Friday, 29 January 2010

"Happiness" by Max Erdmann

To be without desire is to be content. But contentment is not happiness. And in contentment there is no progress. Happiness is to desire something, to work for it, and to obtain at least a part of it. In the pursuit of beloved labor the busy days pass cheerfully employed, and the still nights in peaceful sleep.

For labor born of desire is not drudgerey, but manly play. Success brings hope, hope inspires fresh desire, and desire gives zest to life and joy to labor. This is true whether your days be spent in the palaces of the powerful or in some little green byway of the world.

Therefore, while yet you have the strength, cherish a desire to do some useful work in your little corner of the world, and have the steadfastness to labor. For this is the way to the happy life; with health and endearing ties, it is the way to the glorious life.

"I go my way" by Max Ehrmann

All round is haste, confusion, noise.
For power and wealth men stretch the day
From dawn till dusk.
But quietly I go my way.
For glitter, show, to taunt the crowd,
Desire-tossed in wild dismay,
Men sell their souls.
But quietly I go my way.
The green of all the fields is mine;
The stars, the night, the wind at play,
A peaceful heart, while quietly
I go my way.

Cinderella - Roald Dahl

I guess you think you know this story.
You don't. The real one's much more gory.
The phoney one, the one you know,
Was cooked up years and years ago,
And made to sound all soft and sappy
just to keep the children happy.
Mind you, they got the first bit right,
The bit where, in the dead of night,
The Ugly Sisters, jewels and all,
Departed for the Palace Ball,
While darling little Cinderella
Was locked up in a slimy cellar,
Where rats who wanted things to eat,
Began to nibble at her feet.

She bellowed 'Help!' and 'Let me out!
The Magic Fairy heard her shout.
Appearing in a blaze of light,
She said: 'My dear, are you all right?'
'All right?' cried Cindy .'Can't you see
'I feel as rotten as can be!'
She beat her fist against the wall,
And shouted, 'Get me to the Ball!
'There is a Disco at the Palace!
'The rest have gone and I am jealous!
'I want a dress! I want a coach!
'And earrings and a diamond brooch!
'And silver slippers, two of those!
'And lovely nylon panty hose!
'Done up like that I'll guarantee
'The handsome Prince will fall for me!'
The Fairy said, 'Hang on a tick.'
She gave her wand a mighty flick
And quickly, in no time at all,
Cindy was at the Palace Ball!

It made the Ugly Sisters wince
To see her dancing with the Prince.
She held him very tight and pressed
herself against his manly chest.
The Prince himself was turned to pulp,
All he could do was gasp and gulp.
Then midnight struck. She shouted,'Heck!
I've got to run to save my neck!'
The Prince cried, 'No! Alas! Alack!'
He grabbed her dress to hold her back.
As Cindy shouted, 'Let me go!'
The dress was ripped from head to toe.

She ran out in her underwear,
And lost one slipper on the stair.
The Prince was on it like a dart,
He pressed it to his pounding heart,
'The girl this slipper fits,' he cried,
'Tomorrow morn shall be my bride!
I'll visit every house in town
'Until I've tracked the maiden down!'
Then rather carelessly, I fear,
He placed it on a crate of beer.

At once, one of the Ugly Sisters,
(The one whose face was blotched with blisters)
Sneaked up and grabbed the dainty shoe,
And quickly flushed it down the loo.
Then in its place she calmly put
The slipper from her own left foot.
Ah ha, you see, the plot grows thicker,
And Cindy's luck starts looking sicker.

