Building our own

Americans look at other nations and see progress of their influence, among them IBM, Apple Mac, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and the Big Mac to name but a few, not to mention their national sports, Basketball, American Football and Baseball. Even their national budgets will always give a good and reasonable chunk of the tax payers’ money to fund the development and promotion of the above.

The government is actively supporting developmental efforts that it calls its own. Moreover, the government has gone further to even support development efforts of other countries, trying to ‘Americanize’ itself.

What a smart way of conquering the world. Flipping the coin, the end result could be the level of poverty among the youth. The only requirement to land a top spot in the world of sports and entertainment without exception is talent backed by discipline. The Third World countries only know how to protect their territories when it comes to physical encounter, i.e. war.

Namibia is a top boxing nation. We have achieved more in boxing than in any other sport on the international scene. Not taking away anything from the national game ‘football’ and athletics. Indeed Frank is one in a million. Maybe he should not have changed his name. Boxing has put our young nation on the world map, and it has proven itself to be a financially stable profession with examples being the two boxing success stories in Simon and Moses. Surely, we will not expect Nampower alone to be the sole sponsor of boxing in Namibia. Talent is in abundance, and surely the interest and enthusiasm is there amongst the youth.

Why can we not develop what our youth possess? What we need here is full support from our government and total discipline from our youth and The Villager assures you, we will perform wonders. And The Villager keeps on reminding the young ones that have the courage to visit him that, “discipline is half the learning”. And you know what, this wisdom was given to The Villager by his grandfather years back, when they were coming from the fields and sitting under a tree, enjoying that healthy ekopi Lyontaku (a mugg of Ontanku).

The Villager totally agrees that “the disparity of wealth between the west and the rest of the world is far too great to be explained by culture alone.” What do Pakistanis and Namibians have in common culturally? That’s if you take away colonialism. Most people want the fruits of capital - so much so that many are flocking to westernized cities and towns, Windhoek and Walvis Bay takes the cake. Maybe it is to do with the administration structures of our systems. All the head offices of most companies, government departments and high commissions are located in the city. What happened to the decentralization?

The Villager notes with grave concern the pace of decentralization in our land. Why is it that a project in Kapako Constituency in Rundu is discussed and finalized in Windhoek? Why is it that we still invite Chiefs and Headman from Caprivi to come and attend meetings and functions for Kavango Region at a conference centre located a few kilometers outside Windhoek?

Desperate Measures

Look around you at any mall or shopping centre. There is always somebody trying to make money out of you. If it’s not a “conventional shop”, it’s some villagers trying to make a deal with you with some fake brands. Lately, God forbid, your neighbor has turned the house into a sheebeen. To the Villager this is a sign that Namibia posses talent, enthusiasm and an astonishing ability to wring a profit out of practically nothing.

After all, markets are an ancient and universal tradition: Christ drove the merchants out of the temple two thousand years ago. Dr. Nambala would tell you trading have been taking place among Namibian tribes long before the arrival of early spies, missionaries. How come in today’s free and independent Namibia there is mistrust among villagers? Why is it that villagers prefer to patronise businesses owned by people from faraway places? The irony of it is that when villagers are visited by natural phenomenon like death and floods, they run to their own. In the immediate surroundings are normal business people who are normally inferential than government. The circulation of capital among villagers is very limited if at all. For as long as villagers continue to be confined into retail (informal) sector, only people from faraway places will continue to make more capital than villagers.

The villager fully subscribe to the fact that “capital is the force that raises the productivity of labour and creates the wealth of nations”. That is the life blood of capitalism. Painfully so, that is a stumbling block to many villagers. But how true is it that villagers do not have the means? Villagers actually do have the means. It’s just that the form in which the capital is is a bit suspect- without value.. Thus, in defective forms. Business and houses build on land whose ownership rights are not existing, unincorporated businesses with undefined liability and industries located where financiers and investors cannot see them. Ideas and resources are our greatest assets.

