles as a presenter and head of programmes at the station. Mwengo said that radio is unlimited in terms of reach and caters for everyone.
“So any song with blatant foul language is not radio friendly; radio must educate and inform so everything that goes on air matters.”
“Even though swear words can be bleeped out radio also entertains and who wants to hear one long bleep song? Every second counts on radio so any song longer than about four minutes is not radio-friendly,” said Mwengo.
Mwengo said that Rapids FM mostly caters for the two Kavango regions and thus the artists on high rotation at the station are mostly from the Kavango regions.
On challenges faced by music compilers at radio stations, Ngava said one of the main challenges is the quality of the songs that are currently being produced is not up to standard and this makes it hard for music directors to create diverse playlists to cater to the different listeners.
“NUST FM is an urban radio station with 80% local music. The most popular genres are hip-hop, Afro-pop and kwaito. Getting a variety of songs from other genres is also difficult because there is not much of a library that we can go to, to source music,” said Ngava.
Nujoma turns 90 on Sunday.
Mubita said Nujoma's heroic deeds as a leader stem from the liberation struggle and his legacy cannot be overemphasised, and should serve as a baseline for quality leadership.
He said the qualities people should emulate are Nujoma's wisdom, intelligence, humility and selflessness.
Mubita said Nujoma was not educated as many are today, but because he was driven by his passion to see a liberated Namibia, he was able to convince the international community with his qualities.
“Nujoma was a humble servant who proved that wisdom, intelligence and humility is more important than education,” Mubita said.
He said Nujoma views Namibians as one and never showed signs of tribalism or discrimination.
Mubita said this is one of the bases on which Nujoma continues to be regarded as the father of the nation and a unifier.
“Nujoma did not look at Namibians through tribal lenses, but looked at Namibia as a national entity, and all of us were treated the same. He did not care who went to school or wherever; he had to make sure everyone was catered for,” Mubita said.
Narrating how he first met Nujoma back in 1975, when he visited the north-eastern battlefront, Mubita said he will not forget the words of wisdom he got that day.
“My first encounter with him was basically in 1975 after my military training and at the time he came to meet us at the battlefield. He said to us that in the war we are waging, we should be own brothers, our own fathers and own mothers,” Mubita said.
“Nujoma said we needed to treat each other as brothers beyond brothers, and that if we could build a family out there, it will be easy to build a nation back home. He told us to forget about your tribal background, as we are fighting to have a country for all. Those words ring in my mind up until today.”
Mubita pointed out that issues such as infighting amongst political parties, traditional leaders and in local and regional governance, which is currently happening, would not exist if leaders emulate the leadership qualities of Nujoma.
“Right now in an independent Namibia, you see local and regional councils failing to simply unify a single unit of the same tribe. There is so much infighting, and when there is so much infighting, you need to ask if there is any father figure to address this fight,” Mubita said.
He said although Nujoma was at different places most of the time during the liberation struggle, he would address issues in order to maintain order, so that Swapo could remain intact and focus on winning the war.
“Nujoma has always been a father figure; he was able to at least attend to all simmering challenges in the struggle. He did that through humility,” Mubita said.
He also pointed out that Nujoma's journey as a leader was not easy, saying he had the responsibility of carrying the weight of many Namibian lives and setbacks were attributed to him.
He said Nujoma faced power-hungry comrades then who wanted to take over Swapo and destabilise. However, he remained resolute and humble, and eventually overcame those challenges.
“It's not that Nujoma did not have challenges. There were a lot challenges; challenges of people who wanted to obviously take over Swapo, and there were many of them. But he still remained resolute and humble,” Mubita said.
“He was a victim of all the difficulties and setbacks. It was not an easy thing to lead the children of many people; it's not an easy thing. He had to become a father figure for many, because if anything goes wrong, people blame you.”
Mubita also called on current Namibian leaders, especially the elderly, to groom youth based on their qualities and not on tribalism or factionalism.
He encouraged the youth to also engage with elderly leaders in a respectful manner, while having the interest of the Namibian people at heart, and not wanting to be praised by those in power.
As the new crop of aspiring leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals who have witnessed the glorious days of economic emancipation, we without any measure of shame celebrate not only his birthday but the legacy of Tatekulu Sam Nujoma, the founding president, father of Namibian nation and liberation hero of the modern struggle for independence - the unwavering commander of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN).
We will forever celebrate your remarkable contributions, which are in every way priceless, in the following areas:
During his presidency, he managed to champion the policy initiative to increase access to land through township proclamations, as he knew that the lack of ownership of land by his people meant a meaningless independence.
He facilitated township proclamation to enable Namibians to have land from as far as Bukalo to Kangwati, Oshikango to Lüderitz and Walvis Bay to Gobabis; that is a fact.
The NCCI northern regions and the entire northern business population, as well as the entire nation of Namibia, have not and will not forget this.
As former president of the Republic of Namibia, he is remembered for promoting unity of purpose among all Namibians.
In the middle of adversity, he managed to bring the warring parties and former battlefront enemies together to become friends through the policy of national reconciliation. Namibia is a beacon of visible peace on the African continent.
This is a peace we need to take care of like an egg, as advocated by His Excellency Dr Hage Geingob, the current president of the Republic of Namibia. Nujoma's symbolism of outstanding leadership has flagged modern democracy in Africa, where leaders step aside to respect the constitution and the wishes of the people. He is now resting at home for 14 years, away from managing public affairs in the executive office. We are indeed proud of his legacy.
The Namibian people, and particularly the young generation, are inspired by his attachment to the values of culture.
We became heavily inspired to see his energy as president, when he made surprise visits to traditional leaders, so that when they woke up they discovered he was already in their mahangu fields with his VIPs working.
He travelled all the way from the capital city, Windhoek. In the same vein, he created the elders council to spearhead issues linked to customs and traditional values.
On his retirement, he undertook an appreciation trip to countries that hosted many Namibians, to say thank you for their contribution/support during the time of war. He visited Angola, Zambia and many other countries and encouraged that African nations must now embark on agriculture promotion, in order to improve food security through green schemes, in order to feed Africans.
Businesspeople will always remain indebted to him; his Inga Dam dream to pump water from Congo to Namibia, which today some of us are now realising, was a noble idea, given the current, persisting drought. He also championed the project to provide undisturbed power supply to Namibia, popularly known as the trans-Caprivi power interlink. He masterminded the trans-Kunene corridor, the trans-Kalahari corridor and many more.
