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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 1047 | 1048 | (Page 1049) | 1050 | 1051 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    Squatters keep Rundu coffers emptySquatters keep Rundu coffers empty Acting Rundu CEO Sikongo Haihambo says a collective approach is needed to address land-grabbing, which has resulted in thousands of people cheating the council out of revenue that could be used to develop the town.

    The dire situation sees the council unable to give the green light to proposals from investors and developers, because prime land is currently occupied by illegal squatters.

    This means the land cannot be surveyed and sold to generate revenue for the local authority.

    The bone of contention is that the illegal squatters say they have nowhere else to go, which means the council will have to address their relocation as well.

    Haihambo said the time has come for the various stakeholders to engage with each other and find a solution.

    “The Rundu town council cannot solve this problem alone; all stakeholders need to be on board and we must engage to solve the problem collectively,” Haihambo said.

    The impasse between the illegal squatters and the town council led to an incident last month in which the council instructed NamWater to stop supplying water to an area along the Rundu-Cuma road, where residents are occupying land illegally.

    This was seen an attempt by the council to get the illegal squatters to move, so the area could be surveyed.

    NamWater complied for five days, but eventually restored the community's water supply.

    The water utility said it had investigated the matter and resumed its supplying of water to the community, until such a time that due process is followed. Haihambo said on 24 May, the council had a meeting with the community and it was resolved that further consultations are needed in order to address the issue.

    He explained that the next meeting will take place between various leaders on a regional, traditional and political level. Haihambo said they will engage extensively in order to seek solutions to the issues at Rundu.

    KENYA KAMBOWE

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  • 06/03/19--16:00: The future begins here
  • The future begins here The future begins here Working towards his orthopaedic dream Siyabonga Ramakhutla shares his university experience at the University of Debrecen in Hungary. Siyabonga Ramakhutla





    I am a first-year medical student at the University of Debrecen in Hungary. My experience at this university has been a rollercoaster; there have been a lot of highs and lows. However, that is the beauty about it; it makes you a better and stronger person. It actually taught me to bring the best out of myself and not let anything get in my way.

    Growing up on the African continent, in the heart of Namibia, and moving to a continent in a country that is way different from mine, has come with its challenges as well. Adapting to living in the capital city of Hungary’s Northern Great Plain region has been the trickiest, because the culture and lifestyle in Debrecen is completely different to what I am used to back home.

    Nevertheless, it is nice to get to know other cultures and what makes it more interesting is that there are plenty of different nationalities here. So one does not feel like an outsider.

    The education system here is really difficult; they only want the best of the best, and for you to have a spot you should really put in the effort. It teaches us to grow up faster and to start thinking smarter and wiser. They don't allow any shortcuts, which is pretty good, because at the end of the day the amount of work you put in determines the outcome.

    The diversity at this university is crazy. You can expect to meet anyone from any part of the world. They also take a lot of pride in their sport. This university also specialises mainly in its medical school. What I like most about my university is the friendly atmosphere that surrounds you in each and every corner. I like most of the subjects they offer to students and my university is super-multinational. We have students from all over the world.

    I would advise young people that they should not let one setback determine what's still ahead. You should learn to get back up as fast as you fall.

    Did you know?

    The University of Debrecen is the oldest continuously operating institution of higher education in Hungary since 1538.

    Facts about Ramakhutla

    · He is driven.

    · He is a sporty person.

    · His has a dream of becoming an orthopaedic surgeon.

    He likes to challenge himself to know

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    Reading and writing in the modern worldReading and writing in the modern worldWhat makes you decide to read a book? The Zone investigates youth attitudes towards reading and writing and how these can be improved. Evany van Wyk

    Writing and reading has become a dreaded part of life for schoolgoing children. Somehow technology has stripped our youth of their love for literature and now there is widely spread doubt about the reading ability of Namibian youth.

    Gone are the times one used to get lost in a story world, where you would force our eyes to stay open just be able to find out how the book was going to end.

    It seems that nowadays time is spent in front of the television and our eyes glued to smartphone screens. All creative thought is being thrown out the window.

    The main question is: Are out youth able to read and write well?

    “The main objective of the National Literacy Programme was to enhance literacy amongst Namibian citizens,” says Mzingisi Gqwede, the director of adult education in the education ministry.

    According to him the prime aim was to enable members of the community - both adults and out-of-school youth - to acquire knowledge, skills and positive attitudes. This will allow them to participate in social and economic activities that may ultimately improve their lives.

    Reading and writing from a young age

    This year people are actually buying books. This is an unexpected turn of events in the 21st century, where everything seems to be about the internet. Yes, Namibia’s literacy rate has increased, with the adult literacy rate at 90.8% of the population in 2015. However, the youth literacy rate has decreased since 1991. Are people still reading for leisure purposes or is it simply because they have to? The Namibia Children Writing Competition recently took place and The Zone spoke to the founder of the competition, Ndahafa Hapulile. She started the competition hoping to promote a culture of reading and writing in Namibia.

    “I felt we were doing very little to stimulate growth, creativity and research,” says Hapulile. She added her aim was to create a platform for children to tap into their creativity and foster a relationship between themselves and literature. “The current education system does not inspire creativity, it only teaches you to memorise, consume and recite information,” said Hapulile. She also said investing in youth and adult education is a key component of strategies to promote sustainable development.

    Author tells of personal experiences

    The Zone spoke to Clarice Theys, a Namibian author who recently launched her second book. She also gave The Zone her opinion on youth interest in literature. “I think that the youth in particular and the nation as a whole, do not read as much as one would have loved them to,” says Theys. She said Namibia seems to lack well-developed national literature with a voice of its own. She longs for the day when she’ll enter a bookstore in Namibia to see that most books on the shelves are those of our own writers. “My encouragement to all aspiring writers, and even those don’t want to be writers, is to tell their stories. Seek the company of published authors and be willing to invest in your creation,” says Theys. She took it upon herself to publish her book and says it was not easy financially; thus she also wants more publishers to come forward and help young writers while they still have the dream.

    From a teenager’s point of view

    The modern teenager’s devotion to their smartphones has seriously changed how reading is perceived. Here’s how the excuses go: I really can’t read because it strains my eyes. It’s so boring, there are no pictures, etc.

    This despite the fact that looking at a screen is much more staining for the eyes. Yes, they might be more attracted to visual things, such as pictures and videos, but smartphones are making it way too easy for them to simply swipe away from something that is in words.

    Leilani Louw, a grade 11 learner at M&K Gertze High School in Rehoboth, gave The Zone a better youth perspective. Louw describes herself as a bookworm that reads a lot, whether it be for the fun of it or for educational purposes.

    She, however, has noticed her classmates are not interested in the same thing.

