Daily Observer

NSFAF funded foreign study is unaffordable

NSFAF can no longer support Namibians attending foreign universities. The little money that remains in state coffers, cannot be stretched that far. All students that have completed half of their requirements (for example) could be funded to finish. But, all others must return and the program shut down. NSFAF funds are loans. Those receiving them should be allowed to spend them on the education of their choosing. Unpredictable foreign exchange fluctuations; the high cost of sending money; and the lack of funds to assist students in emergency situations, makes the program untenable. There are good reasons to support foreign study…
Read More

Are the youth any better?

When we see those involved in the Fishrot debacle, we see that male youth empowerment is well underway - in the wrong direction. The rhetorical anthem of anyone seeking political kudos always includes youth SME loans, youth bursaries, more NSFAF loan money, and the usual vague comments in speeches about helping youth advance. Given that the majority of the population in Namibia is below 39, this makes sense. But, have the youth prepared themselves to build a better Namibia? Or is it all about self-enrichment? The younger people in lucrative power positions are overwhelmingly young men. Are the shouts about…
Read More

When ‘deep regrets’ are not enough

The country is abuzz with comments on the Facebook rant of Corien Steenkamp, a second-grade assistant teacher from Hillside Christian College in Walvis Bay. The mere thought that someone with such guttural racist beliefs is anywhere near children, is extremely disturbing. She has made a statement that she deeply regrets her racist rant. Does she regret the fact that she is holds racist beliefs or that she was caught doing so? These are two very different things. We believe everyone is very sorry when they get caught. Very few are actually sorry that did the nasty deed in the first…
Read More

Grandstanding Geingob sinks Air Namibia

President Hage Geingob stood up in the Parliament and dropped an attention-grabbing bomb. He stated that Air Namibia would be liquidated. Statesmanship and studied leadership was not his goal with that precipitous statement. Self-aggrandisement was. Our esteemed president holds an earned PhD and has 60 years of world experience and exposure to the way things work. He makes statements not from ignorance but with calculation. It is the self-serving side of his personality that is a fatal flaw in his otherwise reasonable leadership persona. When asked in that same parliamentary session about Fishrot, Geingob was demure and coquettish. He said…
Read More

Take it seriously and let’s finish

The expansion of the Stage One regulations for the current State of Emergency to the Erongo region is a nightmare. But, it has been bought on by the people of that area not taking the government’s declaration on June 1st for Walvis Bay seriously. If you were warned that a huge pride of lions is in the area, why hold an outside braai and then cry foul when they come running towards the smell of your meat? Let the rest of us in Namibia get tough with ourselves, our friends, family members and those in our communities regarding this pandemic.…
Read More

A hangman’s noose ≠ ‘do not litter’

…public brands of Namibia, must reflect who we are now Forget about what was really meant by two men enjoying white privilege during apartheid in Namibia, by their construction of a hangman’s noose in Henties Bay in 1978. The convoluted context offered as the supposed reason which the gallows was erected 42 years ago is irrelevant to the 2020 perception of it. A small gallows on a public beach in Namibia is no longer perceived as an ‘innocent joke’ or a ‘harmless gesture.’ Only those who never face the possibility of extrajudicial torture or murder at the hands of angry…
Read More

SONA shout-backs are the new normal

We watched the State of the Nation speech delivered by President Hage Geingob. We want to focus on the shout-backs during his speech by a few members of the parliament. With the change in the Swapo over-dominance in the previous parliament, there are now more voices of elected parties that have much to say. And, they will most definitely say it. Many of these voices are younger and might be new to public politics. Others have different experiences and agendas and will be ready to ‘take on’ the mighty Swapo Party in a den it previously controlled. Regardless of the…
Read More

SONA in a time of crisis is a challenge

What can any leader really say during the worse time in the history of the country he was elected to lead? President Geingob’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) rehashed the drips and drops of positive news that have already been in headlines. The speech tries to convince the nation that the glass is half full; many will still see it as half empty. In our view, the Finance Minister’s budget speech presents the real SONA. The president stated the disturbingly high unemployment statistics for Namibia that we already knew, (i.e., 33 percent in general with youth unemployment at 46.1…
Read More

Everything is connected

People are uncertain these days. The economy is in decline. Solutions to lift it up will be slow, painful and might not work. The pandemic might take turns that no one can predict (though we all hope not). In such distressing circumstances, selfishness easily emerges in people and in businesses. Far too many are ready to step on the bodies of others, just to get to the lifeboats first. To avoid the stampede of self-preservation, we all must understand that everything is connected. The money needed to be paid to others must come from others who don’t have money because…
Read More

Schools want absolution

As schools partially re-open this week, some are forcing parents to sign indemnity forms that they assume will relieve these educational institutions of any responsibility for protecting learners from exposure to COVID-19. Are these forms a type of ‘washing of the hands’ ala Pontius Pilot or are they an insensitive bureaucratic step that leaves parents even more uncertain? During a time of crisis, reassurance is needed. People are nervous and uncertain, particularly parents of school aged kids. Institutions of stability like the government, churches and schools must step up to their higher place in society. They must lead from the…
Read More