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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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     Ondonga king suspends councillors Ondonga king suspends councillors The infighting within the Ondonga Traditional Authority has deepened with King Immanuel Kauluma Elifas suspending eight traditional councillors, including the OTA secretary Joseph Asino. In a notice seen by Namibian Sun this afternoon, Elifas suspended four senior traditional councillors, which includes the OTA chairperson Peter Kauluma, John Walenga and Vilho Kamanya. Another four councillors - Kashona Malulu, Joseph Akawa, Tonata Ngulu and Fillemon Nambili - have all been suspended with immediate effect. Elifas has launched an investigation into possible transgressions and misconduct against the eight councillors. “The investigation shall be conducted by a specially established committee,” the king said. The eight councillors are accused of insubordination as well as promoting disunity in the Ondonga traditional community. “You are directed to return immediately all property and documents, including electronic material belonging to the Ondonga Traditional Council, to Mr Nepando Amupanda who has been appointed to act as secretary to council.”
    STAFF REPORTER


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      Suspended councillors hit back as King Kauluma installs new headman Suspended councillors hit back as King Kauluma installs new headman The eight suspended traditional councillors of the Ondonga Traditional Authority today went ahead with their planned meeting at Ondangwa, where about 300 people were addressed by various speakers. The meeting took place at the same time while King Immanuel Kauluma Elifas was presiding over the inauguration of Ester Gwashamba Nepando as the new senior headman of the Uukwanambwa District. Elifas suspended OTA secretary Joseph Asino and the traditional authority’s chairperson Peter Kauluma on Thursday. Other senior traditional councillors suspended include John Walenga and Vilho Kamanya. Another four councillors - Kashona Malulu, Joseph Akawa, Tonata Ngulu and Fillemon Nambili - have all been suspended with immediate effect. The eight councillors are accused of insubordination as well as promoting disunity in the Ondonga traditional community. However, various speakers, including the suspended councillors who are backing Shuumbwa Nangolo as successor to Elifas, argued that the king has no right to suspend them. “The king has no power to fire or suspend the traditional authority councillors without consulting the King’s Council. Things are not done in consultation with the royal family, but with the King’s Council,” said Asino who burst into tears. The councillors, who appealed for calm, also claimed that there is another group led by the Queen’s wife, Secilia, who are apparently using the king’s name to promote certain agendas. The Ondangwa meeting is being held under heavy police guard. Former President Sam Nujoma’s bodyguard Nepando Amupanda has been appointed to act as secretary to council.


    STAFF REPORTER





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    Woman stabs boyfriend to deathWoman stabs boyfriend to death A 20-year-old woman on Friday morning was arrested for allegedly stabbing her boyfriend dead with an Okapi knife at Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa Region.
    The deceased was identified as Carlos Garab, 24. His close relatives have been informed of his death.
    Spokesperson of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) in the region, Warrant Officer Maureen Mbeha told Nampa on Friday that Garab and his girlfriend were seen “having good time” at a bar shortly before the alleged stabbing.
    Mbeha said the incident occurred at about 02h30 in the early hours of Friday.
    “The incident happened when the two were allegedly walking back to their house from a bar at that hour. We still don't know what exactly happened,” said Mbeha.
    Garab was stabbed once on the left side of the chest and died on the spot.
    The suspect will appear in the Grootfontein Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
    Police investigations continue.
    NAMPA

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    Insight into the School for the Visually Impaired Insight into the School for the Visually Impaired Same curriculum, special needs Children with severe visual impairment get quality education at a little-known school in Windhoek’s Khomasdal suburb. MICHAEL KAYUNDE



    The School of the Visually Impaired offers tuition to learners with special needs, from pre-primary up to grade ten. The learners are referred to the school by social workers in all 14 regions.

    The school is located in Windhoek’s Khomasdal suburb and it celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The school has 148 learners registered for the 2017 academic year, with 22 staff members.

    The principal, M Fransman, says teaching visually impaired learners is not the same as teaching mainstream learners. “It is not easy to teach our learners but it does not stop us from attaining good results,” says Fransman.

    The learners at the school have severe low vision, are completely blind or have albinism. Albino learners receive sunglasses from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. The school follows the same curriculum as any other public school and the learners go to Windhoek Higher Technical School for grades 11 and 12.

    The principal says low parental involvement in the education of their kids is one of the challenges that the school faces. “The lack of parental involvement is caused by the fact that learners come from different regions through social workers and makes it hard for parents to be involved since most of them are not based in Windhoek,” said Fransman.

    The principal maintains that parental involvement in their children’s schoolwork is important and calls on parents to get more involved.

    The principal adds that the school is responsible for getting the learners home for the holidays. There is a shortage of transport at the school and when the learners have to go to health facilities for medical attention, there is no transport.

    The cost of teaching equipment for these learners also impedes education at the school. “Teaching a blind learner is expensive because of the equipment needed and at the moment we are frustrated because we do not have enough Braille textbooks for our learners,” the principal says.

    Another major problem is that Braille equipment cannot be repaired in Namibia. The school has to send this equipment to South Africa for repairs, which is time consuming and interrupts learning. “Sending our equipment for repairing interrupts classes at our school because teaching is not as effective without this teaching equipment,” says Fransman.

    Despite these challenges Fransman maintains that the previous academic year was a success for the school as the grade ten learners did well. “The passing points range for our grade ten learners was from 26 to 37 points in the previous academic year; we had a very good pass rate,” Fransman says.

    The school has a waste-management agreement with the City of Windhoek. “They assist us by providing us with refuse bins to dispose of our waste,” says Smithly Engelbrecht, a head of department at the school.