Next day, the Prince went charging down
To knock on all the doors in town.
In every house, the tension grew.
Who was the owner of the shoe?
The shoe was long and very wide.
(A normal foot got lost inside.)
Also it smelled a wee bit icky.
(The owner's feet were hot and sticky.)
Thousands of eager people came
To try it on, but all in vain.
Now came the Ugly Sisters' go.
One tried it on. The Prince screamed, 'No!'
But she screamed, 'Yes! It fits! Whoopee!
'So now you've got to marry me!'
The Prince went white from ear to ear.
He muttered, 'Let me out of here.'
'Oh no you don't! You made a vow!
'There's no way you can back out now!'
'Off with her head!'The Prince roared back.
They chopped it off with one big whack.
This pleased the Prince. He smiled and said,
'She's prettier without her head.'
Then up came Sister Number Two,
Who yelled, 'Now I will try the shoe!'
'Try this instead!' the Prince yelled back.
He swung his trusty sword and smack
Her head went crashing to the ground.
It bounced a bit and rolled around.
In the kitchen, peeling spuds,
Cinderella heard the thuds
Of bouncing heads upon the floor,
And poked her own head round the door.
'What's all the racket? 'Cindy cried.
'Mind your own bizz,' the Prince replied.
Poor Cindy's heart was torn to shreds.
My Prince! she thought. He chops off heads!
How could I marry anyone
Who does that sort of thing for fun?

The Prince cried, 'Who's this dirty slut?
'Off with her nut! Off with her nut!'
Just then, all in a blaze of light,
The Magic Fairy hove in sight,
Her Magic Wand went swoosh and swish!
'Cindy! 'she cried, 'come make a wish!
'Wish anything and have no doubt
'That I will make it come about!'
Cindy answered, 'Oh kind Fairy,
'This time I shall be more wary.
'No more Princes, no more money.
'I have had my taste of honey.
I'm wishing for a decent man.
'They're hard to find. D'you think you can?'
Within a minute, Cinderella
Was married to a lovely feller,
A simple jam maker by trade,
Who sold good home-made marmalade.
Their house was filled with smiles and laughter
And they were happy ever after.

"Wanderers" by Max Ehrmann

A clear, cool night. I have been reading, but the thoughts of man do not solace me.
I raised the curtain and looked at the moon, clear and silvery; and I brushed some of the unrest out of my mind.
I know all the theories of the moon.
There have been times when the symbols of science have robbed me of some of its mystery and charm.
But no one can explain the moon any more than a grasshopper can explain me.
In youth, the moon promised too much.
But now I understand better; that was not the moon's fault.
Also the moon and I have this in common:
We both are wanderers across the night.

" Dark Days" by Max Ehrmann

What fool shall say, "My days are fair,
God's in his world and all is well,"
When half mankind shrieks in despair
Worse than in Dante's flaming hell!

I cannot sing in happy mood
While hostile armies take their toll.
On these dark days I toil and brood
With starless midnight in my soul.

And yet, O World, O Life, O God!
I find myself, jest as the fool,
Believing in thy chastening rod,
Believing still that love must rule.

"Reforming Oneself" by Max Ehrmann

It has been raining again. I have been indoors, meditating on the shortcomings of life.
I wish there were more kindly persons in the world. Our competitive life develops selfishness and unkindness.
I am determined to do something about it. I cannot hope to convert many persons. To convert one person, I shall do well.
I will begin with the person I know best - myself.
When it rains and one is much indoors one is likely to meditate on the shortcomings of life.
Let me think - how shall I make myself kind, gentle considerate?
I do believe it has stopped raining.
I can go out now. I'll go and shoot on the archery range.
I'll not bother to reform myself today. Perhaps tomorrow - if it is raining, and I must stay indoors, and meditate on the shortcomings of life.

"Whatever else you do" by Max Ehrmann

Whatever else you do or forbear,
impose upon yourself the task of happiness;
and now and then abandon yourself
to the joy of laughter.

And however much you condemn
the evil in the world, remember that the
world is not all evil; that somewhere
children are at play, as you yourself in the
old days; that women still find joy
in the stalwart hearts of men;

And that men, treading with restless feet
their many paths, may yet find refuge
from the storms of the world in the cheerful
house of love.

"A Prayer" by Max Ehrmann

Let me do my work each day; and if the darkened hours of despair overcome me, may I not forget the strength that comforted me in the desolation of other times.

May I still remember the bright hours that found me walking over the silent hills of my childhood, or dreaming on the margin of a quiet river, when a light glowed within me, and I promised my early God to have courage amid the tempests of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness and from the sharp passions of unguarded moments. May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit.

