Or educational statements like “problems based on language will gradually be solved ... as more people gain experience in using English in everyday life” (V2030, p 123). Let’s keep away from matters of HIV and social parentage issues or NDP4’s need for N$189 billion over five years versus a three-year MTEF total of N$120 billion even allowing for overlaps!
Yes lovely papers, we are incredibly proud of our female Olympian marathon runners, but our ability to achieve the four gold medals is just not there and despite claims that government is driven by performance, accountability and transparency, it is quite clear that the same old, ineffective hacks remain in charge. Reality is our government is driven by its own selfishness and greed. Prove me wrong!
The comment on English, probably valid in my opinion, appears to be in conflict with the national views expressed by officials and legislators who want more indigenous language and less focus on English. Opposing views from the same sources. What do we really believe and want?
But it is with social and health issues that the sugar really hits the fan. I see that we have just finished ‘Breastfeeding Week’ with an explanatory text published on the last day! A bit reminiscent of another celebratory period with that multilateral joke, the UN, with its 2008 ‘Year of the Potato’; Google that! But back to the use of mammaries. Apart from the incredible statistics showing how breastfeeding makes kids more intelligent, healthier and all but pointing out how Namibian mothers are failing.
I, of course due to post-WWII rationing, was breastfed in until I was 18 months. For my granddaughter, with a Namibian mum, it was even longer and both of us, so far, turned out OK. I have also had the privilege of helping (unrelated to me!), a teenage mum and daughter grow up, both fed on the packet stuff. They seem OK to me as well. This latter experience opened my eyes to the real problem of early child growth, fathers, or lack of them, and the social and economic difficulties that the vast proportion of Namibian mums have to face.
I then look at our gender and child programmes which seem, as is usual with Namibian actions, to focus upon consequences rather than cause. Great claims are made for the penetration of child support funding despite the globally known problem that many of such inputs are fraudulent (!), almost no progress is made on father responsibility apart from legislation that makes men even less likely to face up to their responsibilities!
Our HIV-AIDS programmes have a similar pattern, we praise, probably justifiably, our ARV programme keeping the infected alive longer but duck the issue that infection rates are increasing! Our basic policies are driven by a belief that throwing money at a problem solves the problem rather than the real need, behavioural change. Infection rates are generally three new infections for every two new ARV recipients!
Thus ‘Breastfeeding Week’, while admirable in intent, is yet another public relations boob. Until the absent fathers are brought to book, infant deprivation will remain a Namibian reality.
All part of the culture of sucking on the Namibian mammary (Treasury) rather than finding real solutions. It is about time we started looking for low cost solutions and delivered real solutions.