    The City of Windhoek has also provided the school with Braille-readable material that the visually impaired learners can comprehend. Engelbrecht says the school and the City of Windhoek have a good working relationship.

    Teachers at the school are proud of their learners for performing well and motivate them to reach their highest potential, not just academically but also in extramural activities such as sport.

    Learners from the school participate in the Paralympics and the local Old Mutual Victory Race. “The Old Mutual Victory Race has become a big highlight in the lives of the learners and our learners always look forward to participating in these sport events,” says Fransman.

    The principal thanks the community members who are involved in the activities of the school for their support. The principal urges more community members to get involved with the activities of the school and help out where they can because their support will enhance the academic performance of the learners. “We rely on the support of the community because their help helps us grow as a school,” Fransman says.

    The principal calls upon those who know about the school to tell others about it. “Many people, even the ones living in Khomasdal, do not know about our school and I call upon them to familiarise themselves with the school and make use of the services that the school offers,” says Fransman.

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  • 04/16/17--16:00: From Russia, with love
  • From Russia, with loveFrom Russia, with love TUNOHOLE MUNGOBA

    In August 2014, Oleg Kharitonov decided to embark on a journey to explore the world with nothing but his motorcycle. Two and a half years later, he has stopped in Namibia before departing for his next destination. The Zone asked him to share his story.

    “I wanted to see the world with my own eyes and make my own impressions from what I have seen and also experience different cultures,” Kharitonov says about why he decided to leave his home in Moscow to go sightseeing. He wanted to prove to himself that if he set his eye on something, he could achieve it.

    Kharitonov’s life basically revolved around his wife, his son and daughter and his work in the trade industry. “For 15 years, my life was a cycle. It became boring and I needed a change.” That was when he decided to plan his journey around the world and leave his family behind. “It took me about six months to prepare myself and get all of my equipment in order. I also had to plan the routes that I was going to use and the methods of transport besides my motorcycle.”

    Kharitonov says leaving his family behind was not that difficult, as his children encouraged him to go. “My five-year-old daughter is interested in nature and animals. So she wanted her father to go to bring her souvenirs and beautiful photographs of the wild.”

    The encouragement from his son was quite different. “My son is a teenager and he was going through that phase where he wanted to be alone and my decision to travel was well received by him,” he adds jokingly.

    Kharitonov believes his journey has been remarkable so far, but it has not been smooth sailing all the way. The borders are a big challenge for him. “I always have problems with the authorities from different countries and some of them are not welcoming to foreigners,” he says. Because of these problems, Kharitonov was forced to fly from China due to difficulty experienced at the border. The high level of corruption in North Africa also delayed his journey.

    Asked what he has enjoyed most during his travels, he says he expected the landscapes, animals and scenery of the different countries to blow him away, but “the people are the most interesting”. Kharitonov says he has learned much from his journey and that is what makes everything worthwhile.

    “I have also come to the realisation that the average person is very friendly and they would like to assist wherever they can,” he says. What amazed him the most about humanity was in some countries with political unrest and threats of terrorist attacks, where ordinary civilians tried to help regardless of the situation.

    The technology of the 21st century has made it easy to communicate with his family back home. “My younger daughter uses Skype a lot so she can talk to Daddy whenever she wants to,” says Kharitonov with a smile.

    He started his journey with 60kg of luggage in his saddlebags, but has since reduced it to 30kg to improve the bike’s handling. To save money, he rarely books accommodation and usually sleeps in his tent.

    He wants to be back home by August 2018 to escort his daughter to school when she starts grade one in September. “It is a very important milestone and I would not miss it for anything in the world,” he says.

    He has returned home a few times since his journey began in 2014, and his wife and daughter have also visited him on separate occasions. The last time he saw them was last year in Berlin, Germany.

    Namibia is his 61st country so far and he says Namibia is the cleanest and most developed country he has visited on the African continent. Kharitonov loves our people and says he would like to stay a bit longer before departing for his next destination, which is South Africa. He is not sure of the exact route he will take, but from South Africa his next stop will be the Americas, starting at the southernmost tip of South America.

    Plans for the future? He would like to combine his photographs and videos from his journey and work with directors to release a movie, but Kharitonov says this is just a sideline project and his main aim is to help other people realise their potential and that hard work is the only thing standing between them and their dreams.

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  • 04/17/17--16:00: Blue Machine rolls on
  • Blue Machine rolls onBlue Machine rolls onWho is next for Indongo? The Namibian boxer has become the pride of the nation after defeating the popular Ricky Burns to unify the super-lightweight division. Julius 'Blue Machine' Indongo exceeded expectations by beating Ricky Burns of Scotland on a unanimous points decision in Glasgow on Saturday night in a super-lightweight unification bout.

    Indongo went into the fight with a lot of confidence, raining heavy blows on the Scotsman with his long jabs, scoring 120-108, 118-110 and 116-112 from all three judges to add Burns's WBA world title to his own IBF and IBO titles.

    The Namibian, who is still undefeated after 22 fights, metaphorically removed Burns blindfold from the start of the match by selecting the right time to apply his deadly blows and using his footwork to his advantage.

    From the second round Burns resorted to holding as he struggled to keep up with the endless punches he was receiving. Indongo broke down the wall to Burns's defence, showing more hunger to win the fight and looking for a knockout that would send Burns home. Burns stood firm despite the torture he was receiving, allowing Indongo to make a punching bag of him.

    He attempted to make an impact in the ninth round when he got Indongo on the ropes but the Namibian was not fazed. He shrugged off Burns's attempts and kept the machine rolling with his speed.

