Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Let's put Namibia on the forefront of technology

I am a social entrepreneur that has been developing a central register of data for Namibia since 1993. As a student of computer science and statistics I was interested in developing an economic modelling system to assist my country through the first years after Independence in 1990. At present, this personal data register includes over 1 million records, or over half the population. This comes from public information such as electoral rolls, land registers, etc.

In 1999, I started a partnership with Creditreform Düsseldorf Frormann KG to develop a proposal for an integrated central register of personal and business data that would assist Government and the financial services industry provide better services to the people and businesses. The collection of data has continued over the 12 year period and we have met with various government officials to explain the benefits. However, the understanding of how to implement the technology has been lacking.

The World Economic Forum (WEF), has started discussing personal data as a new asset class and in its most recent report: "Rethinking Personal Data: Strengthening Trust" they suggest four main steps to be taken, namely:
  1. Engage in a structured, robust dialogue to restore trust in the personal data ecosystem. The debate needs to focus on achieving consensus on some of the key tensions, including securing and protecting data, developing accountability systems, and agreeing on rules for the trusted and permissioned flow of data for different contexts. Central to this dialogue is the inclusion of individuals, who play an increasingly important role as both data subjects and as data creators.
  2. Develop and agree on principles to encourage the trusted flow of personal data. The simple slogan of “think globally, act locally” can help frame these principles (i.e. shared principles can help all the actors aim towards the same outcomes, even if their approaches for how to get there differ).
  3. Develop new models of governance for collective action. Regulators, organizations and individuals can play complementary roles in establishing accountability systems, enforcement mechanisms, rights and permissions.
  4. Establish “living labs”. Given the complex social, commercial, technical and regulatory uncertainties and interdependencies, an environment which can provide stakeholders with the ability to test and learn in real time (and at scale) needs to be established. These labs can provide a safe context for more fully understanding the system dynamics and collectively identifying shared opportunities, risks and the means for effective collaboration.
I would like to offer my databases and experiences in Namibia to a research organisation or team, to use in establishing a "living lab" on a country-wide scale.

Please fell free to contact me on any of the communication methods listed below.

Mobile: +264 81 688 1368

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Am I Afropolitan? - "a rose by any other name"

I define myself as being the person I see in the mirror. My friends define me as what they see now, my community define me as what I have achieved. However, how does the world, who does not know me, define me?

If they cannot define me, they find it difficult to interact with an unknown. We might hide behind the pretense of not seeing differences, but that would be lying to ourselves.

So, rather than disagree with you on what you call me, I embrace all those labels!

For each label, I am able to attach myself to another group to find similarities rather than differences.

Recently I came across an article about being Afropolitan. This word means:

  • An African from the continent of dual nationality 
  • An African born in the Diaspora 
  • An African who identifies with their African and European heritage and mixed culture.
  • An African free from local, provincial, or national ideas, prejudices, or attachments; at home all over the world.

Let's examine if I fit into these meanings, and who of you are also in that box?

Africans with dual nationality

I was born in South West Africa. At Independence, I received Namibian nationality. That is the passport I carry and I am proud to be a Brave Warrior. Nonetheless, South Africa recognises me as having a right to citizenship, even though I have not exercised that right. So, I have dual nationality.

Who else in Namibia has dual nationality?

my Namibian born friends who also have German or British passports, you too are Afropolitan.
any other Namibians with dual nationality - including everyone born before Independence - and living in a cosmopolitan area

Born in the Diaspora

Not me. But all my exile friends born in the rest of the world - "Welcome, Karibu, Onde Kutambulako!"

Identifies with the Mixed Culture

I call myself a "Cool Coloured Chap" - you may too. I recognise, and appreciate both my African and European cultures. I can enjoy the music of the penny-whistle (african) and electric guitars (european) .

In addition, I have made the effort to understand the history of the other cultures in my country. This is important. An AFROPOLITAN must make an effort to understand Africa, its similarities and its differences. Our strength in calling ourselves "from Africa", is our diversity.

Without Prejudices

OOPS. Will have to work on my -isms. I consider capitalism to be a system that does not work for the majority of its people.

Jokes aside, I am comfortable in a church, temple, synagogue, ashram or any other place of worship. This is a start.


