But children actually dying of hunger for years was shocking news - why did all our government people stay mum for so long, and why did they not speak up years ago already?
We know that the south of Namibia has had its own problems since the collapse of the karakul industry – the youth ‘degenerated’ in terms of job opportunities and never recovered. Once, the South knew no joblessness, the karakul sheep cared for all the rural people there and it even cared for Namibia but today, joblessness is the South’s most prominent attribute. And the ‘chums’ of joblessness are hunger, alcohol abuse and poverty in extremis.
The Hardap governor advised the people to establish gardens behind their houses and offices. It’s easier said than done. Many people cannot even afford to pay for their drinking water and a garden does not grow without lots of water. And please remember, municipalities, villages and settlements are often without water because NamWater shuts down its water delivery – the water-debt is in line with poverty, it is huge.
Water - as well as other basic commodities - has become too expensive today for the poor. In addition, there is the question of knowledge. Knowledge about gardening is in short supply nowadays in urban areas!
A promising possibility would be to go via farming at the new Neckartal Dam, which, sadly, is still a project, probably even a dying project.
The building of the dam should have started two years ago already and the preparing of agricultural land should have been in full swing today.
However, news is that almost nothing happened besides rumours of in-fighting in the ministries involved in the project.
We read about accusations of corruption on a great scale in our daily papers. Nevertheless, there is still hope for the project. Let us say this, if the necessary integrity of the municipalities of the south, and the honesty and the community spirit of the people selected to run the projects for their communal farming was intact, farming for the individual communities/towns by themselves on farms of the Neckartal farming project could be a success. It could be the best and most economical way to secure food – and, additionally, an income for the communities.
And this we want to ask too: why can local authorities not get fishing quotas on behalf of their people? Any well connected Tom, Dick and Harry in this country gets his quota, why not the towns and villages?
Then there are the resettlement farmers who failed so badly that they left their farms – and these are rotting away! Could some of these farms not be allocated to communities and could communities not hire professionals to run the farms for them?
Hungry people should start to think afresh. Too many of our people are sleeping hungry every night and if only one single child dies because of hunger, it is one too much. Our country is a rich country; some Namibians grow filthy rich and starving children and freezing elderly in our streets are a shame for us all, as is the bulldozing of the houses of poor people! Our society has to wake up. We have to find new ways to care for those going hungry and homeless in Namibia.
The ‘fat cats’ and our politicians will not care beyond cheap words; otherwise they would have started to do something long ago. It’s up to us, the poor and neglected people to help our brothers and sisters and our children in distress and to help ourselves because we know, we are able to fight the ills of our society. We are not disabled, we can think, we can work – if only given the fair opportunity. We can even establish our own party, the Party of the Poor! WE are the majority in Namibia, not those who abuse us!