    Burns struggled all the way to the eleventh round, having no answers for what was happening to him. On the night Indongo impressed with his freshness and fluidity while Burns looked like he did not know what his job was for the night.

    In the final round Burns came out lurching blows in the air in an attempt to knock Indongo out, but the tall boxing magician was unbothered. In the end the boxer silenced the Scottish fans and gave the few Namibian fans in the crowd their money's worth as the Namibian flag flew high.

    At the end of the fight a jubilant Indongo thanked his fans and his coach. “Thank you to my coach for opening doors for me so that the whole world can see me,” he said.

    Burns said his opponent started off well and ended up being the better man. “The better man won, he was so awkward, he was a lot better than we thought and he can hit as well,” said Burns. He said he would take out time to spend with his family but that he would return to the ring. With his win, Indongo has attracted the interest of 29-year-old American boxer Terence Crawford, who wants to test the Namibian. Crawford holds the WBC and WBO super-lightweight titles. Crawford now wants to fight Indongo with the hope of winning all five championships.

    He is ranked by 'The Ring' as the world's fifth best boxer, and was voted fighter of the year 2014 by the Boxing Writers Association of America and ESPN.

    Crawford and Indongo have one thing in common: they are fast, hard-hitting, and highly technical fighters. If the two boxers are to face each other in the ring, it will be a fight worth watching.

    LIMBA MUPETAMI

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    De la Ray and Burger ahead of the packDe la Ray and Burger ahead of the packNamibia Triathlon Nationals in Walvis Bay Adele de la Ray and Jean-Paul Burger won the elite division titles at the Namibia Triathlon Nationals in Walvis Bay. Adele de la Ray (female) and Jean-Paul Burger (male) won the elite division titles at the Namibia Triathlon Nationals in Walvis Bay on Saturday.

    A strong current initially curtailed the participants and caused race director Pierre Du Plooy to shorten the 1.5km swimming course in the lagoon for the elite group.

    Du Plooy also resolved to change the starting point for the rest of the junior and youth divisions.

    Burger finished the event in a time of 01:44:15. He set the pace from the start and never relinquished the lead he established in the swimming section of the competition. He also finished the 20km cycling and 10km running items in first position.

    De la Ray completed the event in a time of 02:21:22.

    Tanya Mackensen (01:08:39) won the female section and Divan du Plooy (01:02:53) the male section of the junior event, which consisted of a 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run.

    Ada Kahl (00:43:04) won the female section and Yenik Brinkman (00:45:06) the male section of the youth event, which consisted of a 375m swim, 10km cycle and 2.5km run.

    Twenty-seven athletes competed in the elite division, with 17 juniors and four youths in action at the Namibian Triathlon Federation (TNF) event.

    Du Plooy confirmed that TNF would stage its next competition in February and said the organisation had submitted a bid to host the African Triathlon Championships, which will serve as a qualifier for the Youth Olympic Games in 2018.

    “Home-ground advantage will be an important factor for Namibian athletes. There are 17 countries affiliated to the National Triathlon Union. The first three athletes from Africa (with each country allowed to send one athlete) qualify for the Olympics.

    “TNF is also looking at hosting a minimum of two run cycle run winter events and another two summer events in addition to the Stauch & Partners Off-Road Triathlon at Lake Oanob organised by Otb.”



    OTIS FINCK

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  • 04/17/17--16:00: Preparations going well
  • Preparations going wellPreparations going well The Windhoek Draught Welwitschias produced a great display against the Namibian Barbarians team at the Hage Geingob Stadium on Wednesday, winning 22 – 12.

    The match served as preparation for the Super Rugby Challenge which starts on 22 April with the Welwitschias taking on the Falcons away at Kempton Park, South Africa, in their opening match.

    The Welwitschias' tries were scored by captain Rohan Kitshoff and fellow loose forward Leneve Damens. Flyhalf Theuns Kotze added a penalty and two conversions in the first half.

    The Barbarians joined the party and converted a try by Unam wing Silvano Beukes. After halftime Barbarians flank Renaud van Neel scored a try converted by Lorenzo Louis to shrink the deficit to 17 – 12. Damens then crashed over for another unconverted try for the Welwitschias, ending the game 22-12.

    The Welwitschias made 13 changes at halftime, bringing in fresh legs and an opportunity for the coaches to see how players performed together and what could be improved before the big match. Players also got the chance to show off what they can offer.

    Fans who braved the rain to turn up at the stadium cheered as players from both teams showed individual brilliance.

    Roger Thompson, coach of the U/20 and the senior team, said the team played well under pressure from their opponents. They made several changes in the first half and that disrupted the flow of the game but they have time to fix the team before travelling to South Africa. He also said that they would watch videos of the game and make alterations where necessary.

    The Namibian under-20 team played on the same night against an invitational Namibian U/23 side, beating them 250. The match was in preparation for the Rugby Africa U/20 Barthes trophy in Madagascar, starting on 18 April.

    There was no stopping the young eager players as they were more physical and showed character. They also showed a great display of individual brilliance.

    Thompson said it was their first match as a team. “I expected the boys to have a tough start as we wanted to see the structural build-up.

    “The weather was not conducive for the type of play we wanted to see as it was raining but all went well. I have to applaud the opponents who gave us a tough game in preparing for Madagascar,” he said.

    He added that the players who stood out on the night were the captain of the team, Cliven Louster, and Prince Goaseb.

