By Hangula Hamwaalwa
EENHANA – Living in rural areas one will be exposed to various living styles, and it will also make you wonder how other people meet their basic needs like cooking oil, shoes, clothing plus blankets and washing detergents. This situation is not only found in rural areas but it goes to urban as well, although the needs may differ.
Looking at the background of our country, I was a bit young during the colonial period but I can vividly remember all that happened in this land. I witnessed tortures, fences destroyed and children being frightened of going to school because of beatings by agents of colonialism.
By then education was not really good and the common job opportunities were teaching, nursing and driving, especially by Oshiwambo-speaking people.
Many youth from our village left school to go into exile to fight for their motherland – some came back but some unfortunately did not.
Most of those who stayed behind was because either they needed to take care of their parents and the young ones, or did not excel in school and the majority of them could not get any job as they were uneducated and with no working experience. The people I am referring to were in the economically active ages of 29 to 32 in 1990.
The reason why I singled out those ones is for the following; they had families of their own (houses) and they had to meet all family needs which included buying school uniforms and paying for school fees, and other social needs.
The question is how did they do it without any income in the family? The husband and wife were both unemployed and could not afford remittances. What do we expect from such children and family who are raised in such difficult situations? The mahangu field they have is too small and the soil is no longer fertile. Many of their peers who went into exile were lucky because they got jobs either in the police or NDF upon their return to the country.
The same group I am referring to is not at the age of 60 years yet for them to get a social grant, and they are taking care of their extended families of either 20 people per household or sometimes more. My thinking is that these people need assistance somehow because to wait for this group to reach the age of 60 to get assistance seems like we as a country are not doing justice to other humans to enjoy and put bread on the table.
You can just imagine the suffering these families are going through.
The reason why poverty follows some clan or family sometimes could be because of the way resources are distributed, making the majority of people suffer in the process. Normally I define ‘poor’ as something about the way we use the resources we get. But in this case this person does not get anything at all from anywhere.
Some well-off people would say why can’t this group do business and generate an own income? Some Namibians suggested basic income grant (BIG) which I am also supporting provided that a thorough research is conducted of who and which families are to benefit.
After so many thoughts I come to one suggestion which I am however not sure of – but where there’s a will there is always a way. I understand all requirements and laws of the Republic of Namibia but my thought was that while we have social grants and subvention for war veterans in place from government, and the majority of Namibian veterans are beneficiaries of social grants, I think that maybe government has to decide that if one gets the N$2 200 that war veterans receive monthly, they should no longer get the old-age social grant of N$600 per month.
That amount of N$600 can then be given to someone else so that we can accommodate the group I am referring to into social grants, plus other disadvantaged groups who have no means of income at all.
Why I am thinking of impossible is because I want to see equal distribution of our resources.
In conclusion, I would like to urge our youth to refrain from excessive use of alcohol. Alcohol is destroying our youth and it is putting the future of this nation at risk. I would want to suggest something, I know it will hurt many and they will want to kill me but I do not care how they feel. What I want is a better Namibia. Let us introduce the system of supporting local products and the government can buy the produced product from individuals.
I believe we may save many lives as people would want to work harder and get bread. If we succeed to do so then we can talk about the opening of bars and all cuca-shops only at seven in the evening (19h00) and close around 21h30 – that way we will make people think of other better business than bars which contribute heavily to the destruction of our country.