Where are the Black-owned Engineering Firms for Industrial Ecosystems Development in Namibia?

We’re just coming from our intense technical planning for both @Groot Steel and @Tses Glass, with our Local Project Management team, and I feel really sad; I’m so sad that, as we put in so many hours developing these projects each day, hoping that in the end, we’re helping to economically empower those who have been left out by the wave of lucrative opportunities in Namibia, it’s very sad that in our technical team of engineers, many local partner companies involved, that there’s no single black-owned or operated firm offering technical expertise for these projects, and only white-owned. And this is so sad. It’s just too sad, that money paying for these technical services is flowing from one already-wealthy hand to more other already wealthy hands.

It’s sad that it seems like more black people in Namibia or rather Africa at large, tend to rather more focus on short term goals instead of investing their time and energy in long term visions, such as; projects like these are all for long terms; ranging from 2 to 5 years of just technical planning prior to getting any capital return from them, but black people don’t seem to be interested in that, they seem to be more interested only in such as shebeen business, where you plan and build it today, and tomorrow you’re getting your small change back.

But if it’s like this, then how can an economy can actually develop and prosper? Setting up and building cuca-shops, kapanas, mini-markets, retail stores, lodges, guesthouses, shebeens, shopping malls, etc are not the way to develop an economy. All of these are services which offer no real value; no value-added, no nothing except that you set them up fast just to close them down even fastest if things don’t go as expected possibly due to the severe competition (crowded market), and that these types of service businesses don’t offer sustainable good paying jobs, to the point that the workers themselves who work in these places can actually afford to buy from these services where they themselves work.

Manufacturing jobs offer the best economic value for the workers to support their families, communities, and the country. Setting up manufacturing factories such as steel mills, glass factories, power plants, and other infrastructure projects generally serve as the backbones of economies in the world, everywhere.

Setting up barbershops and street corner shebeens etc offer nothing, not even in the short term, but add more misery (governments must offer more social welfare programs) and poverty to the economy (poorly paid people don’t pay adequate tax to support offered governments’ social welfare programs).

I feel sad that, in a country like Namibia which is in Africa, that only more white companies are involved in offering technical expertise and planning which involves millions of dollars for their services.

Oh, my people, my Africans, when can we move away from the short-sighted goals and look at the furthest years to come; such as planning for the next 25-50 years from now? How can we really make Africa become economically successful, and make it no more politically focused and oriented? A politically focused and oriented Africa will keep seeing more people living in dire poverty, more families living in misery, more people dying, more governments looking for international donors’ bailout, more people living not according to their dreams and wishes but because of rather purposely designed social circumstances.

It’s just sad, too sad.

Forgive but Never Forget – Cassinga May 4, 1978

It was a horrific massacre; more than 600 of innocent Namibian men, women, and children were brutally killed by the South African Apartheid government on May 4, 1978 in Cassinga, Angola. They were massacred not because of any wrong doing but because of their audacity of apartheid, racism, and discrimination intolerance in Namibia.

It was in the morning hours when innocent men, women and children were in the Cassinga camp inside Angola, a place of refugee that they called their home away from Namibia due to severe racial discrimination in Namibia by the South African Administration which only ended on March 21, 1990.

On that day, more than 600 men, women and children were busy with their daily chores and school activities as usual, but then they heard a sound of airplanes, that they all ran outside to glare at the sky thinking and hoping that the planes were coming to deliver bags of food (as usual); they then stood glaring and staring at the morning blue sky as they watched tiny dark objects falling from the planes towards them, but unfortuneately, they were no bags of food but bombs and more bombs delivering an unsuspected and horrific death.

When the tiny dark objects hit and blasted below their feet, they had no were to run and hide but watched as the hatred blaze of fire and bullets hitting and combing through every place of the whole Cassinga camp area, delivering harsh, brutal and hatred death in an instant of a moment.

More than 600 innocent people; women, children, and men died on that day, specifically for me, so that today I’m free to walk at anytime, anywhere in Namibia without being discriminated against because of the color of my skin, race, national origin or political party affiliation. That today, my children and future grandchildren will be able to attend any school of their own choice in Namibia without being subjected to harsh discrimination because of the color of their skin, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or creed.

