Alcohol, govt neglect destroying Namas

September 10, 2014, 8:50am

Alcohol, govt neglect destroying Namas

The chairperson of the Nama Traditional Leaders’ Association, David Frederick, has expressed his dissatisfaction with the persistent socio-economic neglect of his people, and has called for the closure of shebeens, as alcohol is destroying the tribe.
Frederick told Namibian Sun that government knows very well about the extermination and expropriation of land and property of the Namas, which had contributed to their social status today.
However, nothing was being done to redress this.
“One Namibia, One Nation (slogan) is silencing us from talking about our exclusion from mainstream economic development and empowerment in Namibia,” he said.
He requested government to provide education to Nama children so they can feel proud and be part of the One Namibia, One Nation agenda.
Frederick is the traditional chief of the Soremas Traditional Authority of the !Aman Nama tribal group in the Bethanie area.
He also slammed the flow of alcohol into Namibia, especially into areas he referred to as Namaland.
The traditional leader, in particular called for the closure of the shebeens operating in those areas, as alcohol is destroying the younger generation.
He also expressed dissatisfaction with employment opportunities for his people at the N$3 billion Neckartal Dam project, which is being constructed within the heartland of the Nama communal areas.
He said shortly before the commencement of the construction of the dam, traditional chiefs in the former Namaland were requested by //Karas Regional Governor Clinton Swartbooi to each avail 50 workers from their areas.
However, they are now being told there are only jobs for welders, truck drivers, boiler makers and operators of excavation machines.
According to him the contractor, Salini SpA, is avoiding meetings with traditional authorities, while their pleas to government are falling on deaf ears.
“There is immense discrimination and we are calling on the government to ensure that inhabitants of the area are also considered equally in employment opportunities,” the chief said.
Frederick said government is seemingly not concerned with the effects the genocide had on the tribe.
He related the Germans came to Namibia with the Bible and signed protection treaties and established garrisons at water points.
In 1904 and 1905 extermination orders were issued against the Herero and Nama.
Fertile land was expropriated in favour of the colonial settlers.
He also touched on the graves of genocide victims situated in the vicinity of Lüderitz.
According to him, 24 bags of human bones have been collected in the area during the upgrading the Lüderitz rail line.
He expressed concern about the delay in government carrying out DNA tests on the remains
“I am calling on the all the Nama and the Herero traditional leaders to exert pressure on the authorities to carry out DNA testing to determine the age and origin of the remains, so we can have a decent burial for our forefathers,” Frederick said.
The chief also lamented the fact that government does not look after his people and that it does not offer support for any sustainable development in the traditional areas.
He said the Nama tribal groupings are so divided and have lost respect and pride.
Frederick called on every Nama child to see the necessity and importance of unity.
According to him the Nama Traditional Leaders’ Association is trying to achieve unity.
He said the scary fact is that in every Nama group there are splinter groupings, leading to disharmony in almost every facet of their
life.
“I want to talk to chiefs and the traditional community members about these issues and it shouldn’t be the responsibility of the chief only, but must be the task of all the community members,” he stressed.
He wants all the members of the Nama groupings to ask themselves: “Why am I, as a person who is originating from Bethanie, far from people of Bethanie?”
According to him the isolation of members of the tribal groupings leads to poverty and backwardness.

 Fred Goeieman: Namibian Sun