These projects are economic marks that are associated with the leadership of Tate Nujoma.
As we celebrate his 90th birthday, as a generation that is privileged to have seen the days of harmony and peace, we must jealously guard the sovereignty of our nation.
The fundamental principle in this task is to appreciate, celebrate and cherish the diversity of our cultures, as they collectively form an identity by which we are known as Namibians.
That is humility towards one another, respect for one another, loving one another and caring for each other.
I'm therefore, calling on my fellow youth, businesspeople and Namibians from all corners of this beautiful republic to regard tribalism as an epidemic like polio, which should be kicked out of Namibia. We should never tolerate tribalism, regionalism, racism and like. Rather we must embrace one another as children of one motherland.
In the same vein, we must not identify or associate our leaders with tribes.
Leaders are not identified with tribes; they are identified with the collective nation at large.
As a country we have strong bonds that keep us together and these bonds must be taught to our children.
This will make our generation know that we are in fact one family, only separated by the geography of our motherland.
Lastly, from the NCCI northern regions and its membership, we wish Tatekulu renewed energy and strength, so that we can continue to tap from his wisdom. God bless him!
By Tomas Koneka Iindji
He describes his friend as someone with tremendous courage, who is rarely fazed by obstacles and has to be reminded sometimes that some things are not possible.
Ngavirue recalls how he met Nujoma during the early days of the liberation struggle, in the 1950s. This was when Nujoma was attending evening classes at St Barnabas Primary School in Windhoek.
“We were interested in common things, in politics and the other person with whom we shared interests was the late Clemence Kapuuo. In those days we used to read things like Kwame Nkrumah's autobiography,” he recalls.
By the time Ngavirue returned from South Africa, where he went to do a teacher's diploma, both of them were married.
Ngavirue, who left Namibia in 1961 to go into exile, recalls how Nujoma, a steadfast fighter, fought viciously for Namibians persecuted and deported during the apartheid rule.
“We were really sort of comrades/friends and when (South African apartheid prime minister) Hendrik Verwoerd appointed a commission of inquiry, there were few of us myself, Nujoma and the late Willie Kaukwetu, who volunteered to give evidence before the whole commission of inquiry. Of course there was curfew and patrols and people were scared.”
Ngavirue remembers fondly how Nujoma saw potential in everyone and how he rode on his bicycle to give moral support to a group of women who started a demonstration in the Damara section of the Old Location.
“He was that kind of person; he improved his own education, which demonstrates his strong determination and confidence in himself and his people,” said Ngavirue.
He said he was inspired by Nujoma's faith in people, even when the same people doubted themselves.
“There is for instance something I was told by the late Dr (Mosé) Tjitendero, who was a well-educated guy.
“When Nujoma called him to appoint him as the first speaker of the National Assembly, he said, 'comrade president I have always been a teacher, how can I be a speaker?' and Nujoma responded, 'comrade be serious, where was I president of a country before',” Ngavirue recalls.
Ngavirue is the Namibian government's special envoy for the 1904-08 Herero and Nama genocide and was head of the National Planning Commission (NPC) during Nujoma's tenure as head of state.
Ngavirue established The South West News, a newspaper printed in English, Afrikaans, Otjiherero and Oshiwambo.
Ngavirue and the late Emil Appolus were the first editors of the publication and later played a prominent role in the South West African National Union (Swanu).
Ngavirue was previously Namibia's ambassador to the European Union, as well as to Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
On 12 May 2019, Founding President Dr Sam Nujoma will be 90 years old.
This milestone of his life will fittingly be celebrated at his birthplace at Etunda village in the Ongandjera district of the Omusati Region.
It will, undoubtedly, be a special day to him and to his beloved family.
It is remarkable that this greatest African statesman decided to celebrate his 90th birthday in the place of his humble beginnings.
I see this as a very significant and worthwhile lesson to be emulated by the present and future generations of Namibians, and indeed Africans.
It is possible for every African family to have a child with the qualities of Sam Nujoma.
It has been said that a good tree produces good fruit.
It means, however, that such a tree must be nurtured properly. In order for Namibia to raise children with qualities of Sam Nujoma, it would require proper nurturing.
This must include tapping into the wisdom of exemplary elders in our own families, in our own villages and in our own regions.
Sam Nujoma has the character traits of humility, tenacity, fearlessness, steadfastness, hard work, patriotism, dedication and commitment, as well as respect for cultural values, which he has always been willing to share with young people.
He has done so during the liberation struggle and over the past 29 years of an independent Namibia.
As the adage says: It takes a village to raise a child. Sam Nujoma is a product of the village upbringing in his generation.
The lessons to be derived from the life of Sam Nujoma therefore requires a society moulded together to impart moral values to our young people.
This teaching requires the participation of all stakeholders.
In my view, it is the duty of society, inclusive of all institutions in it, such as NBC, MTC, One Africa Television, MultiChoice Namibia, Telecom and modern media platforms to teach and inculcate good values in our children.
Of what use is it that children watch cartoons that don’t resemble them or listen to music that has no relevance to them, or watch movies that are designed to denigrate the humanity of an African person.
Why can’t the visual and audio media outlets be a modern fireplace for good and patriotic values to be instilled in our children and youth?
I believe, for Sam Nujoma, this 90th birthday is therefore a manifestation of a life well-lived and a dream fulfilled - namely a free and independent Namibia! Sam Nujoma, in this respect, espouses the ideology and legacy of self-reliance and uncompromising patriotism, which should be told around fires all over Namibia and on all media platforms, including in books. It is well-known that he led the liberation struggle with all its difficulties.
He founded the Republic of Namibia with all its challenges, but never gave up.
As Namibia’s first black president, Sam Nujoma was dedicated and committed to nation-building through prioritising education and health.
The University of Namibia (Unam) was founded, and its expansion to include faculties of engineering and medicine, etc. are mostly due to his visionary leadership and patriotic vision. In fact, he went back to school after leaving office and completed his master’s degree in geology.
To the young people of Namibia, wherever you are on 12 May 2019, take a moment to reflect on what possible lessons you can learn from the 90 years of Sam Nujoma’s exemplary life.
He grew up just like many of you. He decided to live a life free from alcohol or drug abuse.
He decided to respect women and condemn gender-based violence all his life. He challenged injustice.
He took unpopular decisions during his youth and never compromised his principles.
He had a vision of a free Namibia and never wavered pursuing its attainment.
He worked together with his fellow young people of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s for political independence.