Though the world knows me not, may my thoughts and actions be such as shall keep me friendly with myself.

Lift up my eyes from the earth, and let me not forget the uses of the stars.  Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself.

Let me not follow the clamor of the world, but walk calmly in my path.

Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am; and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps the  kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity overtake me, and I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me still to be thankful for life, and for time's olden memories that are good and sweet; and may the evening's twilight find me gentle still.

Desiderata - Be a person becoming by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Namibia Consumer Hotline

Great News!

We have completed the agreement with telecom for our Consumer Hotline. The number is 0886 90909.

We will kick this off early next week for testing and have it fully operation by 1 February 2010.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

I know, I know Not

There are four kinds of knowing.
•       Knowing you know,
•       knowing you know not,
•       not knowing you know and
•       not knowing you know not

Let's look at each one and what it means:
Knowing you know - this is what we consider our education and training

Knowing you know not - this is what we want to learn

Not knowing you know - this refers to information you have gained, but are not aware of using in your life - often recognised as trivia

Not knowing you know not - this is the area you need to find out more about!

Around twenty years ago, I realised that due to the place and time I grew up in, I had been kept in the dark about many things (censorship). This was especaily clear when it came to religion or as it is also known, metphysics.
Below a list of things I did not know I did not know when I was twenty. Maybe you might find it useful?
•       Ramtha
•       Reiki
•       Dianetics – Scientology
•       Aristotle
•       7 habits of successful people
•       The art of loving a woman
•       The art of keeping a good woman

Perhaps, you know something I don't know I don't know?

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

This Colour Thing in Namibia

Many years ago I was asked, “Who are you?” This was before Independence and I understood my credentials were being questioned. My reply was, “First, I am a human being, and secondly I am a Namibian. Last, and least important, I am coloured”.

Now I am 40 and take the time to sit back and look back at the mileposts during my life. It is also the time to look forward to the end of my days, and consider where I have gone wrong, and perhaps where I have made a meaningful difference. It is most definitely like sitting in an armchair and contemplating “in order to understand itself and mentally grasp its own activity, that of the mind.” After all, “to be able to look back upon ones life in satisfaction is to live twice.”

So in this last chapter I must also address mistakes that I have made in my feeble attempts at contributing to the nationhood of our beloved land. I have thought it unimportant where my family comes from, what their cultures and beliefs were, and often thought these were to be considered and ultimately rejected as part of their living in a past dominated by the racial classification given by the system of Apartheid.

Who I am is not dictated by our external environment, but rather by the internal. As humans we tend to blame our culture, society, government, employers and even our own families for things that goes wrong, but rarely give them credit for “our” achievements.

As time has passed I have gone from reading science fiction to more biographies on the historical figures in our history. (Imagine my surprise when I found out that Benjamin Franklin had already added a thought for the month in his “Poor Richard’s Almanac, and written advice to a newly establishing tradesman.☺)

Reading through these biographies, and accessing their quotes has made a dramatic impact on my life. Throughout my book, Smile My beloved Land, I have often put forward an argument to find that a similar proposal has been done by great men before me. I was not the first, and hopefully not the last, to have these great expectations form the human race.

Lastly, I address myself to the words of Albert Einstein, “He who cherishes the values of culture cannot fail to be a pacifist.”

What is success?

I am successful! By definition, success is about attaining an objective. Thus to be successful means you meet your objectives.

The catch is what are your objectives? How do you go about setting these aims? Is it a haphazard guess - oooh I want to be rich? Or do you seriously sit down and take time to plan and concretise your objectives?

I was fortunate to have many wonderful teachers and mentors who, from an early age, encouraged me to achieve my objectives because they believed in me. One of the most important lessons I learnt was how to set an objective.

In school we are taught an objective should be SMART - that is:
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Achievable
R - Realistic
T- Time-bound

This is easier said than done!!!!!! Nevertheless, once an objective is SMART, success is bound to happen.