    “Not everyone likes reading, however, it should be seen as an investment towards more knowledge,” says Louw.

    She thinks youth interest in reading as well as writing can be revived if they are informed of the endless benefits it can mean for their future.

    Literacy, in particular, is a prerequisite for poverty reduction, human development and peace. What happens if there is absolutely no interest from the youth to gain knowledge? In order to achieve our objectives, the love for reading and writing needs to be examined and invested in.

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  • 06/03/19--16:00: Woman murdered with spade
  • Woman murdered with spadeWoman murdered with spade A man allegedly killed his ex-girlfriend with a spade and assaulted her mother at Rehoboth early yesterday morning.

    According to the police the incident occurred between 01:00 and 01:30 in the block E residential area.

    It is alleged that the suspect followed the deceased, Wilfrieda Saron (40), who was walking home with her mother and daughter after a church service.

    When they noticed that they were being followed, the grandmother told the girl to run and call her uncle.

    The suspect allegedly caught up with the women, attacked them with a spade and ran away.

    Saron died on the spot and her mother was rushed to St Mary's Hospital.

    Saron had apparently ended her relationship with the suspect a week ago and was in a new relationship.

    The suspect was arrested and the police investigation continues.

    In another incident at Rehoboth, a man allegedly set his ex-wife's house on fire on Saturday after an argument over a cellphone.

    The fire caused damage estimated at N$500 000 to the house in Block B. The suspect was arrested and the police investigation continues.

    In another incident on Friday, an 18-year-old girl was raped and assaulted in the Kanaan location in Epako, Gobabis.

    According to the police the girl was sleeping in her bedroom after she had been dropped off by friends and family. She was locked inside her bedroom because she was very drunk. It is further alleged that the suspect, who had been drinking with the victim, returned home and broke into the corrugated iron house and assaulted the victim.

    It is further alleged that the victim ran to her parents' house and the suspect followed her, caught her and raped her. Thereafter the suspect ran away. He was later arrested.

    Also on Friday a seven-year-old girl was raped by an adult man at Oshakati's Oshoopala location.

    It is alleged that the man pulled the girl into his room, locked the door and had sexual intercourse with her. The incident was reported to the police on Saturday. No arrest has been made yet.

    A 22-year-old woman was raped at Okahandja on Friday. A suspect has been arrested.

    A 51-year-old man allegedly shot a 30-year-old man with a pistol in Windhoek's Havana informal settlement on Saturday.

    It is alleged that the victim was arguing with a woman and the suspect tried to calm the victim down.

    The victim allegedly took a bottle of beer and tried to hit the suspect with it. The suspect then apparently took a pistol and shot the victim in the right leg. His condition is stable.

    The suspect was arrested after he turned himself in at the Havana mobile police station.

    Meanwhile, at Sauyemwa in Rundu a 27-year-old man was arrested on Saturday after he was found to be in possession 630 grams of dagga valued at N$6 300 and a .303 rifle with an altered serial number.

    In another incident on Friday at Okalale village in the Omusati Region, a 27-year-old man was hit over the head with a brick and sustained serious injuries. He was admitted to the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital and is in a stable condition. The suspect is known but has not been arrested.

    In a separate incident on Saturday at Okahao in the Omusati Region, a man was hit in the face with an empty bottle and sustained serious injuries. He was admitted to the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital and his condition is stable. The suspect is not known and police investigations continue.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 06/03/19--16:00: Absence delays SADC meeting
  • Absence delays SADC meetingAbsence delays SADC meetingSeveral member states fail to pitch up The opening of an important SADC meeting was postponed yesterday because of the absence of several member states. A meeting of SADC ministers responsible for agriculture, food security, fisheries and aquaculture is taking place in Windhoek this week.

    The meeting is hosted by the Namibian agriculture and fisheries ministries in coordination with SADC. The opening of the meeting had been scheduled for yesterday morning but had to be postponed because of the absence of several SADC member states.

    The executive director of the agriculture ministry, Percy Misika, said there was no quorum and therefore the meeting had to be postponed.

    According to him, 11 of the 16 SADC member states had confirmed that they would attend the meeting.

    “As it stands, only five member states are in this room,” he said yesterday morning. Misika proposed postponing the meeting to the afternoon, indicating that by that time the representatives of countries such as Zambia, Eswatini and Mauritius would have arrived in Namibia. He further said that South Africa, Angola and DRC had indicated that they would have sent representatives from their high commissions in Namibia to attend the meeting. However, none of these countries' representatives were present. Misika said the organisers would immediately contact them to ensure that they attend the meeting.

    According to a statement issued by the agriculture ministry the objective of the meeting is to review the food security situation in SADC in view of natural disasters such as drought, floods and outbreaks of trans-boundary pests and diseases.

    The meeting will also discuss the impact of climate change on ocean and coastal governance with an emphasis on protecting the marine environment and its biodiversity.

    The meeting will also consider aquaculture, inland fisheries, the impacts of illegal, unregulated and unprotected fishing, harmful fishing subsidies and the impact of pollution and climate change on fisheries in SADC.

    “Furthermore, parts of the region are currently facing a humanitarian crisis due to the impacts of two cyclones, Idai and Kenneth,” said Misika. He said the meeting would also review the implementation of the regional agricultural policy and its related programmes, which include food security, livestock, crops and fisheries.

    It will also deliberate on the sectors' contribution towards the implementation of the SADC industrialisation strategy and regional strategies on water-energy-food interconnection.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 06/03/19--16:00: Uth's healing hands
  • Uth's healing handsUth's healing hands Christiaan Uth is Keetmanshoop's resident medicine man, native nurse and shoemaker.

    Namibian Sun caught up with him at his stall and house during the second annual Nama Cultural Festival that took place over the weekend at Keetmanshoop.

    His stall was frequented by numerous visitors, who listened for hours about how he mixes his medicine, as well as his tales from when he was a young boy learning at his grandmother's feet.

    Uth, a retired teacher, said he started making traditional medicine at the age of five. He was taught by his grandmother who also taught him about being a native midwife or nurse.

    “I caught my first baby at the age of 17. My mom was the one who gave birth. I was always very curious when my grandmother did this work and so I learned. During that day I calmed my mom and even cut the umbilical cord of my little sister,” he says as tears welled up in his eyes.

    Uth, who also assisted with the birth of this second-born, 'caught' his last baby when he was a young teacher at Don Bosco Primary school in Keetmanshoop in 1977.

    He said his real passion and love is traditional medicine and healing people who come to him for traditional massages.

    Uth said he has helped more than three couples with fertility problems and still treats people with ailments on a daily basis.

    His medicine includes the commonly known gammagoe or devil's claw and a concoction called apu or hotnotspoeier, which is commonly used for gassiness in babies and children.