You, the young people of the 1980s, the 1990s and of the 2000s, must also fuse together for this more difficult struggle of economic independence and economic self-reliance.
This is the message we should take all over Namibia as a lesson from Sam Nujoma’s 90th birthday.
Inspired by the energy of Sam Nujoma, you should patriotically unite as Africans and as Namibians every day.
Shun the retrogressive vices of tribalism, sexism, ethnicity, corruption, racism and in all 121 constituencies of Namibia. Be advocates of social justice and nation-building, without fail.
At all material times, remain focused and dedicated to a united Namibia that has its own skilled workforce and adequately qualified patriots in all fields of human development.
In the final analysis it is no longer the generation of Sam Nujoma that want to live 90 more years. It is you, the young people of Namibia and Africa. May God bless you with long life, so you reach the age of 90 years and beyond! I pray that each of you will become a Sam Nujoma in your family, village, region, country and continent.
After 29 years in exile, he returned to Namibia in September 1989 to lead Swapo to victory in the UN-supervised elections that paved the way for independence.
The Constituent Assembly, elected in November 1989, chose him as Namibia's first President and he was sworn in on Independence Day, March 21 1990. In Namibia's first presidential election in 1994 he won 74 percent of the vote. Five years later, after the Constitution was changed to allow Nujoma to stand for a third term, his share of the vote increased to 77 percent, slightly in excess of Swapo's popularity. He finished his third term in office in March 2005 and handed over power to his preferred successor, Hifikepunye Pohamba. Two years later he stood down as President of the ruling party.
Nujoma was born at Etunda in the Omusati region on May 12 1929. He spent much of his early childhood looking after his siblings and tending to the family's cattle. Educational opportunities were limited. He started attending a Finnish missionary school at Okahao when he was ten and completed Standard Six. In 1946, when he was 17, he went to live with an aunt in Walvis Bay, where he worked in a general store and then at a whaling station. The young Nujoma moved to Windhoek in 1949 and started work as a cleaner for the South African Railways (SAR), while attending night classes and undertaking a correspondence course, mainly with the aim of improving his English.
He married Kovambo Katjimune in 1956 and the couple were to have three sons and a daughter, all born before Nujoma went into exile in early 1960 (two decades elapsed before his wife joined him abroad). In the late 1950s Nujoma's political outlook was shaped by his work experiences, his awareness of the contract labour system, and his increasing knowledge of the independence campaigns across Africa. In 1957, at the age of 29, he resigned from SAR so he could devote more time to politics.
From OPO to Swapo
On April 19 1959 Ovamboland People's Organisation (OPO) was formed with the dual aims of ending the contract labour system and having the then South West Africa placed under a UN trusteeship. Nujoma was the OPO's first and only president. During the next year Nujoma travelled the country, often in secret, to spread the word about OPO.
In September 1959 he joined the executive committee of the South West Africa National Union (Swanu), which at the time was seen as an umbrella body for anti-colonial resistance groups, including OPO. Nujoma was at the forefront of the campaign against the forced removal of inhabitants of Windhoek's Old Location to Katutura. Matters came to a head on December 10 1959 when the police opened fire on a crowd of protesters, killing 12 people.
In the wake of the shootings, Nujoma faced the threat of deportation to the north of the country as the authorities clamped down on the incipient nationalist movement. In February 1960 OPO decided that Nujoma should leave the country to join those Namibians already lobbying at the UN for Namibia's self-determination. Nujoma had already petitioned the UN through letters also signed by Oerero Chief Hosea Kutako and Nama Chief Samuel Witbooi.
Nujoma left Namibia on February 29 1960, crossing into Botswana (then Bechuanaland) and from there, using the false name of David Chipinga, travelling to Bulawayo by train. He flew from Bulawayo, then in Southern Rhodesia, to Salisbury (now Harare) and on to Ndola. Finally he arrived in Mbeya in eastern Tanzania, which was still the British colony of Tanganyika, on March 21 1960. While in Tanzania he received permission to address the UN Committee on South West Africa in New York.
Nujoma arrived in independent Ghana in April 1960 and met President Kwame Nkrumah, among other African leaders. His early encounters with the likes of Nkrumah and Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt left a lasting impression and informed his pan-African outlook. From Ghana he moved to Liberia where the decision was taken to give OPO a national character by changing its name to the South West Africa People's Organisation (Swapo). Nujoma was confirmed as president of the reconstituted movement. He arrived in New York in June and stayed for the rest of the year. He petitioned the UN several times, arguing that South West Africa should be given its independence by 1963 at the latest.
In early 1961 Nujoma returned to Tanzania, from where he and a small group of activists would develop Swapo into an international force within a decade. As the only Namibian in Dar es Salaam, Nujoma looked for support from other African nationalists and received strong backing from Julius Nyerere, the future leader of the East African country.
Nujoma established Swapo's Provisional HQ in Dar es Salaam and arranged scholarships and military training for Namibians who had started to join him there. Among the first arrivals were Simon Mzee Kaukungwa, Mosé Tjitendero, Hifikepunye Pohamba and Nickey Iyambo. He also attended numerous international conferences and his diplomatic forays started to pay off when the OAU recognised Swapo in 1965. From the early 1960s Swapo planned to launch an armed struggle. Nujoma himself procured the first weapons from Algeria. Before the fighting commenced, Nujoma, accompanied by Pohamba, decided to challenge the South African assertion that they were in self-imposed exile by returning to Windhoek. They flew in on March 21 1966, only to be arrested on arrival and deported sixteen hours later.
On August 26 1966 the first armed clash of the liberation struggle took place when the South African police attacked Swapo combatants who had set up a camp at Omugulu-gOmbashe. At the end of 1969 Nujoma was re-affirmed as Swapo President at the Tanga Consultative Conference in Tanzania.
In the late 1960s Nujoma continued his diplomatic rounds as Swapo set up offices across Africa, Europe and the Americas. Although ostensibly based in Zambia from the early 1970s (after Swapo moved its HQ to Lusaka), Nujoma was living out of a suitcase for much of the time.
He acknowledged in his autobiography that he “spent a large part of each year in hotel rooms and conference halls” (Where Others Wavered, Nujoma 2001: 198). A diplomatic breakthrough came in October 1971 when Nujoma became the first African liberation movement leader to address the UN Security Council. This international campaigning bore further fruit at the end of 1973 when the UN General Assembly recognised Swapo as the “authentic representative of the Namibian people”.