One thing that has helped me over the years is the visualisation of my success. I spend time daydreaming about what it would be like to have achieved the success already. I even make a shopping list of the things I will buy with the money I plan on earning.

Another important part of achieving success is making sure I do not use the measuring stick of others. If you find money important, then use it as YOUR measure. BUT, for me acquiring knowledge and helping others is my measure.

In 1999, I was challenged to create a business plan for my business life. It took almost three years, but I completed a comprehensive plan in 2003. Of course, when I did the financials, I realised that at least N$ 10 million would be needed. Now, where was I going to get that kind of money?

Then a funny thing started happening. As the years have gone on, I evaluate the objectives set in the plan and guess what? I always meet, if not surpass, all the objectives set out in my plan. WITHOUT THE MONEY?

How do I do it you ask? The setting up of these objectives were SMART. The need for certain actions were written up. All I have to do is alighn myslef with what the universe has seen to be the end result. I got no other answer than that.

So I end this with a suggestion to you. Prepare a Business Plan for your Life!

Coloured issue can’t be ignored


Marson Sharpley writes:

As a man of God I realize that I cannot afford the luxury of being so heavenly minded that I become earthly useless. There are three distinct types within the Colored community that I have come to be aware of, i.e. those who consider themselves to be more Black than White, those who consider themselves more White than Black and those who are simply Colored and that’s it!

In fact it has very little to do with skin pigmentation as much as it has to do with upbringing. Nevertheless, no matter what side of the racial divide they lean towards, Coloreds born in Africa are Africans who have the full right to be part of the action and have a piece of the cake. My previous article on this subject must not be viewed as an emotional tirade by what one newspaper termed “proud to be colored”.

No, this matter I intend rationally and pragmatically addressing through systematically forming a delegation of eminent Colored leaders to go and seek an audience with His Excellency the President of the Republic of Namibia. The intention here is not to be subversive, undermining or destabilizing.

The idea is to ensure that the status quo, which seems to be that Coloreds have to have leaders imposed on them because they do not have the ability and capacity to present their leaders, has to be stopped. The sense that the existence of Coloreds is ignored now has to come to an end because we are here and we are real.

We are members of both the ruling party SWAPO and some among us are members of the opposition parties. However, the argument I am pursuing and putting on the table goes beyond party political matters and directly to the very existence and representation of a specific minority group of people who also need to have leaders that they can culturally identify with who will be able to address their specific concerns as a distinct ethnic and cultural group.

The Colored community is made up of some of the best artisans and administrators in the country. Whilst the generalization of the love of strong liquor has established itself in the description of Coloreds, we are also intellectuals, revolutionaries, community activists, students, entrepreneurs, politicians, soldiers, civilian intelligence scientists, journalists, lawyers and doctors.

With this capability I together with otherlike- minded members of the Colored community realize that if we do not have national, political leadership in the RulingParty from our community, the exploitation of Coloreds will be automated. National political leadership status allows the individual(s) to have authority in the society and their community so as to be able to guide, organize and counsel the community or in this case the ethnic group.

This will help to see Colored youth as part of the security apparatus, the diplomatic corps and other strategic areasof governance such as security detail for even the Head of State, and even as drivers for Government VIPs. We want to see our unemployed matriculants in the army, the police force and other sectors where they can be trained so that they become contributors instead of merely maintaining an existence of being parasitic consumers.

We also need to see young people from the Colored community receiving bursaries to Cuba, Russia, USA, Europe and China. I would like to see Colored people also heading State Owned Enterprises and Parastatals. I am making this call in a bid to draw attention to the plight of an entire community that, if it does not have political representation to enhance and instill discipline, will in future breed a level of gangsterism through organized crime like Namibia has never imagined could exist within its borders.

A good example of this is what happened on the Cape Flats in South Africa as recently as 2004. The tendency has been to confine us to tenders and church activity in the hope that that will satisfy us and make us ignore the fact that we have been politically hijacked and systematically marginalized.