Those men, women and children, who died on that day, contributed immensely to the independence of Namibia but without ever tasting the fruits of their labor that Namibians are indiscriminately and lavishly enjoying today. Their blood that shed on that day, have brought me my personal liberty and freedom that enable me to travel in and out of Namibia without being subjected to harassment and severe punishment simply because I am black.

Today, I gladly honor and celebrate this day in sadness that, being black in Namibia, that I now have a voice; my civil and human rights to air and voice my personal views without being subjected to censorship and harassment. Today, I am who I am because those men, women and children who died on May 4, 1978 in that horrific and brutal hatred death of an unsuspected instant, just because of their race, skin color, and political belief; today I am doing what I love doing, and it’s because of them; those heroes and heroines, who died on that day in Cassinga and those who survived to witness and tell their stories today.

On that day, it could have been my brother, Daniel Jacob Kapenda, who as a SWAPO Plan fighter died in Katima for the love of Namibia.

May 4, 1978 is the day that should never be forgotten by any Namibian and friends of Namibia, regardless of his or her political party affiliation, religion, race, creed, color of skin, sexual orientation, or gender.

That day, May 4, 1978, is the day that will forever live in infamy. Yes, forgive but never forget!

The only absence of war is peace; let peace prevails!

Flood in Northern Namibia Causing Severe Hunger By 2013?

We as humans, are only 4% different from Chimpanzees. Part of what separates us from the Chimps is our bigger brains. In our Genomes, we are 96% similar to Chimps, however, we can think and do things unlike the Chimps. In that case, every problem, no matter how big it is, there’s a solution for it. Unless if we simply stop thinking and being creative and become like Chimps.

For me, as a world-class academia; being a PhD student in a social science field, I will use my thinking and creative ability, as complemented by my friends and partners around the world to implement our biggest solution for the biggest socioeconomic problems that are currently ravaging Namibia.

Some of these are; high rate of unemployment, big gap of unequal wealth (income) distribution, unskilled workforce, poor healthcare system, and more.

And the flood in the North, which has been ravaging the Northern area for the past 4-5 years, is just making things worse. Possibly within the next 2-3 years, it could cause Namibia to face an extreme hunger and severe starvation for the Northern regions.

This is due to the fact that; the people in the North, who literary depend on their field crops and harvests for survival, they generally eat what I may refer to as; LIFO (“last in, first out”), this is an accounting term; meaning that for example this year, they are living off of what they had produced in 2009, whereas for the 2010 produce is still in their storage facilities, and they will live off of that in 2011.

Because for the year 2011, the flood has damaged most, if not all of their crops, then in 2013 they will not have anything to eat, hence the hunger and starvation will strike the Northern part of Namibia.

And if you look at the current rate of unemployment, most of the unskilled adult youths in the North have flocked to city centers in search of work, but there’s none. And for those who have jobs, they earn little salary and meager wages, not enough to sustain themselves and maintain their families who have been ravaged by the flood.

This is a bigger problem that needs a bigger solution, and that’s the Groot Town Center ecosystem.

Again, we are humans, not Chimps. We can think, we can do stuff and achieve bigger things, we have the ability to make things happen, we can make “Big Dreams” come true if we put our thinking ability to good and creative use, unlike our closes cousins, the Chimps. Unless if we simply stop thinking up to the level of our noses.

Today, with money, you can have the world’s best engineers with the world’s best technology to make the biggest things happen, fast. Nothing is impossible.

Wait for my complete analytical research article based on my last week trip to the North-flooded area.

For the Homeless Man, Matt Cooper, Under the Bridge on Interstate 70

Yesterday, I was driving in this little town near the Ohio borders and there’s this bridge at an exit of off I-70 to Lewisburg, Ohio. As I was passing under it, I saw this man, dressed in a red shirt, navy pants and a baseball hat. He was standing right at the ramp folding up a big plastic wrap and I immediately knew that he slept under that bridge and he used that plastic wrap as his blanket.

