Youth in Gam face information blackout

20 Sep 2018 13:50pm
By Charles Tjatindi
GAM, 20 SEP (NAMPA) – Young people in Gam, some 400 kilometres north-east of Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa Region, have bemoaned the lack of educational and recreation facilities at the settlement.
In various interviews with Nampa on Monday, the youth said the absence of a youth centre or any form of community centre has left many of them with nothing to do, and forces some to turn to alcohol as a way to pass time.
The Gam settlement came into existence in 1994 as a reception centre for returning Namibians who had been living in Botswana after they fled the extermination of Ovaherero and Nama people between 1904 and 1908.
Less than 5 000 people live here and the majority are youth.
Connie Ujandja, who has been a resident of Gam since returning to Namibia some 10 years ago, said the non-availability of fresh, updated information is a big obstacle for them.
She said other than the local ‘Omurari Radio’ (former NBC Otjiherero Service) which broadcasts in their native Otjiherero, no other medium of information sharing exists for them.
“We are forced to use notices at prominent places to convey vital information to other youth on government programmes or announcements. Due to the vastness of the area, this has not been an effective method of communication,” she said.
Ujandja said young people are often forced to travel to Tsumkwe, some 110km away, for basic services such as photocopying of documents when applying for employment.
“It is hard for us as we are often last to find out about available positions. We only find out if someone in Windhoek calls us to tell us about a vacant position,” she said.
Kavangere Tjeundo told this news agency the absence of internet at Gam has cut them off from the rest of the country and the world.
“What kind of life is this where you only hear of something a week after it has happened? What good will that do? We miss important information,” he said.
The youth called on Government and the private sector to assist them with business training and mentoring, so as to become self-reliant.
“If I can be assisted to start a profitable business enterprise here in Gam, I will have no reason to leave this place as it is home. All we need is some form of mentoring and financial assistance to be able to do so,” said Ujandja.
Approached for comment on Thursday, Tsumkwe Constituency Councillor, Fransina Ghauz said the complaints of Gam youth are well documented by her office.
She said the lack of information is indeed a serious concern, adding that her office has had several engagements with the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, as well as other stakeholders, to improve the situation.
“We are working around the clock to address this matter and we are hoping for a speedy solution to it,” she said.
Ghauz added that the vacant position of youth officer in Tsumkwe will soon be filled to cater for Gam as well, and the new person will be tasked with initiating and leading programmes aimed at youth development.