One of us is an Under Secretary in Cabinet or something like that, one of us is the Ombudsman, some of us are High Court judges, but who of us are going to be a Deputy Minister, a Minister, a Permanent Secretary, a Governor, a General in the army or a Commodore in the Navy?

Who of us as Coloreds is trusted enough to even be the DG of the civilian intelligence apparatus? If the requirement here is the ability to speak, read and write an indigenous language(s), then let us know so that we can study the language by living in the target language community. Should the main requirement be loyalty, patriotism, commitment and determination to see Vision 2030 realized, then vet us, do background checks, do IQ checks, but for heaven’s sake, stop marginalizing us as Colored people.

Please also understand that as a man of God and as a pastor, I am all things to all men just as the Bible requires, but my background will inform you that I did not just drop out of the sky as a pastor. Everyone in the ministry I lead with my spouse and many other pastors knows that I am raceless and do not tolerate any form of racism, tribalism or ethnic divisionist agendas.

In my interaction with many of you as my political leaders, I realized that many of you have no clue of some of us and where we come from and what our capabilities and experience is. Some of you have been blinded by your own prejudice and tribal arrogance to the point where you have forgotten that we all have minds to think and that we have all been on life’s journey and seen and heard enough to inform us as to what our status is.

Jesus Christ meets a woman at a well and he asks her for water, referring to his tiredness because of the long journey he has made. Metaphorically in the physical, but real in the spirit, the journey He refers to took him 4000 years to the point where He speaks to the woman at the well. Now that is the same with all of us as grown ups.

We have journeyed, politically, academically, spiritually and been around many places and many people. We are NOT VILLAGE FOOLS AND IMBECILES, we are NOT! I believe that there is a need for a Coloured People’s Convention (CPC) within the next three months before posts and positions are allocated. The aim of such a convention will not be to lament how we are being unjustly treated, but rather to identify and elect legitimate and acceptable Colored leaders who have the capacity to fully work for Namibia as a country and for the Coloured people.

Please note that any national leader, especially in the ruling party must be loyal to the party first and then serve the interests of the nation at large and then make sure that they represent their constituency, which is usually tribally and/or ethnically demarcated! That is a given!

However, my concern here is the lack of Colored representation in Government on a more political, national level. Let’s talk, let’s deliberate, let’s discuss, let’s debate and let us reach an amicable win-win situation where I like any other parent can be at ease in this beautiful, peaceful country knowing that my children’s future, like any other child is secure and not undermined just because of being Colored!

Marginalization of Coloureds must end


Marson Sharpley writes:

WELL done people of Namibia, my fellow countrymen and women! We have to be proud of the manner in which we voted and behaved during the voting period. It is this that makes one proud to be Namibian!

Having said that, I want to advance an argument that I hope will become part of the future debates of our population as we strive to find the best-suited leadership in the political, economic and social sectors of our society. I believe that we need to examine and interrogate the demarcations we have accepted in terms of the roles that people are supposed to be filling in our society.

The Oxford dictionary describes or at least defines politics as the art and science of government or activities concerned with the acquisition or exercise of authority or government. The first point I would like to make and attempt to clarify is the fact that when we speak about “church”, “politics” and/or “society”, we tend to refer to these entities in the third person as though we who are referring to them are not part of them.

Church is the people, politics is the people and society is the people! The idea of addressing these entities as some nebulous concept detached from us is, in my opinion erroneous! I am a human being, a son to my biological parents, a brother to my siblings, a husband to my wife and a father to my children and then I am a Pastor of my ministry as ordained by God.

As a human being who ascribes Christianity as the foundational basis of my world view and philosophy of life, I am ordained to be a leader by God who instructs man to “take dominion” over creation. Making us all leaders in one-way or another. I must be frank at this point and make reference to my mixed raceness, my colouredness in our context. With all that I went through during apartheid in both South Africa and Namibia and after my direct confrontation of racism, I have come to the conclusion that prejudice, tribalism and even racism continue to batter my life like the angry unabated waves of the ocean against the rocks. It is this sense of marginalization that forces me to trace my existence and roots way beyond the physical anthropological stigmatization to the spiritual genesis of who I am.