I didn’t really care too much as I was just thinking that may be he was just passing by, and that may be he was just hitchhiking and he couldn’t get a ride so he decided to sleep under there. However, later on in the afternoon on my way back, I saw him again but this time he was walking with a lot of stuff on his back towards the same spot under the bridge. Then I realized that he’s someone who might have been stranded. In America, if you don’t have a car or money for a Greyhound bus, it’s nearly impossible and dangerous to hitchhike. It’s even illegal to walk along side any highway trying to hitchhike.

I then turned around, it’s hard to make a u-turn there, but I did manage to turn around and came back to the bridge, put on my emergency lights and got out. It’s an awful place to stop since it’s right at an exit ramp. If a cop had seen me, I would have been cited for stopping there. I then walked behind the ramp looking for this man but I couldn’t find him, so I yelled out at him. And he yelled back from behind the concrete cave-look like. I politely yelled out asking him if he needed a ride anywhere, and came out towards me and said that he could may be go west. When he said that, I realized that he was homeless and he had no specific place to go.

He was smiling; very polite and friendly. He was referring to me as “sir”, which further made me realize that not only that he’s polite but also courteous, and kind, I’m thinking that he must be a veteran, as not too many civilians address normal strangers as “sir”.

I then told him that if I came by tomorrow and if he’s still there, that I’d give him a ride and take him anywhere he wanted to go. I reached in my pockets to see if I had any cash, but I only had $2 bills, so I gave them to him.

He was so happy, very thankful, he was speechless. I then said goodbye and I left. As I was leaving, I just couldn’t picture him sleeping under that bridge in a dusty and noisy Interstate highway, especially the noise from heavy vehicles, trucks. I just broke down crying, it’s very sad to imagine someone to live and sleep under that scary dark bridge perhaps with no food, while I was comfortably driving with a full stomach.

I turned around and started looking for a place to buy some food. I found KFC about five minutes away, and I went in and bought (I went and got more cash) a full box of chicken and then I went to Speedway, a gas station, nearby and bought a large Sprite lushed in ice-cold mug.

I then drove back to the bridge, it’s very dangerous to stop there, as there are intersections and exits right under the bridge. But I stopped on the side ramp as I did before, and I put on the emergency lights and I got out. I walked up, climbing up the concrete under the bridge. I could see his shirt, laying under his makeshift concrete cage.

I yelled out at him; telling him that it was me again, and that I brought him some food. I asked him if it’s okay for me to come near and he screamed out in excitement and said yes. I continued toward him while I was explaining to him that I got him some chicken and cold pop.

As I was coming near, I could see his whole makeshift cage and on the other side of his belongings, there were two large 2-litter Coca-Cola bottles, half empty. I could tell that he has lived under there for a very long time. When I looked at his stuff and bottles of pop, I told him that I was sorry, I said: Oh, you got something to drink already, but this one is colder. I then handed him the plastic bag with the box of chicken, and even before I handed him his drink, he already started digging in the box of chicken, feeling the chicken how nice and warm.

He was so happy. I reached out my hand to shake his hand while I introduced myself, and he politely reached out his hand to meet me halfway and introduced himself, telling me that his name is Matt Cooper.

I asked him if he wanted a ride tomorrow anywhere and he said he’s really tired; he’s 56 years old. I sadly said goodbye and left him there. When I drove by this morning, he was still under there and when I returned in the afternoon, it was raining, pouring down heavily and he was still under there, laying down. You have to actually know that he’s there, otherwise you’d pass him without ever noticing that there’s someone under there.

And if you are wondering what race he is, he’s African-American, good looking guy with some missing teeth.

In America, there are many shelters for homeless people, but most of them, although they provide adequate and generous warm meals, bedding wise are not designed to offer personal comfort of property ownership right. That feeling of having your own place and the bed to sleep on any time whenever you want, without anyone telling you to get up.

Most shelters have nice single beds, but they are all laid out in a large open, hall-style space and anyone, the first one to come in during the evening hours, may get to have the bed. Have you seen the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)” by Will Smith?