    “It was a love that came naturally, and from a very young age on I already felt proud of my heritage and my culture, and so have I contributed to preserve it,” he says.

    Uth reminisced about how he used to take long walks into the veld with his grandmother, where they scouted for traditional herbs.

    “Some of these herbs are difficult to find and some are already extinct. She taught me when the plants were growing; and she always told me that you cannot just remove the plant, you must give back to the earth, so that the earth can give again to the next generation,” he said.

    Because of his love and gratitude for the earth, Uth decided to make leather copies of tortoise shells instead of using real shells.

    “If all the Nama women and their daughters want tortoise shells, what will remain of our animals? It is also important that we preserve our culture through sustainable ways,” he said.

    Uth also makes beautifully adorned veldskoene from sheep and goatskin, which after softer than cow and kudu leather.

    “It was something that I learned from my father and grandfather. I only started in 1997, though, when after my father's death my mother gave me my father's toolbox and said she saw I could carry forth the legacy and knowledge of my father and his father,” said Uth.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Call on NSFAF to reform its criteria Call on NSFAF to reform its criteria Students take the streets for funding Hundreds of students from a various tertiary institutions took to the streets last Wednesday to stage a protest against the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund. Justicia Shipena and Evany van Wyk





    More than 12 000 first-year university students may not receive financial assistance during the current financial year, unless the government covers the N$641 million shortfall being experienced by the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF).

    NSFAF said in a recent statement that out of the 15 087 students who have met the minimum requirements for funding, only 2 925, which is less than 20%, will receive funding for during the current academic year.

    Hundreds of students from various educational institutions held a peaceful march on 29 May to the NSFAF head office in Windhoek to demand that government covers the shortfall.

    Speaking at a media conference last Tuesday, University of Namibia (Unam) SRC president Kudzai Sibanda said NSFAF needs to reform its awarding criteria, as it is experiencing the same problem year after year.

    Sibanda said in the past NSFAF had been educating people and questioned why this should stop during election year.

    “We are calling for education for all the students who were approved,” he said.

    He said students will not be allowed to register for their second semester if their accounts have not been settled. This will give them no other option but to drop out.

    Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) SRC president Juno Angula said the Nust management realised the NSFAF situation was quickly snowballing and was heading to a national crisis, hence their willingness to allow all students to sit for exams.

    He added the Nust SRC, upon receiving the list from NSFAF of the students it would be able to fund, wrote a memorandum to the management and pleaded for all students to sit for their exams.

    “We based our argument on the fact that the situation will leave a lot of the possible beneficiaries stranded, and will lead to serious uncontrolled consequences, if the institution remained adamant that no students will write without settling or minimising the debt,” he said.

    Angula urged students to believe in the possibility of government bailing out NSFAF.

    He said the problem that many students and their parents face is that once you turn a possible NSFAF beneficiary into self-funded student overnight, they will not have had the benefit of crafting a six-month payment plan for tuition fees.

    In addition, this leads to students and parents alike resorting to last-ditch efforts to raise funds.

    “My advice is to not fritter and risk further exacerbating financial situations we face, but to rather consult with our university management and come to agree on how to amicably solve the situation,” he said.

    The students demanded that their expectations be met before or on 15 June.

    Higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi informed the crowd, who also marched to her ministry, that government is looking at all the points raised by the students, including the issue of transforming NSFAF.

    Meanwhile, acting NSFAF CEO Kennedy Kandume said they will study the petition and revert back to the group through their representatives.

    Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) president Ester Simon said they intend to convene a discussion session comprised of professionals in the fields of commerce, public management, law as well as academics, in order to explore the transformation of NSFAF.

    “Such a session would interrogate the statistics of the funding needs of the student populace and recommend ways in which the fund and the government in general can manoeuvre the current economic outlook,” she said.

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  • 06/03/19--16:00: Lending a helping hand
  • Lending a helping handLending a helping handIt takes a village to raise a child The SOS Children’s Villages recently launched a new project to encourage youth employment. Evany van Wyk

    The SOS Children’s Villages and the Ritscher Foundation Germany are opening their hearts and reaching into their pockets to assist youth to ensure their progress and development as productive citizens of the country.

    The SOS Children’s Villages is an organisation founded in 1949 after the Second World War by Hermann Gmeiner, in order to provide a caring home for victims of war.

    Through tremendous support from the international community, the organisation has grown and now operates in over 135 countries worldwide.

    The Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP) was launched on 31 May at the Safari Court Hotel in Windhoek.

    SOS Children’s Villages director Leonard Diergaardt was the keynote speaker, along with the organisation’s national youth development coordinator, Today Amoomo.

    “It is important to remember that it does not take an organisation to make a difference, it takes a village,” said Diergaardt.

    He said the organisation wants to positively contribute to the country’s economy. They plan to do this through targeting Namibia’s unemployed youth.

    This innovative approach will enable 300 youth to develop their talents and their own life perspectives, and successfully enter the labour market.

    The initiative aims to provide people from poor backgrounds with access to the corporate world.

    It will invite corporate companies in Namibia to provide more internship opportunities to the youth and the YEP will pay their salaries. “We just want these youth gain experience and to have an opportunity to also be successful,” Diergaardt said.

    He admitted this will not solve the youth unemployment problem, but the initiative hopes to make difference. He urged members of the corporate world to get involved and hire these interns.

    Most of the targeted youth have been through some kind trauma, thus the SOS Children’s Villages partnering with the child and gender ministry.

    They want to make sure that the youth are properly taken care of, be it mentally or financially. Youth were also encouraged to make the best of the opportunity. “Your success depends on you; take the initiative and show the company what you’re made of,” said Amoomo.

    One of the youth, Constancia Rooinasie, delivered the vote of thanks.

    “As a child, who has been a part of SOS Children’s Villages for more than 10 years, the YEP programme means a lot,” said Rooinasie. She is currently a second-year education student.

    According to her it is a great motivation knowing that such support and opportunities await them.

    There was also a handover of certificates of appreciation to members who have been actively involved in making the programme a success.

    Teopulina Kaukemwa, an employee of SOS Children’s Villages, told The Zone the launch meeting was very productive and that the initiative will help children to have a better future.

    “It really does take a community to raise a child,” she added.

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  • 06/03/19--16:00: No shame in periods
  • No shame in periodsNo shame in periodsMenstrual Hygiene Day commemorated Held under the theme, ‘It’s time for action’, Menstrual Hygiene Day was commemorated at A Shipena Secondary School on 28 May. Ester Kamati

    The Khomas regional council, along with other government bodies, recently hosted a Menstrual Hygiene Day programme.

    The event was held at A Shipena Secondary School on 28 May and was aimed at educating young women about hygiene when it comes to that time of the month, as well as celebrating what it means to be a woman.

