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News Blog

A collection of longer form stories, submitted, sourced, or written by our team, that would not make sense to cover in a traditional broadcast news format, but which we wanted to share with you anyway.

(please note that views and opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of Radiowave).

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Iono - Behind the Bulletins

Parents need to tighten belts after budget cuts

Here is a rather good media release issued by Bank Windhoek detailing what parents can expect following the announcement that government is to cut available subsidies to schools:
With government budgetary cuts now affecting secondary schools, parents will need to tighten their belts even further to ensure their children receive a good education.
The Ministry of Education recently announced in their budget vote that the N$500 subsidy for secondary schools will be reduced to N$250 per learner in the 2017/18 financial year.
The Education Ministry further indicated that at primary school level, where the ministry previously allocated N$350 per learner, only N$250 will be spent per learner through the new budget.
“These cuts will inevitably be passed on to parents, who will have to increase this specific budgetary item in their household budget,” said Riaan van Rooyen, Head of Corporate Communications, Strategy and Sustainability at Bank Windhoek.
“Parents will have to look at cutting expenses at home as well as in their daily lives to accommodate the subsidy cuts. To identify these cuts, it is important to focus on necessities. Think about that lunch and coffee you buy at work. Could you not perhaps save by bringing your coffee and lunch to work? Also preparing lunch or snacks for children going to school instead of giving them money to buy from their tuck-shop.”
“Another solution to save for your child’s future and ensure they get the best education would be to open a savings account especially for that purpose.” Van Rooyen notes that Bank Windhoek offers various savings products especially tailored to create a savings culture.
Van Rooyen said further: “Not sure how much you can afford to save? Start small – maybe just putting your change each week into a jar. If that works, try setting aside a bit more on a regular basis. Be realistic – it’s better to commit to a smaller sum you’re confident you can manage than a bigger amount that you give up on.”
If there is one thing we can expect, it is the unexpected, so better to start saving now, than wait for the unexpected to happen,” Van Rooyen concluded.

Black men were boys during apartheid says Tjiriange

More in Nampa's series in the lead up to Independence, here is journalist Anna Salkeus' article on Ngarikutuke Tjiriange's reflections on pre-Independence life in Namibia:
“Give this boy a rack of lamb, an ounce of meat and a gallon of milk.”
This was the unusual instruction given to a shopkeeper in reference to the carrier of the note, a grown black man. It was regardless of whether the note carrier had a name. They were only known as a boy, because black people were only useful to the extent of giving their labour to whites.
Liberation struggle icon and author of the book ‘To Hell and Back’, Ngarikutuke Tjiriange shared these bitter memories of racial segregation that stung like a wasp with Nampa, ahead of Namibia’s 27th Independence anniversary to be celebrated on 21 March.
Although his recollection is dotted with humour, Tjiriange describes the former South African apartheid regime as one of the most gut-wrenching notorious regimes on the African continent, citing brutal killings of the innocent and terrible treatment of black people.
There were a few shops where black people could enter while white people were inside. These were food markets which had a counter reserved for blacks, selling products that were not popular amongst white people, like brown bread.
The only way to access the luxury foods for whites was with a letter that was written by the white employer. They would say: ‘give this boy this type of meat’.
“We were sold parts of meat that they (white people) did not eat, like bones.” 
But with that letter they would go to the butchery and get the meat for their boss.
Eventually, the oppressed cunningly started copying the letters to access the same foods white people ate, like meat and alcohol, for themselves.
Tjiriange was born in 1943 but grew up in Klein Windhoek, an area which was known as Okongova.
He says areas like these were only reserved for whites. The only way a black person entered such areas was if they were providing cheap labour for the white employers.
By the 21h00 curfew, any person found in a ‘whites only’ area was arrested and imprisoned. Similarly, having to go from one place to another was only possible with passes.
There were various passes that were used, such as the day pass and night pass.
“I personally was arrested three times because I did not leave the white area after 21h00 and was beaten up at the police station.”
Tjiriange also highlighted a spirited impartial and patriotic road in politics, which started at a young age of 19.
The Swanu-Party was the first political party started in Namibia in 1959.
The formation of the Owambo People’s Organisation (OPO) followed later the same year and was renamed the South West Africa People’s Organisation (Swapo) in 1960.
Despite being Otjiherero-speaking, Tjiriange joined Swapo instead of the Swanu-Party which enjoyed more support amongst Ovaherero people.
“Swapo was the tool we used to liberate ourselves. As young people, we thought it was better to die fighting than to die as servants of these people in our country.”
The Swapo Party, he explains, was organised in two structures: The national headquarters and the lower structure which was divided into sections.
Windhoek was one section and other towns like Walvis Bay were sections.
Tjiriange became a section leader for Swapo in 1962, two years after the party’s formation, at the age of 19, preceding the late Joseph Ithana, husband to current Minister Home Affairs and Immigration, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana.
Today, these sections are known as districts.
In 1964, he left for the Bechuanaland Protectorate (Botswana) which at the time was a colony of Great Britain.
He and several others were arrested and detained in Bechuanaland for several weeks. Together they managed to sneak out a letter to Britain informing the British that they had been imprisoned in the Queen’s colony for no reason.
“You must wonder how we got the letter out of prison. People were bringing us food from outside. So, we placed the letter between the plates and sent it off to Britain. A few weeks later, we were released,” he smiled in triumph, like a man who had just been exonerated and released from prison.
Looking back at how Namibia has transformed in the past 27 years, Tjiriange says the country is not yet free as it now has to be liberated from hunger, poverty, desperation and ignorance.
“The struggle for independence was not by the barrel of the mouth, but by the barrel of the gun.”
He adds that a battle of the mind which does not require weapons is now required to fight the scourge of poverty.
He also notes that those in positions of power should remember that they are not bosses, but servants of the people.
“Don’t be intoxicated with your own power. You must serve the people to the best of your ability.
“There is no substitute for respect and commitment to the well-being of the people if you are a leader.”
Tjiriange was the first Minister of Justice in an independent Namibia in March 1990, after having served as Swapo Secretary for legal economic affairs. He also held the portfolio of Swapo Secretary General before he retired in 2006. Tjiriange is the current chairperson of the Swapo disciplinary committee.

