Recognition Might Motivate Better Behaviour

Although an entrepreneur par excellence, the veteran broadcaster Kolie van Coller, the founder of one of Namibia’s commercially most successful radio stations, is not known outside media circles.

At the turn of the century Van Coller started a radio station in a booth located on the upper level of Windhoek’s Wernhil Park Mall, and from humble beginnings he grew it to become a business success story.

From a booth in a shopping mall the enterprise expanded, and today it operates from a modern broadcast studio on the eastern side of the city.
In many respects Van Coller was ahead of his time as a broadcaster, impresario and entrepreneur, and for conceptualising, crafting and

implementing uniquely innovative corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes.

He lifted outside broadcasting at the premises of businesses around Namibia to a higher level than ever seen before.
Many firms, large and small, will attest that when his radio station did on-site broadcast at their premises it focused on marketing and opened up new revenue streams.

As an impresario Van Coller brought international entertainers to Namibia, including the acclaimed bands Smokie and Bellamy Brothers.
His innovative CSR programmes made their mark too, such as one that was dubbed ‘Traffic Watch’.

In the early hours of a workday a radio announcer, seated in a helicopter with a bird’s-eye view of traffic movement in the capital, alerted motorists to vehicle congestion, roads under repair, non-functioning traffic lights and other potential hazards.

A variation of ‘Traffic Watch’ continues, but is now not done from the air but on terra firma, using vehicles, and executed in collaboration with the Windhoek City Police.

Another community service or CSR programme conceptualised by Van Coller is ‘Cops’, which is run to this day – also in collaboration with the Windhoek City Police.

Accompanied by the police, roving reporters spotlight criminal hotspots live, and report on misdemeanours and unsocial behaviour.

As a deterrent the programme promotes public awareness and encourages cooperation with law enforcers in the fight against crime.

Now retired from business, in his succession plan Van Coller prepared his children and the radio’s staff to take over, and they now own, manage and run the radio station.

Another CSR programme implemented by Van Coller is worthy of a mention, and that is ‘Taxi Watch’, which recognised and rewarded good driving behaviour by taxi drivers.

Travelling to work this week the civil, thoughtful and caring behaviour of the driver of a blue taxi bearing number S083 caught my attention.

Would anyone using the capital city’s roads disagree that such impressive road rule adherence and behaviour by a taxi driver in Windhoek is the exception rather than the rule?

Ask any motorist and they would liberally share their experience of taxis in Windhoek and at other towns, which blatantly flout traffic rules, such as ignoring stop signs at four-way intersections, paying scant attention to traffic light signals, speeding and recklessly overtaking, hardly ever using indicators when turning and stopping abruptly in the middle of a road.
How will this issue ever be solved?

A solution could be to reintroduce Kolie van Coller’s ‘Taxi Watch’ programme that recognises and rewards good behaviour as a motivational strategy for other taxi drivers to emulate.

  • * Danny Meyer is reachable at

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