In 1975 one of Namibia's earliest petitioners at the UN, Jariretundu Kozonguizi, attributed Swapo's success on the world stage to Nujoma's dynamism: “Their [Swapo's] single advantage has been in the single-mindedness and presence in their lobby of the person of their President. It is not an exaggeration to say that during the last 15 years he had hardly spent a month in one place” (quoted in Nujoma 2001: 243).
In 1974 the Portuguese empire collapsed and Namibia's border with Angola opened up. Nujoma recognised that this paved the way for major changes in the way the war was being fought and over the next two years Swapo's military campaign shifted its base from Zambia to Angola. The opening of the border enabled thousands of Swapo supporters to stream out of Namibia to join the movement in exile. Nujoma's three sons were among those who arrived in Zambia (his daughter had died while still an infant).
The sudden upsurge in the numbers leaving the country precipitated a major challenge to Nujoma's authority. Among the exodus were Swapo Youth League (SYL) activists who arrived in Zambia with high expectations and were soon seeking representation in Swapo's structures and a congress to review the movement's progress. Their demands coincided with unrest among People's Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan) recruits in Western Zambia who complained of logistical problems and wanted better food and more weapons. The Swapo leadership called in the Zambian army to put down the rebellion. Several SYL activists and some well-known Swapo leaders such as Andreas Shipanga were arrested in Lusaka and ultimately sent to Tanzania, where they were imprisoned until 1977. Over a thousand Plan combatants were held at the Mboroma camp near Kabwe – an unknown number were killed, while the rest eventually opted either to rejoin Swapo or leave the movement.
Nujoma put the blame for the crisis on the shoulders of Shipanga and other unknown “infiltrators” ( Nujoma 2001: 246). In the 1980s hundreds of Namibians who joined Swapo in exile would also be accused of being enemy agents. They were detained and tortured at Lubango in southern Angola by Swapo's security apparatus. Even Nujoma's wife, Kovambo, was eventually caught up in the paranoia about enemy infiltration and placed under house arrest at Lubango in 1988. The former detainees have accused Nujoma of failing to challenge the security chiefs within Swapo, including the reviled 'Butcher of Lubango', Solomon Hawala (who Nujoma later appointed as the head of the Namibian Defence Force). Nujoma visited the detention camps but ignored the prisoners' complaints of torture and mistreatment.
In the late 1970s Nujoma led the Swapo delegation to talks with the Western Contact Group (West Germany, Britain, France, USA and Canada) about proposals that would eventually become UN Security Council Resolution 435, passed in September 1978. While agreement on Resolution 435, which embodied the plan for free and fair elections in Namibia, was undoubtedly a diplomatic coup, its implementation became bogged down for another ten years. South African delaying tactics and the US Reagan administration's decision to link a Cuban withdrawal from Angola to Namibia independence frustrated hopes of an immediate settlement and it was not until September 14 1989 that Nujoma returned to a hero's welcome from Swapo supporters at Windhoek's international airport.
Nujoma's long exile, rather than diminishing his importance inside Namibia, had resulted in him becoming a near-mythic figure for many. He was greeted at the airport by his 89-year-old mother (Helvi Mpingana Kondombolo, who died in 2008) and the rest of the Swapo leadership. He immediately hit the campaign trail, as the UN-supervised elections were only two months away.
Swapo's success in that initial election (gaining 57 percent support) has been eclipsed by its share of the vote since then. Nujoma's approach to politics has been pragmatic rather than ideological. While he has been at pains to give credit to the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc for aiding Swapo during the struggle, he has also been keen to point out that he was never a Marxist-Leninist and that perceptions of Swapo as a communist movement were wrongheaded.
At independence he declared a policy of national reconciliation and his first Cabinet reflected a policy of 'One Namibia, One Nation' rather than hardline Swapo politics (including opposition members as deputy ministers and whites no previously closely associated with the ruling party). The policy undoubtedly helped consolidate peace in Namibia - although critics would argue that ultimately it led to only limited land reform and a lack of radical measures to address inequality and poverty that resulted from apartheid colonialism. One of the abiding themes in his speeches after independence has been his belief in pan-Africanism and the quest against imperialism. Many of his words echo the nationalist statements he made on behalf of Swapo some 40 years ago. In 1998 Nujoma came to the defence of DRC President Laurent Kabila when his rule came under threat from rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Namibian, Angolan and Zimbabwean troops helped Kabila fend off the attacks – a move which Nujoma saw as defending the DRC's sovereignty against outside interference. Equally controversial was his decision to allow Angolan troops to launch attacks in the late 1990s from within Namibia on the rebel movement Unita led by Jonas Savimbi.
Nujoma commands great loyalty and finds it hard to tolerate anything that might be seen as disloyalty. Those who have crossed him are liable to join his list of traitors – which includes Shipanga, Muyongo, and Savimbi.
Nujoma's presidency, especially from the mid-1990s onwards, was peppered with angry outbursts – during which 'homosexuals', 'Boers', and 'imperialists' were often lambasted. Such attacks and his close relationship with President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe occupied many of the column inches about Namibia in the international press, which often portrayed Nujoma as a proto-Mugabe figure, even though there were major differences between the two countries' land policies and approaches to human rights.
While he is known for his sharp rejection of those he perceives as undermining Swapo, Namibia, or Africa, he has also gone to great trouble to keep different interest groups on board – within the party structures, Cabinet, and parliament. Very few ministers were dropped, although the dismissals of Hage Geingob in 2002 and Hidipo Hamutenya in 2004 did indicate that even senior party figures could fall into disfavour if they were seen to be challenging Nujoma's will on crucial issues. It is difficult to separate Nujoma's personal story from the history of Swapo and the struggle for Namibian independence. Attempts to uncover the private Nujoma have never revealed much more than that his favourite books are ones that deal with politics and economics (he never reads fiction, saying it is a waste of time) and that liberation songs from the struggle are his music of choice. During his time in State House, his shortwave radio was never far from his side – tuned into the NBC and news broadcasts from around the world, reflecting how he kept in touch during the struggle years.
Nujoma's formidable energy and abstemiousness (he spurns luxurious living) helped win him levels of support that went much wider than Swapo's core base. His willingness to get his hands dirty in the cause of development also broadened his appeal.
His trademark dynamism remained undimmed during his 15 years as head of state, as can be witnessed from his personal involvement in the construction of the Tsumeb-Oshikango railway line during his last term in office.