Both science and the Bible inform me that as molecular and physically visible as I am, I was sound before that, and I was light before being sound and I was thought before being light and before thought you and I and everything were spirit. This then brings me to the realization and conclusion that I owe my existence to none other than God who created me.

The sense of socio-political marginalization and the existence of an invisible ceiling because of being “Coloured” or “mixed race” in Namibia in this day and age makes me, together with other like-minded intellectuals who ascribe to the Bible, come to the conclusion that there is no other recourse but to organize all “Coloured” or “mixed race” people in this country into an entity that cannot and will not be ignored just as the Hereros, Namas, Owambos, Afrikaners, Chinese and Damaras etc are doing right before our very eyes.

This is one of a myriad of reasons why I intend to vigorously campaign for the formation of a Coalition of Political Church Leaders. Oh yes, I voted as a resident of Windhoek rural and my vote remains influenced and informed by my revolutionary mileage and credentials.

However, I realize that my kind both racially and religiously are marginalized because of belly politics. Any church leader who does not have a political impact will have missed the plot because Christianity is about the establishment of the Kingdom of God that is in itself a political exercise. What is happening in our country for “Coloureds” is that we are being informed without it being said that we are so useless that we are unable to be a Governor, a Permanent Secretary, an Ambassador, a Deputy Minister, a Minister etc. I do not see the need to grovel and beg to be given a position in Government just because I am “Coloured”.

Oh yes, you must believe me when I say that I have a patriotism to Namibia that is well known and respected in both political and church circles. Why, I even encourage my pastors and congregations to sing the national anthem at the end of a church service. However, when I meditate and look and examine the modus operandi of the political sphere of Namibia, I realize that with all my eccentric patriotism, I belong to a group of people who are socially, politically and economically marginalized.

Forming a Coalition of Political Church Leaders is going to work at developing a socio-political culture that will truly celebrate and utilize the tribal and ethnic diversity of all participants and transcend all prejudices. As a Pan-Africanist I am clear of my political homes in every African nation I come to, but that does not make me blind and stupid not to see that as a “Coloured” in my home country, I am not taken seriously.

Besides being unfair, unrighteous and wicked, it is a devilish state of affairs that is no longer acceptable and calls for a serious response from my people, the “Coloureds”! Someone had the audacity and temerity to inform me the other day that “Coloureds” were not meant to be. As if they are a mistake.

Now if that is the thinking in certain circles, then I believe the time has come to address such rubbish and begin to make it clear to all and sundry that actually we are not a walkover of drunks, hooligans and whores! I am actually wondering why the Colored community is not realizing and responding to the injustice that is being perpetrated against us. I really and truly never ever thought that I would find myself having to speak up as a “Coloured”.

Having to write like this is to me an indictment against our democracy and what the constitution of the Republic of Namibia stands for! My only recourse as a political church leader is to stand on the Word of God, the Bible and to demand equality and full representation for Coloured people in Government.

Coloured people on the other hand have to realize that as a community, leaders need to be identified and they must take responsibility to organize the “Coloured” community so that we are not taken for granted as is currently the case.

The fact of the matter is that all the other races and ethnic groups in this country have clear leaders on both the political and traditional fronts of our society. Being Coloured is not being a sub-culture that is less African than any other African-born group of people, being Coloured is not a disgrace or a mistake, being Coloured does not mean being viewed as stupid and not caring!

Being Coloured is being a human being created in the image of God with aspirations, dreams and ambitions like all other African tribes, races and ethnic groups in Namibia and the African continent at large. It is this state of affairs that now warrants that I as a Coloured church leader should begin to address this matter as Esther in the Bible had to do for her people the Jews.

I am a loyal member of this society and of my political party! I together with many other worthy Coloured leaders need to be respected and recognized nationally in our nation instead of being made to feel like second-class citizens. I also realize that this stance I am taking will not please many people, but honestly, I am quite tired of pleasing people who are happy with me as long as I remain a good “house nigger”! Rubbish!

