As a Neuroeconomist, working on our Rapid Industrial Ecosystem, Groot Town Center, in Namibia, I had to and continue to do a complete economic and market analysis and research for the entire Namibian economy, the labor market, operations of most of the companies, etc., in order to better develop our ecosystem. And some of the things I am discovering or finding out are somehow heart-breaking or perhaps disturbing.
Some examples are; some of the companies in Namibia, they recruit workers, and then they employ them for a certain period of time, and once the workers have gained more experience and become skilled in their areas of responsibility, as they start to demand more raises and fringe benefits such as medical insurance, etc., then the companies simply retrench them, they lay them off and then recruit new unskilled workers and pay them the same meager salaries and wages, often times with no benefits. And as they gain more experience and become skilled, when they demand salary increase and benefits, then they too get retrenched.
The process goes on like that for years. However, Namibia is one of the most pro-workers union in the world, but I fail to understand how some of the workers are left out to dry.
Some scary things I discovered through my research is that, and this could be rumor, that; some farmers in Namibia, they employ certain farm workers and some of them literary keep them for life, more like slaves, while paying them little or nothing at all. These are mostly the Damara/Nama farm workers, who mostly have no where else to go in terms of their own personal housing outside their working environments.
In some occasions, if the farm owner gets tired of them or for whatever reason, they may ask the farm worker to dig a hole and then when the hole is deeper, the farm owner may simply sneak behind the worker while busy digging and point-blank shoot him in the head, killing him and then fill up the hole with the sand. I am told that there have been human bones that were discovered at some farms, and they continue to discover more human skeletons buried at some farms.
I am not sure what happens to those farm owners or former farm owners where some of those bones were found. Rumor has it that most farms previously owned by the apartheid sympathizers may have human bones buried within their compounds, which may belong to farm workers. Yes, this is really sad and very disturbing.
Some things are just too scary; sometimes I just wish I didn’t hear these stories. If you really want to know what’s going on in the lives of most people in Namibia, especially those who live in common areas; rural areas or informal settlements, simply take off your tie and suit, dress normal like the people you want to talk to and go to them, talk to them, hear their heartbreaking stories.
My last weekend trip to the North was another eye opener of what’s really happening around our country. But if you are just sitting in your comfort, air-conditioned office and say you are working for the people, representing the people, and you are not going out there and talk to them, hear their stories, then you cannot really do something to help them.
A big problem such as the high rate of unemployment in Namibia needs a bigger solution, such as our Rapid Industrial Ecosystem Development, Groot Town Center. Even sometimes some may refer to it as “too ambitious, too big, too unrealistic”, or it’s just a dream”. Well, the current high rate of unemployment in Namibia is not a dream, it’s real, and it’s affecting thousands of Namibians around the country.
A bigger problem needs a bigger solution; thinking outside the box is the only solution.