    LIMBA MUPETAMI

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    Namibia okwa taalela oshiponga shomukithi gwoZikaNamibia okwa taalela oshiponga shomukithi gwoZikaOshilongo osha pyakudhukwa okulwitha ombuto ndjoka Sho Namibia a lopota nale iipotha yomukithi gwodengue fever oshowo malaria, omikithi ndhoka kwa lopotwa dha zilile moAngola omolwa ekondololo lyomainyengo poongamba dhiilongo mbika iyali inali kwata miiti, Namibia okuli moshiponga shokukwatwa kombuto gwoZika ndjoka ya lopota moAngola omvula ndjika. Angola okwa lopota iipotha iyali yoZika muJanurai nuumvo ihe Ehangano lyUundjolowele mUyuuni ano oWorld Health Organisation (WHO) inali tseyithia Uuministeli wUundjolowele waNamibia kombinga yiipotha mbyoka yili eshongo enene kuundjolowele ngaashi tashi uthwa komilandu dhehangano.

    Sho a yamukula komapulo ngoka a ningilwa koNamibian Sun kombinga yombuto ndjoka, ya lopotwa moshishiindalongo Angola, amushanga gwUuministeli wUundjolowele, Andreas Mwoombola okwa yelitha kutya aluhe ngele ope na omukithi gwontumba ngoka gwa lopotwa miilongo nena WHO oha gandja uuyelele kiilongo ikwawo ngaashi tashi uthwa komilandu dhehangano ndyoka.

    “Tse Uuministeli wUundjolowele inatu yakula natango uuyelele kombinga yetukuko lyoZika moAngola. Ope na ompito onene yokuyakula aantu taya zi moAngola sho twa lopotelwa nale iipotha yombuto yodengue fever ndjoka tayi kwatakanithwa nombuto yoZika nayihe otayi zilile moAngola,” Mwoombola ta ti.

    Omanga omalaria moNamibia haga taandelithwa komwe yoAnopheles, ombuto yoZika ndjoka unene hayi lopotwa moAmerika ohayi taandelithwa komwe yoAedes aegypti. Omwe ndjoka oyo woo hayi taandelithwa oombuto ngaashi dengue, chikungunya noyellow fever.

    Okwa hololwa woo kutya oZika natango otayi vulu okutaandela okuza momuntu okuya komuntu omukwawo okupitila miihulo. Pauyelele woWHO, ombuto ndjoka ohayi vulu okweetitha eyonagulo lyuuluwi muunona mboka wa valwa kaakiintu ya kwatwa kombuto ndjoka.

    Omadhidhiliko goZika oshivu, epulu, uuwehame pomatsakanene gomasipa nomeho taga tiligana.

    Omadhidhiliko ngoka ohaga kala uule womasiku gontumba sigo oshiwike nomukalo dhingi okwiigwamena kombuto ndjoka okwiigamena opo ku like koomwe.

    Mwoombola okwa popi kutya Namibia ke na natango oomwe ndhoka hadhi ithanwa Aedes ihe ota vulu okumona ombuto ndjoka tayi taandele okuza kiilongo yilwe.

    Mesiku lyotango lyaFebruali omvula ya piti, WHO okwa tseyitha kutya ombuto yoZika oya ninga omukundu moshikondo shuundjolowele muuyuni na okwa holola omaiyuvo kombinga yuupyakadhi hawu etithwa kombuto ndjoka. Brazil okwa kala moshiponga komukithi ngoka sho a lopota iipotha ya thika po-5000, tayi kwatakanithwa nombuto ndjoka. Ombuto ndjoka oya taandela miilongo ngaashi America, Canada, Europe na Australia.

    Mwoombola okwa popi kutya monena ombuto ndjoka ihayi pangwa naamboka taya mono omadhidhiliko gombuto ndjoka oya pumbwa okuya komandiki guundjolowele meendelelo opo ya ka konge uunamiti pethimbo.

    “Aantu oya pumbwa okuvululukwa nawa, taya nu iikunwa ya gwana yo taya panga uuwehame wopomatsakaneno gomasipanomiti ndhoka hadhi longithwa,” Mwoombola taa ti.

    Mwoombola okwa popi kutya oshilongo oshiilongekidha okukondjitha oombuto dhomauvu ngoka uuna dha tukuka mwakwatelwa woo Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever.

    ILENI NANDJATO

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    Resident benefits from mayoral fundResident benefits from mayoral fundOutjo Mayoral Prosperity Fund assists first beneficiary The fund, which was launched by Vice-President Nickey Iyambo in November 2016, aims to eliminate social issues stifling growth in the town. A single mother of two became the first beneficiary of the recently launched Outjo Mayoral Prosperity Fund.

    Wilhemina Tjikongo and her children, residents of the town's informal settlement, lost everything they owned when a fire gutted their house on 29 March.

    The Outjo Mayoral Prosperity Fund, which was initiated by mayor Marius Sheya, has offered to build a house for the family and also donated school uniforms, stationery and other school material to Tjikongo's daughter, who is in grade eight.

    Sheya told Nampa that the reconstruction of the corrugated-iron home would be completed by Friday.

    Tjikongo was full of praise for the mayor and his council.

    “We have elected our son to lead this town and knew from the word go you would understand what we go through every day. We shall continue praying for you and the team and God shall give you the Wisdom of Solomon to lead us,” she said.

    Sheya thanked the family for the prayers and gave the assurance that the town's leadership would do all it could to fight the social problems facing the Outjo community.

    The mayor encouraged Tjikongo to make sure her daughter stayed focused on her education, so that she could eventually be in a position to look after the family.