We are more the same than what we recognise.  Now I have one more name that can help me see people who are just like me.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Consumer Protection Group advocates for laws to protect buyers

Original Story in the Namibian Newspaper
By: ROB PARKER - Namibian Newspaper

This week The Namibian Consumer spoke to Milton Louw, founder of the Namibia Consumer Protection Group (NCPG) about the activities of his organisation and the biggest issues affecting Namibian consumers today.

You are the founding member of the Namibia Consumer Protection Group? what does this group do? What are your powers? 
The NCPG is a lobby group started in 2009 to provide an information channel to consumer about their rights in Namibia. It focuses on illegal and unethical behaviour by Namibian companies.
The Consumer Charter we promote states all consumers have:
*   The right to basic goods and services which guarantee survival.
*    The right to be protected against the marketing of goods or the provision of services that are hazardous to health and life.
*   The right to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising or labelling.
*   The right to choose products and services at competitive prices with an assurance of satisfactory quality.
*    The right to express consumer interests in the making and execution of government policy.
*   The right to be compensated for misrepresentation, shoddy goods or unsatisfactory services.
*   The right to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be an informed consumer.
*   The right to live and work in an environment which is neither threatening nor dangerous and which permits a life of dignity and well-being.
It is a volunteer organisation and uses our facebook group to encourage membership. We currently have around 380 members who actively participate. In one of our most successful campaigns regarding the proposed electricity rate increase in 2010, we had over 5 000 electronic signatures to our petition – this can be seen as the non-participating membership. Our database includes information on both groups and allows us to send communications to the complete group of over 5 000.
This Facebook page is also our primary method of information dissemination. In addition, we post articles on our personal blogs as well as regular media updates on issues we believe consumers should know. I am a volunteer also, and act as the executive director. We have no acknowledged legal status in the terms of the law.

South Africa, last year, introduced a comprehensive Consumer Protection Act (CPA), Why do we not have a similar Act in Namibia?
This has been proposed in Namibia and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) is the line Ministry. For the past four or five years the various ministries including Justice, have been working at putting a law in place.

What stage is the Namibian consumer protection Act at? Is it stalled at this stage? What will get it back on track?
Last year they called for tenders to provide the ministry with help in drafting the law. The last time we inquired from MTI was in March 2012 and we have not received feedback on the present status as yet. The Namibian Competition Commission has also been assisting with research into the issue and we hope to soon have feedback on this issue.

What is the role of the public in advocating for legislation to protect consumers?
At present, the public can only complain or make its voice heard via the media. We have no recourse to the law and hope this will be addressed in legislation. I would hope that more journalists in the print and television media would highlight the needs for legislation through showing areas where such protection is lacking. If this issue is not pushed harder, the business community will not voluntary provide the protection required.

What are some of the areas where a lack of consumer protection affects Namibians the most?
The financial services sector is one of the areas we believe needs to work together with NCPG to ensure consumers are fully aware of the implications of the contracts they sign with these service providers. In addition, the housing market in Namibia needs to be better regulated. The problem is not only with a law that needs to be put in place, but also because the estate agents are paralysing the working of the Estate Agents Board - another of the government regulators under the MTI.

Which laws currently protect Namibians from unscrupulous vendors?
There are certain sectors where laws should protect consumers such as is health, medicines, etc but there is no encompassing legislation that will give consumers protection, but also provide the necessary inspectors for the MTI to carry out their work.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

What happened at Sam Khubis - the day of the covenant of the Rehoboth Baster people of Namibia?

Sam Khubis Commemorated - 8 May 1915

South African (SA) Prime Minister Louis Botha arrives in Swakopmund and takes over command of SA’s 43 000 soldiers (on 11.02.).

The Basters rise against the Germans as a result of a secret meeting between Botha and Baster Captain Cornelius van Wyk on 01.04. The Basters are specifically dissatisfied that the "Baster Corps" is used to guard SA prisoners of war in Otjiwarongo. In Schlip, Pieter Mouton collects all available able-bodied Basters to proceed to Sam-Khubis. On the way they kill inter alia the German policemen Rudolf Rogge and Richard Ewald Ernst Putzier on Büllspoort. The Germans, on their way to Sam-Khubis, attack the Basters at Heuras, Uitdraai and Kabirab. Among the Basters fighting the Germans are Samuel and Johannes Beukes.