This is one debate I am prepared to die for so that my children do not despise who they are to the point of urinating on my grave one day because I did nothing when I should have. Yes, to you who have married or have offspring across ethnic and colour lines, your children will one day find themselves at a place they did not expect because they will be viewed as “coloured” and thus be treated as second class. Looking at the political party lists really was depressing because Coloureds have been clearly lost in the maze of it all!

However I must also add that many Coloured people’s world view has been tarnished and contaminated by the racism of apartheid. This is something that the Coloured community cannot deny as it needs to be addressed! It comes from the fact that the custodians of apartheid indoctrinated the mixed race people that they were superior to the Black people, but lower than the White.

Who am I? Am I a drawer of water and a hewer of wood? Am I just the filling in a sandwich? Am I a pen pusher who’s task it is to advance the comforts of the petty bourgeoisie? Who am I? Who are we?

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Sssshhhh.... I know your home address

So now I have a database of over 750,000 Namibians with their full names, date of birth and physical addresses. (and you can too).

“A writer writes not because he is educated but because he is driven by the need to communicate. Behind the need to communicate is the need to share. Behind the need to share is the need to be understood.” - Leo Rosten

Reality Bites. No two ways about it. Started this new year with such good intentions and then someone, somewhere does it again.

Must I keep quiet about this (mis)managment of data in our country. You decide...

For the past twenty years, I have made it a hobby to collect databases of every kind on namibia. It started with busienss directories, trade information, consumer records, etc. This has become a substantial dbase with over 11,00 companies and 250,000 consumers. Much to my surprise, I discovered a rather easy way to get access to another 500,000 consumer records that inlcudes their home addresses and dates of birth.

Come on, now is the time to put in place a privacy and data protection laws!

Namibia needs a national register

Throughout the world there is a huge amount of resources being spent on research and development which in turn generates vast amounts of information that needs to be managed effectively, and efficiently. The pace of new technologies such as computers, their storage capabilities, and the ability to communicate with one another allows for ever larger quantities of information to be stored and analysed. A national electronic database will allow Namibia to move from a rural based economy to a knowledge based economy and meet its development goals.

Namibia has the aim of creating a successful social market economy. When we look at the recent history after the Second World War, we see the rebuilding of the German economy as one of the economic success stories of the last century. Upon closer examination, the building blocks of the state have included the ability to know the movement of all its residents. For example, when a person moves from one city to another, they have to register themselves at the local “Rathaus” or municipality. When we investigate the ability of the German business to trade with another, and more importantly to provide suppliers credit, we notice the importance of trade registers, both government and privately created.

The creation of a central public register in Namibia would have many benefits for the country. The most important would be the updating of information needed for planning purposes, without having to wait for the ten yearly censuses.

Overview of databases
A database is a collection of data, organised in a computer that allows rapid filtering and sorting of this information. A database is thus an electronic filing system. A Namibian national database will include a collection of varied information about our citizens and businesses. This will allow for a one-stop information base or storage facility for government ministries, State-owned Enterprises, municipalities and local districts. It will also allow access to the business community, both local and internationally, who require any information on Namibia.

A closer look at how information is organised, stored, retrieved and managed in Namibia shows that Namibia as a nation has not strategically made any effort to have a central database system which will function by gathering data from all sectors of the economy and managing the data in such a way that it becomes accessible to all for the purpose of delivering an efficient government and business function.

Benefits of database
The overwhelming benefit is that it will instantly be clear which sector is non-performing, and allow corrective measure to be taken to achieve Vision 2030.

Another benefit is that it can also reduce corruption; ensure greater transparency and good governance. As we begin to benchmark the advanced countries in their development efforts, one thing that has helped their economies is a national database and the lower levels of corruption can be attributed to the institution of a database that is accessible everywhere in their countries. As a result the performance of one's activity becomes a check on one another and there is no doubt that this makes people less corrupt and become more transparent.

In addition, the creation of a national register will mean that the registration of voters will be a continuous process as part of the management of services to our citizens. Thus we will save large amounts of money presently being spent on voters’ registration, as well costly exercises in verification.