    NAMPA

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  • 04/17/17--16:00: Repo rate static
  • Repo rate staticRepo rate staticRate left unchanged at 7% The Bank of Namibia's Monetary Policy Committee last week decided to leave the repo rate as is, in line with that of South Africa. The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Namibia last week kept the repo rate unchanged at 7%. The central bank said the decision was necessary to support economic growth and help maintain the one-to-one peg between the Namibian dollar and the rand.

    Sharing his views on the decision to maintain the repo rate, Bank of Namibia governor Iipumbu Shiimi said inflation remained high for the first two months of 2017, increasing from an average of 6.7% in 2016 to 8.2% in January 2017. It slowed to 7.8% in February.

    “The high levels of 2017 were mainly driven by the rise in the categories housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, transport and food. Inflation will remain elevated for 2017. We expect it to be in the region of 7% to 7.5% for 2017,” said Shiimi.

    Over the first two months of 2017, growth in private-sector credit extension slowed for consumers and businesses.

    “The downward trend we have seen is continuing for Private-Sector Credit Extension (PSCE). That is a good development, however, the unfortunate thing is that we want businesses to borrow and invest.”

    The annual growth of PSCE slowed from a peak of 13.7% in January 2016 to an average of 8.8% in the first two months of 2017.

    The preliminary stock of international reserves stood at N$22.3 billion as at the 31 March 2017.

    “At this level, the stock of international reserves was estimated to cover 2.7 months of import. The stock of international reserves also remains sufficient to sustain the one-to-one link of the Namibian dollar and the rand.”

    The domestic economy grew by only 0.2% during 2016, compared to stronger growth of 6.1% in 2015. The slowdown in growth was mainly attributed to a bleak performance in the mining sector, particularly diamond production. Output in the manufacturing sector, especially the production of cement, refined zinc and blister copper, as well as the wholesale and retail trade sector, which showed resilience in the past, also fell.

    Downside risks to economic growth also remained, said Shiimi. Risks to growth include uncertainty due to shifts towards protectionism by the Trump administration in the US and further implications for global trade, slower growth in China, geopolitical risks, weak bank balance sheets of Euro Zone member countries and high inflation in some emerging markets and development economies.

    The South African Reserve Bank also kept its repo rate unchanged at 7% when its MPC met in March.

    OGONE TLHAGE

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    NEEEF, credit ratings discussedNEEEF, credit ratings discussedModest growth expected for 2017 The New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework will be tabled soon, according to President Geingob. OGONE TLHAGE



    Despite opposition to the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF), President Hage Geingob remains resolute in its implementation, saying that the anticipated bill will be tabled soon.

    Addressing the economic elephant in the room during his State of the Nation Address, he said: “Public consultations on the Framework have been completed and the Office of the Prime Minister has consolidated the report, which will soon be tabled in cabinet. However, I have followed public discussions on this matter and have observed that while NEEEF may be imperfect, most commentators are avoiding the inequality question wherein NEEEF is located.”

    He also spoke about the ratings predicament South Africa finds itself in and used the opportunity to state that there was no intent to delink the Namibian dollar from the rand. “The recent downgrade of South Africa’s foreign debt instruments by rating agencies may have an impact on our own debt ratings and costs of capital but at the moment, we do not see any reason to delink.”

    Continuing with the ratings talk, he said: “We have contained government debt, with a good domestic versus foreign debt mix, and we continue to enjoy investment-grade ratings by Fitch and Moody. We have worked very hard over the past 18 months to avoid being downgraded, despite the fact that some variables that impact grading decisions of rating agencies are outside our control.”

    This follows warnings by Fitch and Moody’s that Namibia was in danger of losing its investment grade if it failed to rein in spending and the debt-to GDP ratio, which is currently below the 45% threshold set by both agencies.

    On the growth front, Geingob was of the opinion that economic growth would be modest for 2017.

    “Whereas we expected the economy to expand above four percent at the beginning of 2016, we realised during the mid-term budget review that that projection was unattainable. Consequently, we had to effect the deepest cuts to the budget since Independence to ensure fiscal sustainability and put the economy on a sustainable long-term growth trajectory. Today, the fiscal position has stabilised. We expect modest growth for 2017, while the longer-term growth outlook has improved considerably.

    “Our own domestic investors also remain confident in the economy as demonstrated by reinvestments into existing business enterprises and ongoing expansions into various economic sectors. We value the contribution of Namibian investors to the economy. It is for this reason that, last year, we repealed the Foreign Investment Act and replaced it with the Investment Promotion Act, which places local investors on the same footing as international investors,” he said.

    * Additional reporting by NAMPA

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    Tackle youth employment, says UDFTackle youth employment, says UDF NAMPA

    The government should urgently address youth unemployment and skills development, United Democratic Front of Namibia (UDF) vice-president Dudu Murorua said on Wednesday.

    Speaking to Nampa after President Hage Geingob delivered his third State of the Nation Address in parliament, Murorua said Namibia would develop faster if the government were to address the issues of unemployment and skills development among young people.

    “If we as government address these things vigorously then I believe we will take this country very far,” he said.

    Murorua also suggested that the central government should provide serviced plots through its local authorities in order for people to build their own houses at their own pace and according to what they can afford.

    During his address, Geingob said a key government strategy to arrest youth unemployment was the promotion of high-quality vocational education and skills training.

    He said under the Harambee Prosperity Plan, the government targeted the increase of Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) enrolments to 16 000 students in 2016.

    “We have significantly exceeded this target as more than 24 000 students were enrolled in 2016,” the president said.

    He said all TVET students benefited from subsidised tuition fees, while 80% of students also benefited from scholarships from the Namibia Training Authority or the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund.

