Dear Namibian Standards Institution, we need real standards

Let’s face it, folks, the Namibian Standards Institution (NSI) celebrating its 15th anniversary with a slap-up dinner is about as believable as a politician keeping a campaign promise.

Namibia might be blessed with stunning landscapes, but standardised anything? Forget about it.

Take speed humps, for instance. Those magnificent, misshapen monstrosities scattered across our roads. Some resemble the head of a certain – ahem – former leader, leaving you wondering if slowing down cars or causing national post-traumatic stress disorder was the real goal.

You hit one of these ‘humps’ (emphasis on the air quotes) at 30km/h, and you swear you’ve just flattened a rogue watermelon. Now, where’s the NSI in all this? Missing in action, that’s where.

We have speed humps the size of molehills in the north that wouldn’t slow down a snail, and then down south, you encounter what appears to be a half-built dam wall masquerading as a traffic calming device.

My inner conspiracy theorist wonders how many babies have suffered from road-induced shaken baby syndrome thanks to these ‘creative interpretations’ of speed humps. Let’s be honest, who would suspect a speed bump of being a vehicular weapon?

And then there’s Otjiwarongo. Those clever folks figured out a standard all of their own – potholes so large they could swallow a Volkswagen whole.

Why bother with speed humps when you have a built-in obstacle course, right? Just imagine the savings on tenders for the monstrosities.

Speaking of repairs, who cares about the ever-increasing cost of replacing car parts, thanks to these ‘hump-de-bumps’? Apparently, not the NSI. They’re too busy, you see, ensuring the nation has a uniform supply of … well, that one specific type of bolt used in government buildings, maybe?

Now, let’s not forget the real tragedy – the shrinking size of the beloved Namibian vetkoek.

Remember those glorious mangwinya the size of Harry Simon’s fist, dripping with oil and perfectly seasoned? Those are a distant memory. Now, we’re subjected to these eyeball-sized excuses of a pastry, costing a dollar a pop!

It’s enough to make you want to report someone to the traditional authorities for messing up an ancient tradition.

The NSI, with their expertise in, uh, bolt standardisation, could perhaps intervene here, too. Imagine a world where vetkoek have a minimum weight requirement, with a mandatory sprinkle of sugar and a dash of salt for good measure.

We, the Namibian people, are willing to pay a fair price, but this current situation is highway robbery masquerading as breakfast.

And lastly, there’s the bizarre phenomenon of forehead-based pricing. You walk into a shop, the vendor gives you the once-over, lands on your shiny forehead and suddenly the price doubles.

Where’s the logic in that? Maybe the NSI could mandate price tags at eye-level, eliminating the whole ‘forehead fortune-telling’ business.

Come to think of it, there is more. Namibia’s a small country, how much can the weather really differ? Well, let me tell you, friends, a trip from Rundu to Keetmanshoop in winter is like hopping through Narnia’s wardrobe.

Up north, you might need a light sweater, while down south, you’re layering on thermals and praying for an early summer. The audacity of Mother Nature, right?

This is where the NSI truly has a chance to shine. Standardise the darn weather! Set one level of cold for the entire country. Maybe they can invent giant air conditioners for the north and super-powered heaters for the south. Think about it – national temperature uniformity!

Everyone bundled up in cozy jackets, sipping hot chocolate, regardless of region. Wouldn’t that be a glorious, slightly dystopian, yet strangely comforting vision? The possibilities are endless, my friends.

Look, Namibia needs the NSI to step out of their textbooks and fancy conferences. They can stop discussing measuring tapes and what a kilogramme really weighs and get to work where we need them most.

We need them to address the real issues plaguing everyday life. Standardise speed humps, save our vetkoek, and for the love of all that is fair, put an end to forehead-based economics. Most importantly, speak to Odillo Kgobetsi and let him understand that we are ‘One Namibia, One Nation’, and we deserve an equal winter.

Otherwise, they might as well rename themselves the Namibian Institute for Slightly-Less-Random Bolt Sizes.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News