Imprisoned for deying apartheid, the story of Rev. Zephania Kameeta

Here is a fascinating article detialing some of the facinating story of current Moinister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Reverend Zephania Kameeta's life written by Nampa journalist Anna Salkeus:
Disagreement with the status quo or mention of Nelson Mandela's name were among the many other dubious reasons to land one not only in jail, but in solitary confinement during the apartheid era.
There were never not enough reasons for imprisonment, said Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Reverend Zephania Kameeta as he recalled the apartheid era and the suffering that many Namibians underwent.
Mandela was the late South African anti-apartheid leader who was a political prisoner for 27 years largely on Robben Island.
Kameeta was imprisoned three times for defying apartheid.
As a student, who did not belong to any political party, he demonstrated quite often against the South African apartheid regime and the injustices committed on farms in Namibia.
This landed a young Kameeta into solitary confinement for six weeks; others sat there for years.
A person in solitary confinement was kept in a dark place without family or any other visitors.
“I stopped counting the days. I did not know which day it was because it was dark,' he told Nampa recently.
“You are in that small room. There is a toilet, food – mostly porridge from maize meal – was brought in and you had to wash the plate in the toilet pot. After eating, you had to give back a clean plate.”
At other times, those in solitary confinement were woken up at 02h00 to be interrogated about what they would be doing on that specific day.
Kameeta said although he was not physically tortured while in solitary confinement, he was spiritually and emotionally tortured.
“Many of my comrades were beaten up and given electric shocks, and many of them died in police cells.”
Churches spoke out on the injustices and most church leaders were imprisoned, Kameeta said.
Telephones were tapped and letters to prisoners were read by the apartheid intelligence government.
Some of his comrades who suffered the same fate included Axel Johannes and Daniel Tjongarero.
Highlighting the much opposed contract labour system which formed a major part of apartheid, Kameeta said it was a slavery system where people, mostly from the northern, north-eastern and north-western areas, were brought to work on farms.
This system was exploitative and oppressive, paying slave wages not close to the amount of work performed.
“They did not really have a choice and there was no negotiation of how much they would get paid. Some of them disappeared on those farms and didn’t go back home. The system was cruel.”
Kameeta added that the system was brutal and some migrant workers were treated as “half humans”.
“It was the task of the church to visit those working on the farms to encourage and assist them but it was not easy.”
He said many pastors and evangelists who were working and serving those farming areas, were forbidden to visit the farms.
An open letter was jointly written in 1971 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (Elcin) and Evangelical Lutheran Ovambo-Kavango Church, declaring their opposition to the continued South African occupation of Namibia.
Both churches supported the recommendation by the International Court of Justice for South Africa to relinquish its mandate on Namibia and allow the country to transition towards independence.
With the issuing of the open letter churches were visible, and as a result, some church leaders were expelled from the country.
Kameeta said before Namibia’s independence in 1990 there were schools for white children and schools for black children, and one could see the difference in the quality of these schools just by looking at the buildings.
Today, however, schools are not based on colour or race, which is a great satisfaction for him.
“We did not only fight for land, but for Namibia as a whole. Today, I regard Namibia as my ancestral land and when we are placing and settling people, we should think of those who were living at that particular spot so that we do not ignore them but take care of them too,” he said.
Kameeta, a champion of the Basic Income Grant was the first deputy Speaker of the National Assembly at Independence and later served as Elcin Bishop before he retired and was appointed in his current role.
Born on 07 August 1945 in Otjimbingwe, Erongo Region, Kameeta founded the Namibia National Convention in 1975, a group established to promote black consciousness.
He was arrested by the South African regime authorities for protesting against the Turnhalle Constitutional conference.
Kameeta studied at the Paulinum Seminary at Otjimbingwe from 1968 to 1971.
He was ordained as a minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1972, and taught at the Paulinum Seminary from 1973 and served as its principal from 1976 to 1977.
Kameeta then served as parish minister in Lüderitz from 1978 to 1981. He was elected vice-president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1982 and deputy bishop in 1985. Between 2002 and 2013, Kameeta was bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN).
From 2003 to 2010, he served as the Lutheran World Federation's Vice-President for the Africa region.