Once it was clear that he had decided not to seek another term in office, Nujoma set his sights on ensuring that his chosen successor, Hifikepunye Pohamba, would win the nomination to be Swapo's presidential candidate in the 2004 elections. Swapo decided to hold a special congress to select a candidate from three contenders – Pohamba, Hamutenya and Nahas Angula – in May 2004. In a move that would open up faultlines in the party, Nujoma sacked Hamutenya as his Foreign Minister just days before the congress.
The effect of the sacking was to diminish Hamutenya's chances of overcoming Nujoma's chosen candidate. In the end Pohamba won the nomination after a second round of voting and would cruise to victory in the presidential elections later in the year.
In 2001, his autobiography, Where Others Wavered: My Life in Swapo and My Participation in the Liberation Struggle of Namibia, was published by Panaf. In 2007 a film based on the book was released.
He served as the Chancellor of the University of Namibia (Unam) from1993 until 2011. In late 2005, Nujoma was accorded the official title 'Founding Father of the Namibian Nation' through an Act of parliament. In the same year, the Sam Nujoma Foundation was set up in his honour. In 2009, Nujoma received a master's degree in Geology from the University of Namibia.
Although the amount of political influence Nujoma has wielded after his time in power is still a matter of debate, he has said very little in public regarding the state of the nation or Swapo's internal politics.
In 2012 he did not publicly endorse any candidate at a congress to choose a new Swapo presidential candidate.
He took the same stance at the 2017 Swapo congress, declining to explicitly endorse candidates. In 2015, President Geingob asked Nujoma to serve on the new presidential advisory council.
* Adapted and updated from the Guide to Namibian Politics by Graham Hopwood
With a long list of musical credits to his name, Mo Fire's musical contribution is quite the spectacle to look at and it is purely the music that has given him the attention and nothing else. In an interview with tjil, the producer shared that he started doing music when he was 11. “My aunt who used to live in the States bought me a mini keyboard when I was 11. It was very small but that is where I learned how to play keyboard and I have not looked back since,” he shared.
He describes his instrumentals as tradition and that is what makes them stand out. “If you listen to songs I have produced for One Blood for instance, you will notice that it is not entirely Oviritie, pop or disco. It has those influences but it is still different. We are trying to create a new genre, one song at a time,” said Blenge Mo Fire.
He released his debut album last year titled Don't Hustle a Hustler. The album has songs with features from reigning Male Artist of the Year Kalux, Ethnix, One Blood and more. “The genre I am trying to create is called Namibian music and my album is a taste of that,” he shared.
Blenge Mo Fire told tjil that he is happy with how his debut album is being received and hopes to follow it with another project soon. His goal is to expand his reach beyond the Ovahahero community. “My music and the work I have done with other artists is quite popular among the Ovaherero but I want to expand my reach. I performed in Botswana last week and I was impressed to find out how my music is doing that side,” he said.
He added that his decision to put out an album was inspired by the lack of recognition music producers get for their work. He mentioned that over the years producers have sort of only remained in the background, but there is this new found energy that finds producers becoming artists themselves. Asked what have been some of the challenges he has had to conquer to get where he is today, and how he has envisioned himself fitting into the game; the producer shared that he fails to understand music consumers in Namibia. “I was supposed to blow up a long time ago. There are songs I made in the past that I thought were going to get me recognition but those songs did not become hits; but the songs we sort of just freestyled are the ones that go on to become hits. It's a weird dynamic,” he said.
Another hurdle he pointed out was the lack of collaborations among artists. Blenge Mo Fire said there are certain artists who are individualistic and do not take a collective approach when making music. “These are some of the artists I believe can create timeless music with me and other producers, but we do not get to do so because we don't collaborate enough.”
He called on music fans to stop mocking artists when they dream big, stating that it delays progress and kills their confidence.
“I want to take it far. I want to win a Grammy. As Namibians we need to start having confidence in our music and be fearless to dream big because our music is good. If we stay true to our sound and not put out what is already out there, we will stand out and we will be noticed. We just need the support of our own people,” he added.
No validation opens with Anything is Possible, which sees the rapper re-affirming the fact that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. “You can be a lawyer,” he raps.
The body of work has 12 tracks with features from Nashawn, Princelou Faragama and Swart Baster.
On track three Family Matters, more personal stories are being shared by Phred on a really soulful production. A pleasantly good fit for him, and the melodic instrumentals, has him dropping several jewels in terms of heartfelt and candid lines about his ever-changing life over the years. Family Matters is my personal favourite on the album.
On Rapping for Girls, he delves into his love life. This is the song that Phred recently chose as the next single off the album, and it's obvious to understand why he made this move. Rapping for Girls is a song that is somewhat different from the type of singles the rapper has previously promoted.
We are provided with a truly honest and mature perspective of what Phred Got1 perceives to be “real love”.
This is really Phred Got1 on his grown man steez right here, so if you're still in your 'I'm just trying to hit it and quit it' phase, then this might not necessarily resonate with your commitment issues.
Another song to look forward to is Boss Man, a phrase he affectionately describes himself as.
The rapper once again reveals the extent of the hip-hop influence on his music by echoing the philosophy he preached for a large part of his career - being a boss.
Hey, the dude obviously likes him some financial freedom and you can never be mad at that.
His feature with Blvc Boxx signee Princelou Faragama is solid. On this song the rappers deliver impressive verses touching on various subjects on the hip-hop business.
Another thing I can't be mad at is the production on this song, my goodness! Those ice cold synths all over the track really let you zone into it, and that live baseline cannot be ignored either. It is an episode for real.
The downfall to this body of work is that it lacks female representation.
There are certain hooks on the album that I believe would have sounded much better if a female vocalist did the chorus.
All in all, No Validation is a good debut album, not entirely perfect but I cannot wait to see how the project will age. Other single-worthy songs on the album include; Mah Baby, Celebrate and TIE.
Fashion, photography, beauty, philanthropy, entertainment - you name it - the arts scene has grown immensely over the past two decades.
This growth is the result of the constant investment and dedication, and the perseverance of those who took it upon themselves to not only establish an identity for Namibian arts, but also to make sure that it reaches its highest potential.
It is against this background that a platform like the SYMLAFA was created, in order to celebrate industry creatives, as well as movers and shakers.
This year the organisers have promised to top the first and second editions of the awards.
“Last year we brought you 'Vintage with a touch of glam', for our inaugural show we had 'Diamonds are forever' and for this year the theme for the awards is 'African royalty: A night with emperors and empresses' - not to be confused with African print,” the organisers said in a media release.