    This event featured an incredible level of youth participation, as it was hosted by scholars Olivia Mwethunga and Moses Josef from A Shipena, and Emma Paulus from the School for the Visually Impaired. Josef shared with the audience that he is aware of how girls normally go through a lot during menstruation and urged his peers, especially the boys, to make them feel better.

    Special advisor to the Khomas governor, Rosalia Mwashekele, said children learn best when they are healthy and safe, thus such an environment should be provided so they can truly excel.

    “Events of this nature are necessary to make girls feel proud to be part of the school community,” Mwashekele said.

    She added that she is proud to see men and boys participating at such an event, and explained that support from fathers and brothers is necessary for the girl child.

    She concluded by saying that individuals should join hands in donating sanitary pads, toiletries and soap or anything they can to promote menstrual hygiene.

    In addition, the day, which is commemorated annually internationally on 28 May, was officially adopted.

    Mwashekele mentioned that it will become an annual event on Namibia’s calendar.

    A learner from Dawid Bezuidenhout Secondary School, Justin Kaheka, said it is a good thing for people to talk about these issues publicly, because it educates guys on what girls go through.

    He urged his peers to show more compassion to their sisters and female friends. Susan Linosi, the country manager for Star for Life, said young girls should accept that menstruation is a normal, natural process that every woman goes through and it is not something to be ashamed of.

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  • 06/03/19--16:00: PM delivers pep talk
  • PM delivers pep talkPM delivers pep talkExecutive directors reminded of job descriptions A third of government institutions received a qualified audit from the auditor-general for the 2016/17 financial year, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila told accounting officers yesterday. Government's top accounting officers have been sternly reminded of their crucial role in managing Namibia's tight purse strings, tackling public-service corruption and ensuring accountability and service delivery to the public.

    Addressing executive directors from government ministries, agencies and offices yesterday, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila stressed that one third of government institutions received a qualified audit from the auditor-general for the 2016/17 financial year.

    She said although a number of government offices, ministries and agencies do receive a clean bill of health, “there are some negative findings which are consistently reported but which still remain to be addressed.” She said these negative findings “feature prominently and regularly in the reports.”

    She called on executive directors to address issues raised in audit reports to ensure compliance with the Public Service Act and its regulations. On ethics and professionalism, the prime minister reminded the executive directors that a declaration of interest is mandatory for all staff and is important to avoid conflict of interest and to ensure professionalism and transparency in the public service sector. She urged them to review and update these declarations frequently.



    Wages and corruption

    Kuugongelwa-Amadhila also issued a warning on the wage bill, highlighting that at the national budget level, the “wage bill related costs take up almost half of the budget, excluding government medical aid costs.”

    She told those present that they play a key role to reduce the wage bill “in order to free up resources to strengthen allocations to service delivery.”

    The Prime Minister noted that Namibia's already stressed economic situation is worsened by the “skewedness in apportionment of resources between administration costs, mainly personnel related costs, and direct expenses for service delivery to the public.”

    Kuugongelwa-Amadhila repeated her directive to enforce cost-cutting measures, which include limiting overtime work, managing domestic and foreign trips by staff members and insisting on travel plans from departments.

    Further, she said the filling of vacancies and the creation of new job posts are limited to areas where service delivery would be compromised. She also addressed the high costs related to accrued leave days, saying staff must take leave days within a given cycle.

    On the issue of ethics and professionalism, the prime minister said “reported incidences of corrupt practices in the public sector, whether real or perceived, are high and this is very worrisome.”

    She called on executive directors to ensure that ethics committees as provided for by the anti-corruption strategy are put in place and to prioritise risk assessment reports as well as cases referred by the Anti-Corruption Commission.

    She also warned that disciplinary cases “drag on for too long, sometimes resulting in prescription of cases and leaving perpetrators of violations not held to account.”



    Buy local

    Kuugongelwa-Amadhila further tackled issues around procurement, highlighting that contracts are often extended “due to lack of preparedness to call for the next tender.”

    She noted that this does not only “lock government in otherwise expired contracts which may no longer be optimal, but it also undermines the system of procurement through which value for money can be harnessed.”

    The Prime Minister underlined the directive that all goods and services should be sourced locally to the extent they are available, while also calling on the general public to strengthen local production of goods.

    “I hope local businesses look at the demand of government and produce for the local market. We cannot continue to say that we are importing because these things are not locally available.”

    Nevertheless, she said the current government practice of importing goods while local products are available “is undesirable as it discourages local production, which in turn hinders job creation efforts while also exerting undue pressure on our foreign reserves.”

    Kuugongelwa-Amadhila concluded the public portion of yesterday's address with the executive directors, noting that to date the feedback from stakeholders on the voluntary 2% c contribution to drought relief efforts have been positive.

    She further noted that the action plan for the rolling out of the drought relief programme is finalised and is already underway in many parts of the country.

    She said members of the defence force have been mobilised to assist with vehicles and personnel.

    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Nama on warpath over skewed land ownershipNama on warpath over skewed land ownership Land and genocide activist Sima Luipert has criticised government's lack of commitment to address skewed land ownership in the country.

    She said government's resettlement programme continues to use the same criteria criticised by President Hage Geingob at the second national land conference held last year.

    Luipert also criticised the newly appointed ancestral land commission, saying it appears to have no focused goal or objectives.

    “While the ancestral land commission holds trust-building meetings with stakeholders, huge tracts of ancestral land is sold to Mexicans,” she said, referring to Mexican billionaire Alberto Baillères' pending purchase of the Erindi Private Game Reserve.

    Luipert was speaking during a panel discussion on genocide and reparations titled 'The Nama Genocide and Restorative Justice' during the second annual Nama Cultural Festival this past weekend.

    She said it is no coincidence that government has been resolute in terms of dodging any calls for an audit of the resettlement programme since independence in 1990.

    Luipert also believes that government's non-commitment to address land issues is steadily fanning the flames of national tension.

    “We shall use all means at our disposal to prevail. Besides the legal route, we know where our ancestral land is. In our book, ancestral land will remain the deal-breaker to national unity. President Geingob holds the key to resolve ancestral land honestly or take responsibility for the looming disintegration of Namibia's first republic,” she said.

    Luipert added that the Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA) believes that repentance must be shown, and is pushing for all reparations, including land.

    “Landlessness and political, economic and social marginalisation is directly linked to the genocide. The ongoing negotiations behind closed doors, without the acknowledged and authentic representation of victim communities, cannot continue. Government can never claim to represent communities in the diaspora,” she said.

    Luipert added that the exclusion of these communities violates the parliamentary resolution on the genocide, as well as the spirit of the declaration of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban.