The battle of Sam-Khubis is fought between the Germans and Basters. The Baster community still commemorates the battle every year.

The German troops travel by railway to Bergland station (12.05.). On 13.05. they move from Hohewarte to the Waterberg.

Article below taken from  RehobothBasters.Org:

Every year on the 8th of May, the battle of Sam Khubis is remembered. This historical battle took place on 8 May 1915, when the German colonial army attacked the Baster people who had fled to their last stronghold of Sam Khubis. The fear of total annihilation by a better equipped German army created a strong sense of common destiny.

The battle turned into a miraculous survival, which is celebrated every year to remind the Baster people of the threats faced, which can be overcome together.

In 1885, the Kaptein of the Rehoboth Basters signed a Treaty of Protection and Friendship with the German government. This international treaty arranged the rights and duties of the Rehoboth polity vis-à-vis the German colonial power. This treaty continued to be operational until 1914 when World War One changed the political landscape.

The Basters refused to take up arms against South African troops that were threatening to invade German controlled South West Africa. They also refused to guard captured South African soldiers and did not agree to patrol outside the territory of Rehoboth.

The escalation of events started on 13 April 1915 when the German authorities demanded from the Baster Council that the armed Baster troops would go to Otjiwarango to guard Prisoners Of War. If these demands were not to be met, all weapons in possession of the Rehoboth Basters had to be handed in to the German army. The Germans gave the Baster Council a three day deadline.

However, the following day the Germans secretly ‘disarmed’ Baster soldiers in Sandputs. Several of the Baster soldiers tried to escape in which one was killed and another one escaped to tell the Baster Council of the events. In the mean time the Germans were also ‘disarming’ the Basters in Rehoboth. In the following days, several armed skirmishes occurred leaving a number of Baster and German soldiers dead.

These events lead to the cancellation of the 1885 Treaty by the German authorities who declared it null and void as of 22 April 1915. Consequently, the Germans sent many soldiers to Rehoboth, while in the mean time Baster families were fleeing to the Sam Khubis area, which was considered a militarily defendable position.

In the early morning of 8 May 1915, the Germans attacked the Baster stronghold of Sam Khubis, where a large part of the population had found refuge. The fighting lasted until the evening. The Basters feared that the superior weapons of the German army would mean a total defeat and possible annihilation the next day. However, the Germans withdrew from the fight the next day, leaving a relieved and hopeful Baster people behind.

The German withdrawal was caused by the South African army that was on the march and conquered the territory of South West Africa, including Rehoboth, to mark a new chapter in the struggle for self-determination of Rehoboth and the Baster people.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

What is faith to me?

There is more to my happiness and ability to perceive my life in positive terms. It is a mental attitude that I have spent time and energy on achieveing. (Perhaps I should also add money, even though it was not my money.)

Since a very young age I have been prodded and poked to make sure that I was okay. This was especially noticable to me after my mother passed away when I was five years old. I was fortunate that after she had her accident while playing table-tennis, she still had enough time the next day to talk to be in the ambukance before she was moved to a hospital with better facilities. My mother had always taught me that "God's will be done" and that accepting His way would always lead me where I need to be. That day in the ambulance, she once again reminded me to "heed God's will" and "accept what you are given in life".

Jeremiah 29 vs 11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Through the years I faced many trials and tribulations (most of them self-inflicted) but this bible verse stayed with me throughout my life.

That is faith!

This blog was written on  Tuesday, 7 February 2012 at 09:55 - See

Three weeks later, while crossing the road at 13h30 in the afternoon, my knee dislocated and I fell in the road and lost five teeth too. BUT I still have faith - I made new friends in hospital - and had time to spend with family and friends - which I normally do not......

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Namibian Bloggers - May 2012

A list of Namibian bloggers which I hope to expand with your help.

Change your life -
Creating Wealth -
Daves Boring Blog -
Dune Sieben (German) -
End forced Sterilisation -
Frantic Naturalist -
Girl Uncovered -
I present Roxanne -
Lottering News  -
Making a better Namibia -
Namibian DJ|s -
Namibia Facts -
Namibia Welcome -
One Stoned Crow -
The Joys Of My Splintered Life In SMALLTOWN -
Vakwetu Style -
Vieranas Safaris -
the new Der/die/das Namibia/er auf Deutsch -
Sinisterstuf -