First Lady Monica Geingos says the construction of any house, whether in Rehoboth, Katima Mulilo or elsewhere, and the construction of the proverbial Namibian House are similar, in that they provide Namibians with a sense of belonging.
She drew parallels between the metaphorical Namibian House and the houses that people live in, saying each provides its owners with a sense of identity and belonging.
She described a home as a place where families live in communion, help each other, treat each other fairly, love one another and protect each other from harm.
“If the home is broken, our society is broken. The need to provide houses extends beyond just providing a roof over someone’s head. It is about creating homes, stable happy homes. Once you have a house, you need to make it a home and a house cannot be a home if there is no love, no food and no peace.”
Speaking during a donation handover at Rehoboth on Friday Geingos also touched on the high levels of violence in society that are generally worrying, but seem more prevalent in the Hardap Region.
According to national statistics on gender-based violence (GBV) the Hardap Region with 79 507 residents has the same amount of GBV cases as Otjozondjupa Region that has 143 903 residents.
In comparison to other regions Hardap per capita has higher violence levels than most regions, relative to their population size.
“Lots of the gender-based violence is happening in these houses we are building. A house where there is no peace, there is no love and in many instances, alcohol is a companion of GBV crimes. Throughout the country, we accept the societal problems caused through excessive alcohol and substance abuse,” Geingos noted.
Through the generosity of 1 427 Namibians and some corporate entities around N$1,3 million was collected during the Standard Bank Buy-a-Brick project. The donation was handed over to the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN).
The funds were donated to the SDFN, which then lends it to its members who use the funds to buy or build houses. They then repay the money so that SDFN can use the revolving credit scheme to issue more loans.
“This model speaks to government meeting its people halfway with affordable land. The people themselves meet government halfway by saving to pay for their plots, as well as being involved in the construction of their houses. The private sector is playing its part through assisting these communities,” she said.
In the spirit of Harambee 48 new homeowners in Rehoboth Extension 8 are now able to move into their own dignified two-bedroomed homes of 60 square metres each, at a meagre cost of N$30 000.
Geingos urged Namibians to recognise the need to address the root causes of problems within communities. “Some of our problems need to be resolved through government interventions, but some of them need to be resolved by us. The government cannot stop parents from abusing their children, husbands from beating their wives, mothers dumping their babies, fathers running away from supporting their children and children from misbehaving and refusing to go to school. These are issues that require personal interventions.”
“With our rights as citizens come responsibilities. One of the reasons I admire the SDFN is because they insist on their rights, but they understand their responsibility. They are trying to meet government halfway. They have savings groups and members who have been saving to buy land.
“Government is assisting through making it cheaper, sometimes free. The private sector is coming in through corporate social investment. This is the spirit of Harambee. This is the spirit of taking responsibility,” she added.
Geingos further praised the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, Rehoboth Town Council, Standard Bank and the community for their contributions.
“There is still a lot of work to do and when we all pull in the same direction we can build the Namibian House the president is so passionate about,” she added.