    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 06/03/19--16:00: Anxiety: Love or hate?
  • Anxiety: Love or hate?Anxiety: Love or hate? Octavia Tsibes

    “I look beautiful today. Kind of, maybe not. Is this okay to wear? I’ll take it off, I look hideous anyway.”

    Anxiety is a feeling of unease such as worry or fear that can either be mild or severe. Some people find it easy to control and some, well, they don’t. It’s more of a constant feeling - that voice in your head, to be exact. Many people suffer from it, many don’t even know that they battle with anxiety.

    In fact, anxiety is a very normal response to stressful life events such as moving, changing jobs, exams or having financial troubles. Anxiety is a normal and healthy emotion. However, when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of anxiety, it might be a medical disorder and if this begins to interfere with your life, it could be a sign of an anxiety disorder.

    Since we’re fresh in June, I should probably acknowledge the fact that the month of May was Mental Awareness Month, and how many people, don’t take good care of their mental health, like they do with their bodies. When I say mental illness many people immediately associate it with being a sociopath or someone who is mentally unstable and needs to be restrained in a mental asylum, ASAP! That’s not the case; like any other organ in your body, the mind - your brain - gets sick too. It gets sick of the constant fear and doubt, which releases stress hormones on a regular basis and can increase frequent symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and depression. Although a panic attack will not kill you, you should be aware that chronic anxiety and stress can have real and serious effects on your health and may eventually lead to life-threatening illnesses.

    So, you might have a series of questions lined up on how one deals with these symptoms and how an individual knows when they have anxiety.

    The symptoms include, excessive worrying, feeling agitated, restlessness, fatigue and difficulty to concentrate. That is just to name a few.

    Identifying anxiety can be quite easy, such as when you experience shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating and chest pain. The anxiety, worry or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning. However, anxiety should never be mistaken for heart disease, diabetes or respiratory conditions, just to name a few.

    There are different ways of calming your anxiety. Avoid caffeine; it is well known as an anxiety inducer. And we wouldn’t want it to worsen now, do we?

    Avoid alcohol. I must’ve raised eyebrows and received a provoked glance, but avoiding alcohol reduces that feeling of depression; I mean, alcohol is a depressant.

    Powering off your digital devices for a day helps as well, just to take a moment to detox from the digital world.

    Going to the gym might not be your favorite option, but blowing off some steam can do wonders. It’ll give you a sense of calmness and rejuvenation, plus, who wouldn’t mind punching a bag for a few minutes. This works as a stress reliever as well.

    Breathe in and out, it helps calm you down.

    Follow the 3-3-3 rule. Look around you and name three things you see.

    Write them down. For me, personally, writing down all my thoughts and feelings helps a lot and is quite therapeutic.

    Talk to someone about it. Talking goes a long way, as speaking about it may make you feel a whole lot better.

    Drink lots of water and find a mantra.

    Living in a country, and an African country at that, growing up, anxiety was known as a ‘white person thing’, and as a black child, we’re not objectified to have anxiety, and it’s something we pick up from watching ‘too much television’ or mirroring our peers’. Anxiety or any other mental illness doesn’t discriminate; it has no special or favorite race or gender. Anxiety hits all of us. For some it can be a once in a lifetime occurrence, but for many, chronic. It is so important that we educate ourselves about these kind of things and break all barriers and stereotypes. We all have emotions, and at the end of the day, we’re human. It is human to feel every kind of emotion, and anxiety is one of them. To the majority battling with anxiety or any other kind of mental illness, you are not alone. You are loved. You are appreciated. You are acknowledged. You are brave, and most importantly, you are valued and you matter!

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    Engen pledges for drought reliefEngen pledges for drought reliefFive cents per litre of petrol For the next three months, five cents from every litre of petrol bought at an Engen service station will go towards drought relief. Engen Namibia has heeded calls to assist the Dare to Care Fund, in order to help the country's farmers amid the national drought crisis.

    From 1 June to 31 August, Engen will contribute five cents to the fund for every litre of petrol purchased from Engen service stations locally.

    “Our target is to raise N$3 million to help the country's commercial and subsistence farmers in this hour of extreme need,” said Christian Li, Engen Namibia's managing director.

    Engen said as a responsible corporate citizen it is committed to conducting business in a manner that is compatible with the social needs of the communities in which it operates.

    “We are therefore delighted to partner with Dare to Care, to help resolve the great challenge facing Namibian agriculture and to play a role in providing some assistance where needed,” said Li.

    Dare to Care was established in 2000 by members of the agricultural sector to assist victims of veldfires. Since then it has broadened its assistance to include, amongst others, victims of floods and farm attacks, and the San people.

    The agricultural sector, including the Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers Union (NECFU), Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU), and the private sector have joined hands under the Dare to Care umbrella and set an ambitious target to collect N$10 million.

    “As Engen, we hope that our five-cents-per-litre-of-fuel-sold initiative will help them achieve their target and make feed more affordable to the farmers,” Li said.

    He the money raised will be used to subsidise certain feeds to make them more affordable.

    Li said despite the mounting challenges, in the face of no rain, he is optimistic that the coming together of numerous Namibian stakeholders will achieve a substantial measure of success in assisting farmers during this difficult time

    “We are exceptionally grateful for the support of Engen Namibia and hope that Namibian motorists will go to Engen to refuel, so that we can have maximum donations for these three months. We also hope that other Namibian businesses follow suit, in helping to alleviate the burden of the drought on our farmers,” the Dare to Care Foundation said in a statement.

    SGA Chartered Accountants and Auditors has been appointed to perform a full-scope financial audit on the fund to ensure transparency and accountability.

    President Hage Geingob officially declared a drought state of emergency on 6 May. This is the third time in six years that government has declared a state of emergency as a result of drought. Drought was also declared a national crisis in 2013 and 2016.

    Cabinet has endorsed drought relief interventions valued at N$572.7 million to assist food insecure households and drought-affected farmers in all 14 regions.

    The approved interventions include food assistance for the needy and drought-affected, water tankers, livestock marketing incentives in drought-affected areas, a transport subsidy to and from grazing areas, and transport for fodder, especially in communal areas.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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  • 06/03/19--16:00: Let's embrace each other
  • Let's embrace each otherLet's embrace each other Culture minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa had some salient advice for Namibians when she addressed the second annual Nama Cultural Festival that took place in Keetmanshoop this past weekend.

    Hanse-Himarwa said while the Nama embrace their indigenous cultural identity, they must remember that it is equally important that they engage in cross-cultural activities with other cultural groups within Namibia.

    “I am saying this because we are first Namibians before we are Nama, Damara, Ovaherero, etc. Being Namibian should therefore be our common denominator. I encourage you to learn from other cultural groups, and they from you, in our quest to practice unity in diversity,” she said.

