Students at the University of Namibia (Unam)’s Southern Campus are fuming over the ban of alcohol during the recently ended Unam Cultural Festival.
Students New Era spoke to expressed dismay at the decision to ban the sale of alcohol on campus during the festival.
Some said they had planned to rent stalls for a fee of N$150, as well as N$20 registration fee, but the banning of alcohol discouraged them, because they would not have made a profit, due to a lack of customers.
“Alcohol will bring in more revenue and more people will turn up,” said one displeased student, who preferred anonymity.
The disappointed students indicated that renting a stall this year was a waste of time and money, given that people did not turn up in great numbers to support the festival due to the alcohol ban.
Others argued that customers cannot come from far places just to buy vetkoek or cooldrinks.
“There’s no way you can have such an event and ban alcohol. This is not a church,” said another student who also requested anonymity.
The students further questioned why the sale of alcohol is not prohibited at other campuses during the festival, saying they do not understand why they are denied the same opportunities as other students, while they are attending the same university.
The students also claim that they had on numerous occasions enquired why alcohol was banned, but the student support officer gave them no satisfactory explanation. Although some students claim they were allowed to sell alcohol during previous festivals, Southern Campus assistant pro-vice chancellor Dr Erold Naomab strongly denied this.
He indicated that the institution has never allowed the sale of alcohol on campus during previous cultural festivals and thus the complaints have no merit.
He said he had not received any official complaint from any student in connection with the ban of alcohol, further explaining that due to its location and other circumstances, the campus has never allowed students to sell alcohol.
“We’ve never sold alcohol, unless it’s some form of traditional brew,” he said. He explained that the festival is aimed at celebrating tradition and culture and is not a conventional business platform.
Furthermore, he explained that the set-up of the campus is different from other campuses and thus there is a limitation on the activities that can be accommodated, as the campus is within a residential area and currently operates from the teachers’ resource centre and these factors limit some activities.
He said overall, the festival was an improvement on the previous two events. “The outcome was excellent,” he said.
Some students who managed to get stalls told New Era that business was good, while others had mixed feelings, saying business was satisfactory, but the availability of alcohol would have boosted their sales, as more people would have turned up.