We are however found wanting on the principles of innovation, courage and the strength to soldier on. Why do we have to wait for ‘visitors’ to identify opportunities for us? Why is it that we will only see value in our resources when a certain professor from a certain country points it out to us? What puzzles the Villager is the fact that the same opportunities were identified years back by the community and the policy makers did not even support them to enable them to realize these opportunities.

In terms of enterprises, there is an area called Ombuga, located west of Ondangwa which is grossly economically under-utilized. What makes it unique? The biggest populations of cattle roam there communally. It is a natural habitat for fish farming. It’s the best place to watch sunset. Its wide open and unspoiled space is pregnant with tourism potential. Water for Green Schemes is never a problem. Ombuga is a classic example mirroring many villagers in Namibia condemned to dead capital.

All is not lost at Ombuga. All things being equal, Ombuga shall realize her economic potential sooner rather than later. The communities around Ombuga see the opportunity and The Villager understands that they will not wait for the Professor to tell them about those opportunities. What is the problem then? Capital and a well coordinated effort? How many lawmakers know the area?

The Villager is mindful of the fact that one of the greatest challenges to human mind is to comprehend and to gain access to those things we know exist but cannot see. Thus not everything that is real and useful is tangible and visible. Time, for example, is real, but it can only be efficiently managed when it is represented by a clock or a calendar. And guess what? Time will not wait for you; time will not keep you being youth for the rest of your life. It is because of this unfortunate fact about time, that the Villager always encourage the youth to be more energetic. That’s why he always tells them to make hay whilst the sun is shines. If you don’t do that, you will be part of failed generation. Our offsprings will spit on our graves in frustration. So the youth of today must wake up and smell the coffee.

Livestock alone can motion industries including dairy, hides, wool and meat and bio-fuel. Livestock also have the useful attribute of being able to reproduce itself. Let’s get the confusion of capital being confused with money out of the way. According to Adam Smith, “money is the great wheel of circulation”, but it is not capital because “value cannot consist in those metal pieces”

The Villager recently attended a cattle show at Mangetti area, not the one where the event became a photo session of failed politicians. The Villager saw for the first time Nguni cattle fatter than a pig. The owner of the cattle is an old man whose appearance is very deceiving. You would think he is no different from any other villager of his generation. Very destitute with saddles made out of old tyres and hanging shirt and overall. The old man is stinking rich. The fastest mode of transport is Nanghelo, a horse. Since he grazes his cattle in Kavango area, he walks in front of his animals and they obediently follow without going astray.

That is how much he has bonded with his cows (wealth). Normally cattle run around during the cattle show, but Nehanga has a way of performing a dance and a chant as he calls on his ancestors by their names and the cows will be motionless until he orders them otherwise. The point is; the Nehangas of this world are many in Namibia. The Nehangas of this world do not derive recognition and capital from their trade secrets on how they farm like their counterparts across the red line. Their wisdom ought to be preserved and commercialized for the benefit of tomorrow. All things done and said, Nehanga is fit and healthy for his age.

Somebody once eluded that if capitalism had a mind, it would be located in the legal property system. He went on to say like most things pertaining to the mind, much of capitalism today operates at a subconscious level. The Villager bets you today that the level of unemployment in Namibia is not above 50%. The problem is that the majority of people are employed in unregistered entities. By the way, above scenario includes the Tate Buti’s of this world. The challenge is how to bring these people into formal employment without rocking the boat? With the government being the biggest consumer, it is soothing that the “Cool President” who for the first time invited artist to the “ funky state house” should direct the line ministers to bring the Nehangas of this world into the formal economy.

What is puzzling to The Villager is the fact that all Namibian law-makers have roots in villages. And yet they have not gone back and uplift the lives of their own communities. The Nehangas of this world deserve better. And you need not form a political party to drive this point home. The Villager got to know better the “Cool President” through his old friend Haimbondi Uaandja. He related a beautiful story to him on their encounter (Haimbondi and the Cool President) with a lion while herding cattle. They tamed a lion, and both survived, to tell the story. But then again, until the lion has his or her own storyteller, the hunter will always have the best part of the story.PF