    “Unity in isolation and unity only amongst ourselves will not serve any purpose, as we are living in societies, locally as well as internationally, hence the term used in contemporary language is 'global village'.”

    Embracing other cultures remains a critical part of nation-building, especially in the context of Namibia, which has emerged from under the heel of the apartheid regime and its hated policies of racial and tribal separation.

    In order to continue healing this young nation, we have to take more than a peek beyond the flimsy curtains of differences that separate us. It is often sad to read the tribal and racial stereotypes and undertones being spewed by Namibians, especially on social media, where keyboard warriors have taken it upon themselves to blame this tribe or that for our current woes, including the downtrodden economy.

    We need to rise above these stereotypes and debate issues progressively and with respect.

    Namibia dodged a bullet with the policy of reconciliation, after the fall of apartheid. We cannot afford to take steps backward by employing rhetoric that continuously claims superiority based on tribe or skin colour.

    What is critical now is that we engage with every issue on its merits, especially when it comes to highly sensitive debates and avoiding playing the blame-game.

    We can ill-afford to pit ordinary Namibians against each other during these difficult times.

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  • 06/03/19--16:00: 2019 #Festival to kick off
  • 2019 #Festival to kick off 2019 #Festival to kick off Sharing trade with all generations The third edition of the #Festival will take place under the theme ‘Sharing skills with all generations’. Namibia Media Holdings (NMH), together with its publications Republikein, Namibian Sun, Allgemeine Zeitung, Windhoek Express, Erongo and Ewi lyaNooli, is proud to present the third edition of the #Festival.

    The festival will take place at the Windhoek Showgrounds from 5 to 7 June.

    The first edition of the festival was a huge success in 2017 and this year the #Festival will take place under the theme ‘Sharing skills with all generations’.

    There will be a career exhibition and throughout the festival speakers from different career paths will deliver presentations relevant to their fields of proficiency. Some of the questions to be answered at the career exhibition are as follows:

    1.Have you researched graduate programmes?

    2.Do you know what is involved in the application process?

    3.Does every graduate or professional school require an entrance exam?

    4.Can you afford it?

    5.Where do I go for funding for my studies?

    Sport will again be a focus area for scholars and coaches. A coaching clinic will be conducted by high-profile, international soccer, rugby, hockey and netball coaches.

    The scholars will also be able to test the skills they acquire at the coaching clinics, with skill activities and community games to be played.

    About 10 000 grade 10, 11 and 12 learners and parents from all corners of Namibia are expected to take part and attend the various presentations aimed at career development. Exhibitors will comprise of institutions of higher-learning both in Namibia and abroad, financial institutions, embassies as well as other stakeholders in education, who will showcase the different career and study options available, as well as all the relevant information.

    Nine franchises were identified from all corners of Namibia - the Delta Lions, Windhoek Saints, Pioneers Warriors, Coastal Dolphins, Etosha Ravens, Canyon Rangers, Oshana Patriots, Highveld Cheetahs and Arabian Knights.

    Unlike the previous year, this year the focus will be on sports clinics. Each group will have a combination of 32 learners, including their coaches in different sport codes. In total there will be 38 members per team.

    They will attend sport clinics over the two days of the festival, which will be facilitated by experienced sporting personalities. The aim is to engage the learners through sport and to empower them with the latest skills in the different sports codes.

    Other activities that are lined up to take place are the Miss High School and choir competitions, which are both taking place during the duration of the #Festival.

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  • 06/03/19--16:00: Govt steps in on Erindi
  • Govt steps in on ErindiGovt steps in on ErindiSale of game ranch not yet a done deal The Prime Minister says the government can still reject a Mexican billionaire's purchase of Erindi Private Game Reserve. The government says it has not given the owners of Erindi Private Game Reserve authorisation to sell the 71 000-hectare property to foreigners and has the right to refuse the purchase.

    Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila yesterday gave clarity on the matter after an announcement by 87-year-old Mexican billionaire Alberto Baillères that a sales agreement is being finalised with the Erindi owners, through which his BAL Group will acquire the sought-after game farm.

    This is subject to Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) approval and certain other contractual, party-related suspensive conditions. The NaCC has also confirmed that the deal to purchase Erindi was filed under Rembo Ltd and not the BAL Group.

    It said the deal to purchase Erindi through the company, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands, is among several mergers being investigated.

    Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, who was addressing government executive directors and accounting officers, made it clear yesterday that government is not selling Erindi to anyone as the game reserve is not owned by it.

    She said the buying and selling of commercial land is regulated under an act of parliament - the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act of 1995.

    “An Act which is still in place.”

    She pointed out that government made an attempt last year to amend the Act in order to repeal the provision that allows for the sale of land to foreigners.

    She said currently the law does not prohibit such transactions.

    “There were protests and the public was actually incited that should government go ahead and have the law amended to prohibit the sale of land to foreigners, we were pre-empting the second national land conference and that all efforts to amend the law should be abandoned until after it was held,” said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.

    She, however, pointed out that the sale of land by a private person in Namibia can only be done after government has first decided not to exercise its right to purchase the land.

    “Even in the case where government is not in a position to buy the land, government is still empowered under law to authorise the sale of land to a foreigner,” the prime minister said. Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said she is confident there was no authorisation granted by government to the owners of Erindi to sell the farm to foreigners.

    “We have not given an authorisation for the sale of this land to a foreigner.”

    She stressed there is a law that grants the right to private owners to sell land to whomever, with government only given the right to refuse the purchase.

    “After that these people then have a right under the law to ask for permission to be granted for them to sell to foreigners, which we have not done.”

    Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said because the land issue is such an emotive one, information about land transactions reach the public in a manner that is not accurate and people become agitated.

    “Whatever is going to happen is going to happen within the law, and our efforts continue as a government in order to operationalise the resolutions that were adopted at the land conference, in order for us to ensure that the Namibians who currently do not have access to land are assisted to have access to such land.”

    Last week 16 traditional authorities appealed to government to place a moratorium on the sale of land to foreigners.

    They also asked government not to allow close corporations in which foreigners have controlling interests to acquire land in Namibia, until mechanisms to address restorative justice are put in place. These should include policy and legal frameworks for the expropriation of land.

    The traditional authorities also want the findings and recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into Claims of Ancestral Land Rights and Restitution to be published.

    The traditional authorities said that by law and tradition they represent people who have been made landless in their own motherland and that they cannot allow a situation whereby their ancestral land will be sold irresponsibly.

    “We really do not want to be in conflict with our government but if sensitive issues like our ancestral land restoration are not taken seriously we cannot sit and fold our hands.”

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Corruption has cost us - !GawaxabCorruption has cost us - !Gawaxab CATHERINE SASMAN



    President Hage Geingob’s instruction to the 22-member High Level Panel on the Economy (HLPE) to help bring in an investment of US$1 billion (or about N$15 billion at the current exchange rate) within the next two years has raised eyebrows among economic pundits, who have questioned the panel’s mandate.