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    Medscheme Namibia sponsors IUMMedscheme Namibia sponsors IUMNursing school partners with medical aid fund manager The donation will be used to hire more part-time nursing lecturers. Medscheme Namibia has donated N$150 000 to the International University of Management's School of Health Sciences.

    The money will be used to hire more part-time lecturers to improve the training of nurses.

    “Medscheme Namibia is of the opinion that properly trained and qualified nurses can assist greatly in ensuring proper care and treatment of patients throughout the whole spectrum ranging from primary healthcare clinics to hospitals,” said Medscheme Namibia's marketing and communication manager, Abigail Raubenheimer.

    Raubenheimer added that with the sponsorship Medscheme Namibia recognised the important role nurses play in healthcare. She said the company was committed to developing the next generation of nurses in the country.

    Raubenheimer said from a healthcare administrator and financing perspective the availability of dedicated and qualified nurses would assist in alleviating the acute shortage of health professionals in the country.

    “This will ensure long-term sustainability of private healthcare in the Namibian market,” Raubenheimer said.

    Also speaking at the handover ceremony was IUM's dean of health sciences, Agnes Van Dyk, who thanked Medscheme Namibia for the sponsorship and promised to use the money for its intend purpose.

    “We will spend the money according to our needs and will keep you informed,” said Van Dyk.

    The nursing department at IUM was established in 2014 with 40 students who are currently in their fourth year of the programme. In total IUM has 171 nursing students.

    The founder and chairman of IUM, David Namwandi, said the sponsorship from Medscheme Namibia was the beginning of a long friendship between the two institutions.

    “I am thankful to Medscheme Namibia on behalf of IUM for this gesture of support and the IUM hopes this collaboration will continue to other fields,” said Namwandi.

    MICHAEL KAYUNDE

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  • 04/17/17--16:00: Keep the dream alive
  • Keep the dream aliveKeep the dream alive As a young girl throughout primary and secondary school I always knew what I wanted to be. “A doctor,” I answered every time a teacher asked me what I wanted to be in the future.

    Now, ten years later and a medical student at Cavendish University School of Medicine in Lusaka, Zambia, my dreams have become reality.

    Student life in another country can be stressful but can also be very interesting and strengthens personal character. Lusaka is a great place to study as people are very humble and helpful, be it the cleaner at school or the lecturer.

    When you enter the school grounds it is less about what you have, what you are wearing or where you are from, and more about what your aim there is, which is to learn and be the best you can be.

    This is a place where people with a common goal help each other reach their goals, as no one is perfect. Being only a third-year student, I cannot say I have come across many challenges but one main challenge is the language barrier when it comes to communicating with locals who do not understand or speak English, although is not a common experience.

    The biggest challenge is the exchange rate of the Namibian dollar and Zambian kwacha, but is a challenge that is bearable.

    At the end of my seven years of study, my dream is to return home and serve my country to the best of my ability. After gaining enough experience as a general practitioner I would like to specialise in emergency medicine or cardiology, but these options may change if I notice a need in another specialty, since medicine is about helping and serving people in need.

    All in all, Zambia has become a second home to me and I wouldn't want it any other way.

    TEOPOLINA SHIKULO

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  • 04/17/17--16:00: Unam hosts annual graduation
  • Unam hosts annual graduationUnam hosts annual graduation Spirits were high at the University of Namibia (Unam) last week as students were excited about the Easter long weekend and the annual graduation ceremonies of all faculties on Thursday.

    Congratulations were in order on social media platforms as people commended their relatives and friends for their well-deserved achievements. Some university societies went to the extent of praising their members on their Facebook pages.

    All over campus students were expressing their pride, applauding those parading in their gowns and some with their bouquets of flowers. The ceremonies reeled in sponsors such as Nedbank, as academic achievement deserves recognition.

    Tertiary education is costly these days, and most graduates must repay study loans once they have secured a job.

    Graduation makes one realise how much money is pumped into the ceremony, the outfits, shoes, hair, nails and make-up artists, hiring a gown at an unrealistic price only to wear it for a few hours and for a few photographs.

    There are also the overpriced graduation parties, considering that people have started making it a mission to attend at least ten of those per year, all on the same day.

    However, the end justifies the means. They will now be able to leave the nest of student life and spread their wings to explore the endless possibilities available in the labour market. A befitting salary will be a huge reward for all those years of waiting for hours to get a taxi to and from school, not to mention those sleepless nights to pass tests and exams.

    There's a spirit of women empowerment that is very prominent this year, which busts the myths that girls go to university secretly seeking 'blessers', that they never graduate, or are inadequate.

    Intellectuals are being produced and they are more than capable of taking on the world all on their own. There are more women seeking and completing tertiary education and this is an indication of how we are moving forward as a nation with a more open mind to the world as a global village.

    ANN-ADEVA NJAMBALI

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    Acquire work experience while at varsityAcquire work experience while at varsityDoes a university qualification guarantee employment? Work experience seems to be the biggest obstacle faced by unemployed graduates. This article looks at how you can gain experience while you are at university. The university graduation ceremonies taking place this month have prompted many of the graduating students to ask themselves whether their new qualifications will guarantee them a place in the job market.

    This question is brought about by the high unemployment among university and college graduates. Lack of job experience is perceived to be one of the main contributing factors to their struggle in finding jobs.

    Many graduates bemoan the fact that job advertisements require “five years' experience”.

    I believe you do not necessarily have to meet that requirement if you do the following: choose an organisation you would like to work for; get acquainted with the functions of that particular organisation; and approach them for holiday work. If there are no vacancies, explicitly state that you are willing to work without pay, just for the experience.

