Presence of shebeens in Namibia questioned

14 Sep 2016 15:50pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 14 SEP (NAMPA) – A Berseba resident and mother on Tuesday questioned Government’s consent to shebeens in the country during a National Council Women Caucus (NCWC) outreach at the village.
“Should there really be shebeens in this country while there are so many uplifting things that Government can offer its people?” Helena Stein asked.
NCWC chairperson Margaret Mensah-Williams and members Rosa Kavara, Melania Ndjago and Fransina Ghauz visited Berseba to confer with the community on a number of pertinent social issues, such as alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy and gender equality.
The group held a community meeting and also visited the Kaitsi !Gubeb Combined School, where a teacher said that five of the school’s girls fell pregnant last year.
The women councillors said they were reaching out to communities in the regions as mothers to get input on problematic societal issues that could be remedied through legislation.
“We have embarked on these visits to urge people to rise on issues such as alcohol abuse and the presence of shebeens in their communities,” Mensah-Williams said.
Stein said in the community meeting that all social ills are exacerbated by shebeens in residential areas.
“We have problems of violence, teenage pregnancies and crime, and everything starts there at the shebeens. Those who do not drink cannot sleep at night because shebeens do not adhere to the regulations and the operating times,” Stein charged.
She said she is losing a son to drug and alcohol abuse and asked Government to assist parents by either closing or properly regulating liquor outlets.
Another mother said that in addition to alcohol and drug abuse, parents are struggling with the infiltration of the hubbly-bubbly (“oka pyp”) in Berseba.
Mathilda Motinga told the meeting about a man at the village who once tried to kill himself out of anger and hopelessness when someone else destroyed his “oka pyp”.
“In my house, I fight with my two daughters who smoke that pipe and who feel that there is nothing wrong with it,” she said.
Keetmanshoop Police Station Commander, Chief Inspector Elizabeth Windstaan suggested that laws on the hubbly-bubbly would help to prevent children from smoking the pipe.
Also known as a hookah, the “oka pyp” is a tool used for smoking usually flavoured tobacco through water contained in a glass vessel.
The NCWC travelled with a theatre group, Born A Star Productions, that gave performances on nationhood, pride of culture, equal treatment of the girl-child, sexual health and education.