    The pundits, among others, commented that the brief should rather be handled by government ministries, agencies and offices – including Namibian embassies around the world that have a mandate to attract investment to the country.

    With the appointment of the panel chaired by Johannes !Gawaxab on 4 April, the impression was that it would serve as a presidential economic advisory council formed as a voluntary platform to strengthen collaboration between the government, labour and the private sector.

    !Gawaxab said it would help revive the economy by private-sector-led initiatives.

    He said the panel was furthermore tasked to “help create jobs, propose recommendations, address bottlenecks”.

    Such bottlenecks could be structural, legislative, regulatory, or simply bureaucratic, which are slowing down the economy.

    The panel is also expected to come up with recommendations to promote Namibia as a preferred investment and tourism destination and to help attract domestic and foreign investments in priority areas.

    Finally, the panel is to coordinate the hosting of the 2019 Namibia Economic Growth Revival Summit expected to take place at the end of July.

    In common parlance, !Gawaxab said, the panel’s task is to formulate a “practical and fact-based” strategy for restructuring and reorienting the flailing economy towards growth, particularly from a private sector view to help fight the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

    “To do this we are conducting rigorous analysis of existing economic policies, analysing data and the regulatory environment. We are looking at the ease of doing business to identify the bottlenecks that are undermining the attraction of potential investments,” !Gawaxab said.

    He acknowledged that the mandate for a voluntary platform is very broad, but said the expert panel’s terms of reference make it a “tactical programme” which is “profoundly specific”.

    “It is very much complementing what others are doing; yes, there are some overlaps,” !Gawaxab acknowledged.

    The panel’s term will be until February next year if the current government is there until the end of March. By then it has to deliver its final recommendations.

    The first set of recommendations is expected to reach the president during June, and the second in August.

    Consultations

    Since the inception of the panel its subcommittees have had more than 35 meetings. These subcommittees deal with policies and regulations, value addition, job creation, branding Namibia, investments, and the economic summit.

    The subcommittees have met with the banks, the non-banking financial sector, the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), business people in Ondangwa, the GIPF, the Chamber of Mines, youth groups, labour unions affiliated to the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), and entrepreneurs.

    They also plan to meet with various ministers, ministries, and executive directors.

    !Gawaxab said the panel’s doors are open to any views from all corners of the Namibian nation, all those who “feel they can make a contribution on how the economy can be revived”.

    The US$1 billion investment

    !Gawaxab said attracting a US$1 billion investment domestically and internationally over the next two years is “quite doable”.

    Apart from consultations with local players, the panel will split up in groups of two or three to visit New York in September, and host investor conferences in Singapore and in Europe where two or three big infrastructure projects will be pitched for investment.

    !Gawaxab would not say what these big projects are, merely saying: “We are trying to analyse it and think what is it that these projects [should be].”

    The economic summit

    The summit is to be sponsored domestically and it is hoped to attract 500 people.

    Its aim is fourfold: to raise US$500 million, to work towards consensus amongst Namibians on how to create jobs, to identify and address bureaucratic red tape, and to build confidence in the Namibian economy both locally and internationally.

    “The long-term potential of Namibia is unquestionable. We have an economy that used to grow between 3% and 4% and 5% and 6% between 2010 and 2015,” he said enthusiastically.

    But he thinks Namibia will see a further economic contraction, aggravated by the drought and the acrimonious trade talks between China and the US.

    How we got to the slump

    !Gawaxab said the economic decline was only partially caused by global developments and a dip in Sacu revenue.

    Domestically, he said, the slump was caused by corruption, inflated pricing in the public procurement processes, non-delivery or non-implementation, overruns and delays on some public projects that have cost the country dearly.

    What has also been costly to the nation, he said, is overinvestment in unproductive infrastructure – like huge government office buildings - and underinvestment in railways, water infrastructure, and the energy sector.

    “We are going through a very difficult time. We are facing very serious headwinds but as Namibians we should not lose hope,” !Gawaxab said of the current economic decline.

    He added: “It is not the end of the world. If the work we are doing is listened to and we prioritise the economy, we will get out of it.”

    He said since Independence there has been an overemphasis on politics but that it is now time to prioritise the economy.

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  • 06/04/19--16:00: Papama blossoms
  • Papama blossomsPapama blossomsMidfield maestro eager for Afcon spot Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti says his final Afcon 2019 squad will be selected based on the work rate of the players. Jesse Jackson Kauraisa





    Rising midfield sensation Marcel Papama says his recent performances at the Cosafa Cup in South Africa were just the start of bigger things to come.

    The 23-year-old displayed incredible stealth and composure during Namibia’s three matches at the tournament.

    Many took to social media to praise the diminutive young footballer, who hails from Aminuis in the Omaheke Region.

    Panama’s performances also saw him being called up for the 28-man Warriors squad currently preparing for Afcon 2019 in Dubai. The tournament will kick off on 21 June in Egypt.

    Namibia have a mountain, after being drawn in Group D against Bafana Bafana, Ivory Coast and Morocco.

    This will be the first 24-team Afcon - up from 16 - and will be hosted until 19 July.

    The six group winners and six runners-up automatically qualify for the knockout stages and will be joined by the four best third-placed teams.

    After the eight second-round fixtures, there will be the quarterfinals, semi-finals, a third-place play-off and the final.

    Papama feels he can still do more to prove his worth to the nation.

    “I can say that playing in this year’s Cosafa tournament was a good experience, because I featured in all the games. I had a couple of good runs in the tournament and I am not disappointed with myself at all,” Papama said.

    Namibia failed to make it out of the group stages, finishing second to Malawi, who topped the group and went on to lose on penalties in their quarterfinal clash against Zambia.

    The Warriors’ Cosafa Cup team managed to secure a 2-1 victory over Mozambique and trounced Seychelles 3-0 in their last group match.

    Papama cited a lack of experience for their early exit from the competition, courtesy of a 1-2 defeat to Malawi.

    “I would not say that I was extremely happy with the outcome of the tournament, because we went out.

    “Our plan was to go through to the quarterfinal stages, but the stats shows that we did not have such a bad tournament after all,” he added.

    Papama feels he needs to do more during the Warriors’ training camp in Dubai, if he is to make sure of being included in the final 23-man squad for the Afcon finals.

    He said he is committed to working hard and impressing national team coach Ricardo Mannetti, in order to book his place in the final squad.

    The Unam FC player has completed his loan spell at African Stars and is expected to return to the university side next season.

    “I can actually say that I started working hard already, in order to make the squad that is going to represent Namibia at the Africa Cup of Nations.