“We want people to channel their inner Queen Nzinga and Emperor Haile Selassie. For this year's night of magic and celebration of our diamonds, all will again lead to the National Theatre Namibia on 7 September. While we had considered some changes to the categories, and after thorough discussions with industry experts, the organisers have decided to keep the categories as is.”
How entries work
All those in the industry are invited and encouraged to enter. A panel of industry experts will then be tasked with vetting and judging the entries and selecting the top four nominees in each category.
The nominees will be presented to the public, who will then vote for their favourite personality.
The Diamond Award winner will be selected by the organising committee, with the assistance of industry experts. The aim of the awards remains giving the audience and the Namibian nation a state-of-the-art event. “This year is no exception, as we plan to top last year.”
There are a number of exciting surprises in the pipeline, including so-called “mega partnerships”, which will be shared in the run-up to the awards; so watch this space.
For further information, queries or clarification, do not hesitate to contact Ndapewoshali Shapwanale at +264 81 22 64 509 or Helena Ngaifiwa at +264 81 71 00 204.
My point is it does not matter which category you choose to align yourself with, it is necessary to be creative and entertain. You can be informative and motivate, but that should not stop you from being creative.
We have a lot of artists – old- and new-school - who ignore many things when performing live or recording, which should be part of creative process, namely: the tone of the song. I have to believe you and see that you know and believe what you are talking about. A lot of artists, especially rappers, excel in toning the song if they express anger. However, you can be angry without shouting and cursing and as a listener I will still hear the anger. Every feeling or emotion has its own tone - happy, desperate, angry, concerned, worried and so on, which can be in sync with the beat.
Secondly, the rhythm with which you decide to flow with may change from time to time, depending on the rhyme scheme you use. Most artists master the rhyme part, forgetting they have to choose the perfect rhythm and the rhyme should be in sync with the beat or instrumentals played. You may not rhyme but rhythm is essential.
Thirdly, beat selection. Whether you are making an album, EP, mixtape or just a single - beat selection is important. You should know when an instrumental will overpower or suppress what you want to say. Fourth, with vocals there are two things I can say about them: projection and lyrical content. With projection it is either you are in studio, or performing live. I had a chat with Ann Singer last week who is a good live performer. She emphasised that you should look how you project certain words or phrases to emphasise something. With lyrical content one should know what you are talking about. I have written loads of album reviews and I have noticed that there are few artists who stick to the concept, getting carried away with punch lines, metaphors and similes. Know what you are talking about and stick to it, creatively though. Lastly when you are in front of a crowd delivering your artistic material, please perform and not just recite lyrics from your songs or album and present them. This column was inspired by the conversations I had with radio compilers when I was doing research on how to get your song played on radio - which is another insightful piece you should look forward to in this edition.
Among those conversations, another interesting discussion that came up was how the media gets a lot of backlash from upcoming artists for apparently always covering the same artists. We are often reminded of how they want to blow up so badly and how they are definitely better than a lot of the artists we consider top musicians in the country. Maybe that is true; maybe you are better than the most celebrated artists and I honestly feel your pain. For real though, it is rough out here.
Although it may appear as though the new celebrated herd of artists found overnight success and have not moved from their positions since then, I will tell you as someone who has been documenting the culture for quite some time now, that's not the case. A lot of these artists' stories go back years before their success and are no different from yours. Phred Got1 has been independent ever since I have known him; he probably makes his own beats and scrambles to shoot his own music videos. Vikta Juiceboy has been postponing giving us visuals to his breakout hit Meriam Kaxuxwena because he wants to have a proper budget for the video and the model the song is named after is always on the go. I could go on and on. The point is, this music thing is not easy and no one can say whether you will make it or not, but I can say that it's the journey that separates the casual artists from the ones who deserve to be here.
She has already established herself musically in the entertainment scene. Over the years the quality and general artistic direction she's been moving with has diversified. She opened up to tjil on what she went through in that defining moment that solidified her desire to pursue a career in music, and radio presenting.
The performer and radio personality shared that she has always loved music since she was a little girl. “But radio came first. I auditioned for Unam Radio in 2013, not really expecting to get in, but I did. Since then, my career as a radio presenter soared to heights I didn't expect.
“It is through being on radio and the opportunity it allowed me to meet several artists, who today are household names; these encounters made me realise that maybe it's time I embark on my own musical journey,” said Treza.
She decided to take a leap of faith and released her debut single You Said in August 2018. She has since gone to become Song Night ambassador. Song Night is a platform that develops new vocalists in a mentorship programme. “Song Night brings promising vocalists to stage to gain experience. The show was launched in March 2011.”
Speaking on how her relationship with Song Night came about, Treza said: “It is actually a funny story. I auditioned for Song Night in 2016, but didn't get through. I was so discouraged that I didn't go back again for a while.”
In 2017 she decided to give it another try. This time she was more determined to get in, and guess what? She got in. “I was super-excited and nervous at the same time. But my first time on the Song Night stage was magical,” Treza recalled.
She mentioned that Lize Ehlers helped her a lot with every performance and believed in her so much that she and the sponsors of Song Night saw it fitting to name her ambassador of the show. “And what an honour it has been thus far,” she said proudly.
From radio host, being a singer and then becoming the Song Night ambassador, tjil was eager to find out what developments Treza has gone through to reach the level that she's playing at right now. She attributes her growth to constant practice. She said she has become a better performer because of Song Night and the leadership of Lize Ehlers.
“Working on myself and my art; because of this my confidence in my art has also improved. This has given me that leeway to express myself more openly and honestly through my music,” she said.
As an artist Treza feels it's important to be versatile and try out different sounds and styles. She hopes to deliver a sound that is unique and authentic but still keep true to her artistry.
“I'm very much an R&B girl, because I'm a lover not a fighter.” In her first single she sings about heartbreak, love and moving on. She revealed that much of what she has written both in the past and present is based on her experience with love.
“I often find myself humming to a tune that's playing in my head, and immediately record it on my phone. I have never been able to just sit down and write a song. Inspiration usually comes from my surroundings, what I see, feel and hear – that is how I come up with new song ideas.”
Treza maintains that she is still growing into the artist she is meant to be. She believes there is still so much to learn, and she is eager to learn everything needed to evolve and reach her full potential. Growing up she listened to a lot of Aaliyah, Chris Brown and Beyoncé amongst others. “I was drawn to their commitment and just their overall showmanship.”