    By doing that, you will become accustomed to the actors of the industry you would like to enter and you might as well guarantee your place in that organisation after graduation.

    Nevertheless, the number of students enrolling at institutions of higher learning is increasing much faster than the number of new jobs being created.

    That brings us back to the question whether a university qualification guarantees employment. This is not a simple 'yes or no' question. The answer depends on factors such as your field of study and the state of your country's economy.

    Some study fields are more in demand than others. For example, in Namibia the fields that are in high demand include medicine, education, healthcare, information technology and agriculture.

    As far as the country's economic status is concerned, you might find yourself in the predicament of having the relevant qualifications but still failing to find a job. When a country encounters financial setbacks, vacancies in the public service and at parastatals are bound to be frozen.

    Successful job hunting is also determined by one's drive, determination, willpower and how badly you want to make it in life.

    ISDOR KAMATI

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  • 04/17/17--16:00: Pretty hurts
  • Pretty hurtsPretty hurts The social pressure that young women constantly experience in the face of unrealistic 'beauty' expectations is a horrific concept. Even more horrific is to see our young women and future mothers, wives, sisters and agents of change yield to this mounting pressure. The pressure that, more often than not, insists on outward appearance and often tends to neglect the essential nourishment of the soul.

    The most detrimental aspect of beauty standards is disregarded by many: these goals are unattainable. How you look on the outside will never be good enough if you don't feel beautiful from the inside first. The psychological effects of constantly feeling like you have failed yourself and society include depression, fatigue and anorexia, among many others.

    There is no way that you could ever look like the girl in the magazine because even the girl in the magazine does not look like that. There is no clear-cut definition of the words “beautiful” or “gorgeous”.

    All these concepts are deeply rooted in the Feminine Beauty Ideal, which is the socially constructed notion that conventional, physical beauty is one of a woman's most important assets, and something that every woman should strive to achieve and maintain.

    The conventional beauty image is one that typically depicts certain features such as a disproportionately small waist, long, lustrous hair, an acne-free face and straight teeth, most Eurocentric features altogether. The supposed image of “true beauty” can also be attributed to entrenched patriarchal beliefs that view women merely as beings with the social responsibility to fulfil their ocular pleasure.

    Beauty standards have evolved over the years and in the 21st century they have become more than just standards. The impact that these perceptions have on women and society as a whole has become a form of social control that implicitly trains women and girls to sexualise and shrink themselves and forget their world-changing potential.

    The reality is that we cannot change unrealistic beauty expectations, but we can change how we respond to them as individuals. The best way to claim your own true definition of who you are is by learning to be unapologetic about who you are and what you look like. Be kind to yourself, because you are stuck with yourself for life.

    BERTHA TOBIAS

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  • 04/17/17--16:00: At the bottom of the bottle
  • At the bottom  of the  bottleAt the bottom of the bottleAlcoholism is rife among Namibian youth Two young members of Alcoholic Anonymous Namibia talk about how the self-help organisation has empowered them to get their lives back on track. Alcoholism is defined as an addiction to the consumption of alcoholic drinks, and it is a huge problem in Namibia. The youth experiment with alcohol, not knowing that it is a dangerous habit that can spiral out of control very quickly.

    Alcoholic Anonymous Namibia (AAN) is non-governmental and self-supporting organisation that serves as group therapy for alcoholics. Members of the organisation, who are called “fellows”, are united by the desire to stop drinking.

    Alcoholic Anonymous worldwide does not engage in public fundraising activities and it is fully self-funded. Anybody claiming to collect money under the name of Alcoholic Anonymous is committing a crime and should be reported to the authorities.

    In February, a letter surfaced in Namibia that used the name of Alcoholic Anonymous to solicit funds. AAN was advised to open a criminal case, since the letter amounted to fraud.

    Although it was the first time that had happened in Namibia, the public was warned to be on the lookout for such scams and report them immediately.

    Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935 in Ohio in the United States with the primary purpose “to help alcoholics stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety”.

    Windhoek has a fully functioning group. The only requirements for membership are admitting you have a problem and the wish to stay sober.

    “We all have the same problem and that is why we are united,” says Amanda*, a member of AA.

    “You may be a lawyer or doctor on the outside, but when you come inside the four walls of Alcoholic Anonymous, we are all alcoholics looking to stay sober.”

    According to Timothy*, another member of Alcoholic Anonymous Namibia, the reason why most rehabilitation centres fail is because addicts check into these institutions with the wrong mindset.

    They believe that after spending time in rehab they will be cured of their addiction and can go back to their former lives without changing their circle of friends or areas of interest where they choose to spend their time.

    “A rehabilitation centre is there to take someone out of their immediate environment. So what happens when your time ends at the centre? You have to go back to a world full of temptation and all these negative influences.

    “That is why it is important to have a support group like AA to help you stay sober,” Timothy explains.

    Having been to three rehabilitation centres herself, Amanda says only AA has managed to get her sober and keep her sober for the past seven years.

    “Listening to another alcoholic speak about something we can both relate to is therapy on its own already,” she says.

    “I was always the black sheep until I walked into AA and then I found the rest of my flock.”

    Whatever kind of addiction it may be, the addict needs to take the first step and admit to having a problem.

    Excessive drinking has become acceptable in Namibian society, and it is difficult for alcoholics to realise they have a problem when consuming large amounts of alcohol is the norm.

    “If it is a baptism, a funeral or an ordinary get-together, everything always ends up in a party. Simply because of alcohol,” Timothy says.