    “I must also admit that being part of this 28-man squad is already something big.

    “It will be something remarkable to be included in the (final) 23-man squad,” Papama said.

    Mannetti believes that everyone in the 28-man squad has a chance to make it into the 23-man final squad for Afcon 2019.

    The coach said there will be no favours, as the final selections will be determined by the work rate of the players on the training field.

    “We have enough time to come up with a team strong enough to challenge the nations at Afcon.

    “Our friendly match against Ghana will give us a clear indication of some of the players we will take to Egypt.

    “Yes, there are some headaches, because I have a group of incredibly talented players, and I would not want to leave anyone behind, but that is the nature of the game,” Mannetti added.

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    Shonena to tangle with China’s DongShonena to tangle with China’s Dong LIMBA MUPETAMI

    The stage is set for undefeated World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Africa welterweight champion Mike Shonena to take on China’s Youli Dong at the Ongwediva Trade Annual Fair on 24 August.

    Shonena, who is rated number five by the WBO, will be involved in the biggest fight of his career so far against Dong, who is the current WBO Asia Pacific youth welterweight champion. The Chinese boxer is ranked 15th by the WBO.

    Shonena last fought on 20 April in the Independence Legacy Fight Part 2, beating his Tanzanian opponent Shadrack Ignas. Shonena won via a technical knockout (TKO) in the fourth round of the 12-round bout.

    His match-up against Donga is expected to be a thrilling bout.

    With 14 fights to his name, Shonena remains undefeated and has thus far successfully defended his WBO Africa title four consecutive times, as he plots his way toward a world title fight.

    Dong, who is set to face his first African opponent, has a record of 15 fights, 13 wins, one loss and a draw.

    His last fight was in December last year against India’s Pardeep Kharera, who he stopped in the eighth round of their hard-fought battle.

    Shonena, who is known for his clinical punching, expressed excitement, saying Dong will be a very tough opponent.

    “He is strong and world-rated, but I have home-ground advantage. I have an undefeated record and I promise to give the fans my best performance to remain undefeated,” he said.

    In a short statement, Dong expressed his optimism about winning the fight.

    “I’m coming to Namibia to win. I know I will be fighting away from home, but I know that my Chinese brothers and sisters will come out in their numbers to support me.

    “I’m super-prepared for this fight and look forward to come and defend and grab an extra title for myself,” Dong added.

    Both the WBO Africa and WBO Asia Pacific youth titles will be on the line.

    The winner will improve their rating in a very tough weight division, in which Terence Crawford is currently the WBO welterweight world champion.

    The victor will thus take a step closer to facing the champion.

    Standard tickets for this epic bout are selling for N$100. Those who don’t want to watch the boxing only can pay an N$20 extra to enter the trade fair. VIP tables that seat 10 people cost N$10 000.

    Tickets are available at Computicket at Shoprite and Checkers outlets countrywide, and will also be on sale at the venue. The undercard will be announced in due course.

    The fight will be broadcast live in Namibia and China.

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    In pursuit of 'zero waste', Senegalese tackle trashIn pursuit of 'zero waste', Senegalese tackle trashEnvironmental disaster looming Success will require a mindset change from industry and from residents themselves. We sweep up, we collect, but two minutes later, it's like nothing has been done. - Lamine Kebe, Coordinator:UCG Vincent Bado - Once an idyllic stretch of white beach enticing fishermen and tourists alike, decades of factory and household waste have turned Senegal's Hann Bay into a dump.

    The shore, which separates an industrial zone in the capital Dakar from the Atlantic Ocean, is a shocking sight.

    It is littered with rotting fish and plastic rubbish as far as the eye can see.

    Dubbed "Trash Bay" by some, the sordid scene is symptomatic of a national environmental disaster whose solution has fallen on the shoulders of private citizens.

    Lacking sufficient waste removal services, residents either have to roll up their sleeves as volunteers trash collectors, or pay private firms to clean up.

    The pollution problem is receiving more attention, with president Macky Sall broaching the issue in his April 2 re-inauguration speech which mooted a "zero waste" future for Senegal, a country whose cities and towns are notorious for their mountains of plastic waste.

    He set no deadlines, however, nor did he provide a blueprint for achieving the goal.

    Services lacking

    On paper, trash collection in greater Dakar is a government service. But more than 10% of households do not have rubbish pickup, according to Lamine Kebe, a coordinator for the public waste-gathering service UCG.

    In some areas this percentage is far higher, particularly in far-flung suburbs. There, rubbish trucks battle to make their way through litter-strewn streets.

    On a recent Saturday morning, a few dozen young people sporting gloves, spades and rubbish bags were hard at work in Hann Bay, heeding a cleanup call from Senegal Entraide, a grouping of public service volunteers.

    The French Development Agency (ADF), which backs measures to clean the bay, notes that "60% of Senegal's manufacturing industry lies along Hann Bay and empties its polluted effluents directly into the bay".

    Residents, too, play their part, dumping everything from plastic bags and clothes to kitchen scraps, animal carcasses and toilet waste.

    "Citizens should not ask what their district can do for them, but what they can do for their district," said Senegal Entraide president Mahmoud Sy in a play on the late US President John F. Kennedy's 1961 inauguration speech.

    Informal business

    The cleanup task is too big for volunteers alone, and many people have started small, informal businesses, earning cash to take away the trash.

    One such entrepreneur, Ma Niang Dieng, daily sends carts hauled by donkeys or horses around the alleyways of Rufisque, a labyrinthine Dakar suburb home to a major industrial zone.

    Many of the roads are made of dirt, and impossible for cars or trucks to navigate.

    "These are the zones where we work," Dieng explained. In the paved parts, public lorries fetch the waste, "but it is in the nooks and crannies that we intervene most of the time."

    Standing on a waste heap, Dieng observed the comings and goings of his employees, responsible for bringing garbage to a local depot from where a UCG truck would take it to the city's rubbish tip.

    Fees

    Residents pay a monthly fee of 1 500 CFA francs (about US$2.60) for Dieng's services, "which isn't expensive," in the view of a Rufisque school headmaster, Moustapha M'Baye.

    Dieng told AFP he pays each of his cart drivers about 55 000 CFA francs (US$94) per month.

    Such private initiative is welcomed by the UCG, Kebe said.

    Every day, UCG lorries collect some 2 400 tonnes of waste in the greater Dakar region, which has a population of more than three million.

    "We don't have the human and material resources to deploy to every district," Kebe said. "So when an association accompanies the process, we can only congratulate them."

    But meeting Sall's ambitious long-term goal of "zero waste" is more than a matter of resources, Kebe added. Success will also require a mindset change from industry and from residents themselves.

    "We sweep up, we collect, but two minutes later, it's like nothing has been done," said Kebe.

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