She exclusively announced to tjil that plans to package her music into a fully-fledged body of work are at an advanced stage.
“I will be featured at Night under the Stars in July, and I plan on dropping my EP there.
“I know folks have been wondering why I've been so quiet when it comes to new music, but as most artists know, producing and writing new music is a process. Good music takes time, and all I can say is come through in July,” she announced.
Still the sector not only directly employs more than 16 000, but indirectly supports more than 100 000 jobs.
According to report by Chamber of Mines of Namibia president Zebra Kasete, presented at the organisation's annual general meeting, the industry directly employed 16 221 individuals last year, compared to the direct employment of 16 973 individuals in 2017.
In 2018 direct employment consisted of 9 042 permanent employees, 498 temporary employees and 6 681 contractors.
“Using a mining multiplier of seven, the industry created 113 547 jobs,” Kasete said.
The largest portion of this indirect job-creation is through local supply chains.
“The mining industry was one of the few sectors to record a positive growth rate in 2018 and was the best performing sector,” said Kasete.
According to the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) the sector grew by 22% in 2018, in comparison to a growth rate of 13.3% in 2017.
Mining contributed 14% to GDP in 2018, compared to 11% in 2017.
Kasete said the strong performance was the result of production increases in uranium and diamonds, which grew by 64.8% and 13.7%, respectively.
“Increases in uranium output were propelled by the ramping up of operations at Husab mine and increased production from Rössing, despite a stagnant uranium market and low prices for the first half of the year,” he said.
Diamond production was driven by improved output from Namdeb and Debmarine's operations.
According to Kasete a positive growth rate, however, did not mean plain sailing for the whole sector in 2018.
He said the industry unfortunately suffered 822 retrenchments as a result of volatile mineral commodity markets in the second half of the year and a stagnantly low uranium price in the last nine years.
“The Chamber of Mines regrets the loss of jobs in the industry.
“However this is in conjunction with the understanding that successes and failures of mining operations are determined by mineral commodity price cycles, which are a result of market forces beyond our control.”
Kasete said downsizing and retrenchments are, therefore, a last port of call during mineral commodity price downturns.
He said the re-opening of some old mines and the development of another new cement plant with limestone mining operations created 710 new jobs, resulting in net job losses of 112.
According to Kasete the mining industry generated N$33.5 billion in revenue last year through the sale of mineral products, of which 40% was spent on goods and services from local suppliers.
“It is through this linkage where the mining industry has the greatest impact on local economic development, primarily in job-creation.”
He said the mining industry also makes a sizeable contribution to the fiscus, on average generating around 7% of government income.
In 2018 the sector paid N$1.707 billion in corporate taxes, N$2.063 billion in royalties and N$214 million in export levies.
Fixed investment by the industry declined by 26%, from N$5.6 billion in 2011 to N$4.14 billion in 2018.
“This decline in recent years came off a very high base in the period from 2013 to 2016, which saw the simultaneous development of three major mines.
Currently there are no new projects of the same magnitude in development. However, investments are being made into the re-opening of old mines,” said Kasete.
Exploration expenditure recorded a modest increase of 2%, from N$562.1 million in 2017 to N$573.3 million in 2018.
Kasete said the bulk of this exploration was by mining companies to expand existing resources, while exploration expenditure by exploration and development companies declined from N$303.8 million in 2017 to N$205.6 million in 2018.
Sat-Com (Pty) Ltd was established in 1991 with the aim of continuously gaining market share in the highly competitive global military high-tech radio communication environment. The company designs and manufactures sophisticated radio communication devices which have high international sale potential. Economic growth, unemployment reduction, skills transfer, education and training, and ultimately poverty alleviation in the country, are high areas that can be improved by the company’s international sales, and thus is part of their aims.
With a firm belief in multicultural equal opportunity provision, Sat-Com is currently staffed by 40 employees who all make valuable contributions towards the betterment of the company. This company is not a commercial business entity that deals with the public. Their unique products are aimed at international military markets, ultimately meaning they would only have one customer per country.
For their international markets, Sat-Com has two full-time marketing professionals who travel the world, showcasing their products at exhibitions and to customers, along with professional agents in various countries who offer their clients technical support and training. The private limited company often requests the opportunity to do demonstrations in a respective country, when contacted by a potential client in that area.
The company is 100% Namibian-owned and designs state-of-the-art, sought-after military communication products.
It designs and implements turnkey communication and electronic solutions for defence industries across the globe. Most of their advanced product offerings are unique in the global marketplace. Huge progress has been made by the research and development team in the design and production of world-class communication systems.
The company’s biggest pride is their multi-brand radio systems, which they built from scratch in their in-house state-of-the-art manufacturing plant. These multi-role radios allow operators to communicate with any other airborne radios or those on land or in the sea, for ultimate mission flexibility. The brand of radios include the Leopard1, which is a compact, rugged and lightweight wideband military manpack radio. The Africal 2 is a dual power amplifier and the Cheetah 3 is a rugged and compact lightweight manpack radio. These all offer uncompromised communication for tactical missions.
Set-Com’s long-term goal is to continue research and development activities, as well grow their human capital. The pride of the team of employees at the firm lies mainly in the products they have designed and manufactured, as well as the uniqueness of this business type.
Currently, the biggest problem facing Sat-Com is the economic and financial downturn, as well as instability in the global market. The scale of growth of the military sector was mainly due to demand created by government, which makes them a key factor in this market. Considering that a large part of the business is dependent on government contracts, makes the company very vulnerable to extreme and sudden changes in government expenditure.
The communication device manufacturers maintain strong connections with their clients by delivering innovative and cutting-edge products. They rely strongly on the in-house development of their products, from the concept to the final product. This process is carefully carried out by a team of product designers, software engineers, system designers, mechanical/electrical engineers and a hardworking mechanical team, which uses laser cutters, milling machines as well as power-coating machines to produce their flagship products in-house.
Their production team makes sure that customer requirements are met and that all tasks are executed diligently and professionally. Lastly, the dedicated sales and marketing team excels at professional and friendly customer service and travels worldwide to promote the products. Furthermore, the finance and administration team guarantees skilled organisation among employees and the entire company.
Sat-Com prides itself on employing self-motivated, professional engineers, supported by a dedicated manufacturing team. In addition to that, opportunities for growth are offered in the company, which also motivates its employees to pursue and further their education.
Swapo, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), the All People's Party (APP), and the Congress of Democrats (CoD) have registered candidates, while a youthful independent candidate is also taking part. The deadline for registration of candidates was this past Monday.