    Young people living in such circumstances grow up accepting alcohol as something that is part of their lives. This is one of the reasons why many children start drinking at an early age, as it socially acceptable and boys in particular are encouraged to drink from an early age.

    Timothy says this is one reason why AA has found it difficult to set up fellowships in other towns, as those communities are not interested and they do not want to be labelled as alcoholics.

    “Whenever we would have open meetings, only the families of the alcoholics would come,” says Timothy.

    AA has tried establishing groups in several towns outside Windhoek, but none of them managed to stay active for any length of time.

    He feels that most people do not understand the programme and many alcoholics are looking for a shortcut to dealing with their addiction.

    Born into an alcoholic family, Timothy blames peer pressure for leading young people onto the wrong path. He started drinking at a young age and after he started working, his drinking went from bad to worse because he had more money to spend on booze.

    “Sometimes, I would go to work or I would not pitch up at all,” he says. He was involved in a number of car crashes, yet not even that could convince him to stop drinking, as alcohol had consumed his life.

    It took a lot of courage to finally realise he that he had a problem and that alcohol was ruling, and ruining, his life. He took the first step by attending an AA meeting and has never looked back.

    Timothy says young people feel pressured to drink in order to fit into cliques at school or university, and drinking then becomes a habit and, ultimately, an addiction.

    He has been sober for eight years now and encourages fellow youth with a drinking problem to attend AA meetings.

    Amanda says her drinking problem also started at an early age. “Growing up, I was a very shy girl and alcohol was the boost that I needed. It made me social and I had more courage to do different things. I would always be the life of the party under the influence of alcohol,” she says.

    She started drinking alone and lived a miserable life, which led her to attempt suicide a few times. She then realised that she needed to turn her life around and AA meetings have helped her to get her life back on track.

    “Alcoholic Anonymous is calling on everyone with a drinking problem and wishes to be the custodian of change.

    “We specifically target the youth because that is where the problem lies. AA is not a secret society. On our website, we have listed our meetings with our dates and times.

    “There is no cure for alcoholism, but we can work together to make sure you do not have to pick up that first drink,” Timothy says.

    If you know anyone with an alcohol problem or you need help yourself, contact Alcoholic Anonymous Namibia on 081 325 6144.

    *Not their real names

    TUNOHOLE MUNGOBA

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  • 04/17/17--16:00: From Russia, with love
  • From Russia, with loveFrom Russia, with love In August 2014, Oleg Kharitonov decided to embark on a journey to explore the world with nothing but his motorcycle. Two and a half years later, he has stopped in Namibia before departing for his next destination. The Zone asked him to share his story.

    “I wanted to see the world with my own eyes and make my own impressions from what I have seen and also experience different cultures,” Kharitonov says about why he decided to leave his home in Moscow to go sightseeing. He wanted to prove to himself that if he set his eye on something, he could achieve it.

    Kharitonov's life basically revolved around his wife, his son and daughter and his work in the trade industry. “For 15 years, my life was a cycle. It became boring and I needed a change.” That was when he decided to plan his journey around the world and leave his family behind. “It took me about six months to prepare myself and get all of my equipment in order. I also had to plan the routes that I was going to use and the methods of transport besides my motorcycle.”

    Kharitonov says leaving his family behind was not that difficult, as his children encouraged him to go. “My five-year-old daughter is interested in nature and animals. So she wanted her father to go to bring her souvenirs and beautiful photographs of the wild.”

    The encouragement from his son was quite different. “My son is a teenager and he was going through that phase where he wanted to be alone and my decision to travel was well received by him,” he adds jokingly.

    Kharitonov believes his journey has been remarkable so far, but it has not been smooth sailing all the way. The borders are a big challenge for him. “I always have problems with the authorities from different countries and some of them are not welcoming to foreigners,” he says. Because of these problems, Kharitonov was forced to fly from China due to difficulty experienced at the border. The high level of corruption in North Africa also delayed his journey.

    Asked what he has enjoyed most during his travels, he says he expected the landscapes, animals and scenery of the different countries to blow him away, but “the people are the most interesting”. Kharitonov says he has learned much from his journey and that is what makes everything worthwhile.

    “I have also come to the realisation that the average person is very friendly and they would like to assist wherever they can,” he says. What amazed him the most about humanity was in some countries with political unrest and threats of terrorist attacks, where ordinary civilians tried to help regardless of the situation.

    The technology of the 21st century has made it easy to communicate with his family back home. “My younger daughter uses Skype a lot so she can talk to Daddy whenever she wants to,” says Kharitonov with a smile.

    He started his journey with 60kg of luggage in his saddlebags, but has since reduced it to 30kg to improve the bike's handling. To save money, he rarely books accommodation and usually sleeps in his tent.

    He wants to be back home by August 2018 to escort his daughter to school when she starts grade one in September. “It is a very important milestone and I would not miss it for anything in the world,” he says.

    He has returned home a few times since his journey began in 2014, and his wife and daughter have also visited him on separate occasions. The last time he saw them was last year in Berlin, Germany.

    Namibia is his 61st country so far and he says Namibia is the cleanest and most developed country he has visited on the African continent. Kharitonov loves our people and says he would like to stay a bit longer before departing for his next destination, which is South Africa. He is not sure of the exact route he will take, but from South Africa his next stop will be the Americas, starting at the southernmost tip of South America.

    Plans for the future? He would like to combine his photographs and videos from his journey and work with directors to release a movie, but Kharitonov says this is just a sideline project and his main aim is to help other people realise their potential and that hard work is the only thing standing between them and their dreams.

    TUNOHOLE MUNGOBA

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