Swapo is represented by Leonard Negonga, while Vincent Ndjoba is the APP candidate.
The PDM has selected Johannes Martin as its candidate, while Mandume Andreas Tuhafeni is the CoD candidate. The four are joined in the contest by 27-year-old independent candidate Angelina Immanuel.
The by-election was necessitated by the appointment of councillor Elia Irimari as the new Oshana regional governor by President Hage Geingob.
In the last regional authority elections in 2015, Irimari convincingly defeated the then DTA and RDP candidates after receiving 3 918 votes, compared to Vincent Asser of DTA (232) and Anna Nikanor of the RDP who garnered a measly 117 votes.
Only 4 267 of the registered 15 140 voters cast their ballots, representing a voter turnout of just 28.2%.
ECN returning officer Rauna Nkandi told Namibian Sun 1 255 people have registered during the supplementary registration period. She could, however, not provide the number of people on the voter's roll.
According to the president of the Chamber of Mines of Namibia, Zebra Kasete, the agreement was entered into in November 2018.
“While this transaction has received widespread criticism in the local media, the sale will underpin continuation of operations at Rössing mine, especially in a low uranium price environment,” said Kasete.
Kasete listed the highlights of the mining industry in Namibia in his report and said that despite job losses in the mining sector, the redevelopment of two old mines and the construction of a cement plant have helped to reabsorb some of the retrenched workers.
He said the reopening of the Namib Lead and Zinc Mine at an investment of US$21.4 million made significant progress in 2018 with first production expected in the second quarter of this year.
“Upon completion the mine will create 150 new jobs in the sector,” said Kasete.
The old Uis tin mine is being redeveloped by AfriTin Mining for which a phase one processing plant has been constructed.
Furthermore the new cement plant owned by Whale Rock Cement was completed last year and has commenced with the mining of limestone and cement production.
According to Kasete the operation will create 450 new permanent jobs in the industry.
But a persistently depressed uranium market continued to jeopardise operations at the Langer Heinrich mine, eventually resulting in Paladin's decision to place the mine on care and maintenance in May last year. Subsequently 600 employees were retrenched.
However a concept study conducted towards the end of last year examined a possible early restart of Langer Heinrich and delivered positive results indicating multiple options to lower costs and sustain cost competiveness.
The results have prompted Paladin to initiate prefeasibility studies, focusing on optimisation areas and will also examine Langer Heinrich's capacity to produce vanadium as a saleable co-product and thereby increase the projects long term value.
This will position the mine for possible early re-start should there be a substantial improvement in the uranium price.
Falling lithium prices in the second half of last year negatively affected the profitability of Desert Lion operations.
Consequently Desert Lion suspended operations at the old Rubikon and Helikon mines just outside Karibib. The company was producing lithium concentrate from stockpiled ore for shipment to China through an off-take agreement with the buyer.
Subsequently the company is in the process of raising capital to further develop the mine with an added contractor on site, while a preliminary economic assessment of the project was completed which reported positive project economics.
The African Tantalum operation was also producing tantalum near Warmbad with five shipments up until July last year. Unfortunately water shortages at the African Tantalum mine resulted in the operation significantly reducing production and retrenchments of 94 employees. The company embarked on an extensive drilling campaign.
The Imerys Gecko joint venture suspended production at its Okanjande Graphite mine in November 2018 and placed the operation on care and maintenance, retrenching 128 employees.
Low prices of natural graphite did not warrant continuation of operations from which the mine was producing high-quality graphite. Transportation of ore to the Okorusu processing plant, some 88 km away, was also a major contributor to high operation costs.
The move could jeopardise a similar plan by TransNamib.
According to Fin24, the deal seeks to unlock the potential of Botswana's coal reserves, estimated at 212 billion tons.
Transnet said railway expansion programmes linked to the construction of the Botswana rail network were at the execution stage.
“This particular programme, which is in the construction phase, is a step towards unlocking both Waterberg and Botswana coal. The Botswana coal reserves are estimated at 212 billion tons,” Transnet said.
“Other projects in support of this programme include the upgrade of the electrical infrastructure on the coal heavy-haul system and the construction of a second tunnel at Overvaal in Mpumalanga, among others,” it added.
Despite this development, Trans- Namib is still adamant that it is in the driving seat to implement its railway project together with Botswana Rail.
TransNamib executive Hippy Tjivikua says both companies are committed to finalising the project.
“TransNamib and Botswana Rail remain committed to the partnership and the memorandum of understanding (MoU). We are working on the modalities on how to operationalise the MoU,” he said.
The governments of Namibia and Botswana signed an agreement in March 2014 to start the joint venture, which was to see the successful construction of the Trans-Kalahari railway at a cost of N$100 billion.
The 1 500-kilometre railway was expected be completed in five years and would initially depend on exporting 90 million tonnes of coal each year from Botswana to India and China.
Sam Nande is the lodge manager at Chameleon Backpackers and has been working at establishment for close to 20 years.
This passionate and motivated employee believes hard work and passion plays an important role in any career.
Nande was born in the northern part of Namibia in the Oshikoto Region in 1968, where he completed his primary and high school career.
He started his career as a barman at a restaurant in Windhoek for five years. His journey at Chameleon Backpackers started in 1999.
“During my career I’ve met so many interesting people and seen so many places. I’ve made friends with people from all over the world and that is the part of my job that I enjoy the most,” he said.
As a lodge manager Nande is responsible for overseeing the workers and supervising and managing the lodge. Chameleon Backpackers provides training that employees can attend and Nande has been able to secure six certificates through training conducted by the Namibian Training Authority (NTA), which has helped him to move up the ranks.
He believes his employer provides staff with ways in which they can further not only their skills and experience, but also allows their careers.
“I love being able to talk to people on a daily basis. Being able to be on the move constantly, and finding ways to help tourists and promote my country, are some of the things I enjoy most in my career.”
Nande could not imagine working with any other team than the team at Chameleon Backpackers. “When I’m at Chameleon I feel at home and they are my family. Here I have the space to work without people forcing their ways on me. Here I can just be myself.” Nande plans to stay at Chameleon Backpackers until he retires.
He advises young people to expose themselves to opportunities and to actually have hands-on experience in the careers they want to pursue, instead of blindly choosing a career based on what they think it entails. “Having a diploma or degree is great, but make sure you really know what the career entails before you commit. Having practical experience allows you to make informed decisions.”