And even though having a bed in a nice and warm lighted place is better than sleeping under the cold, dusty and noisy bridge, one has to sleep with his belongings, all tied to your chest and you better not tell anyone what you actually got, because when you fall asleep, anyone could steal your stuff.

And to make it worst, in the morning when you wake up, you must take all your belongings with you. There is no bed ownership and there is no place to store your stuff. When you come back the next evening, you may get a different bed depending on how early you get there and only if there are any beds left.

If you are trying to find a job while staying in a homeless shelter, then you have to take your belongings with you to your job or job interview every morning because there’s no place to leave or store your stuff.

That’s why some homeless people prefer living the way such as how Matt is living, under the bridge. Under that makeshift concrete, cold, dusty and noisy bridge, he may feel at peace, no one is stealing his stuff and no one is waking him up early to leave and return at the certain time, as if he was staying in a homeless shelter. Under that bridge, he has no curfew, he has complete property ownership right.

I am sincerely feeling so much pain deep inside, just the thought that Matt is out there, sleeping under the bridge; he has no electricity, he has no running water, he has no toilet room, and no nothing. My heart just can’t rest not knowing whether he ate today or not.

In America, yes we are just now coming out of the Great Recession, but no one should be homeless, no one should go to bed hungry, and definitely, no one, not Matt Cooper or anyone else, especially a Vet, should sleep under the cold, noisy, dark, and dusty unsanitary bridge.

May be you can join me and help find an apartment and get it paid up for a year in advance and give it to him so he can rehabilitate having his own space with running water, bathroom, kitchen and most of all; it’s his own, by himself.

If you are interested in helping Matt find a home, please contact me now.

Starvation Should Not Be An Option, Anymore

Yes, resources are becoming more scarce as the global population increases, however, in today’s globalized market economy with the most advance technology, nobody, anywhere, should go to bed hungry. It’s ridiculous and awfully sad to know that someone out there goes to bed hungry. It should not happen, not anywhere, not ever. If it was 1800 years ago, then that’s a different story. But today, it shouldn’t happen anywhere.

Who’s Killing All The Parents, Kids Ask?

Joseph is 26 years old and lives in Windhoek, Namibia. At the age of 21, he has unexpectedly become the father and mother of his 4 young brothers and 2 sisters, when his most loving mother, Hileni, a school teacher and city councilwoman, the only provider of the family, unexpectedly died from the HIV disease.

Their father, Samuels had died a year before. The youngest child at the time was just less than 4 years old. Fortunately, when Hileni passed away, Joseph has already graduated from high school, and he was planning on going to college, but he could never go, as he had to find a job to support his young brothers and sisters.

Joseph has a brother, Fritz, who is 23 years old and is defying the gravity of their hardship by going to college. He wants to go to Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California, and then transfer to UCLA to complete his degree education, so he can one day find a good paying job to help his brothers and sisters.

And by the time Fritz completes his degree education, Joseph would be in his 30s, but Joseph also plans on going to college as soon as Fritz finishes and gets a job to help take over the family load. However for Fritz to find the money he needs to pay for his tuition and fees at SMC is another dream that needs to come true for him, which is almost impossible, his mother and father have died and they have no relatives who can afford to send them to college. With stringent bureaucracy, who and how can anyone even ask the government to help fund their education?

In Columbus, Ohio, Timothy is 20 years old and a second year student at the Ohio State University majoring in Computer Science Engineering. His mother was gunned down in a drug related accident when Timothy was just three years old. His father has had unfortunately fallen a victim of drugs and alcohol since Timothy was little, so he has never been in any place to help raise Timothy and his young brother.

Luckily, Timothy has an aunt who helped raise him and his young brother. And at the age of 14, Timothy was forced to find a job in Richmond, Virginia, at a local McDonald’s restaurant, but because he was just too young to work, he had to lie on his job application that he was in fact 16 years old. He had to work in order to support himself and his young brother.

Timothy calls himself the ‘definition’, the definition of overcoming hardship, struggle, and growing up without any proper supervision and parental love. His favorite word is ‘focus’.

Whenever you talk to Timothy, you would hear that word ‘focus’ lamenting in his tone more than a dozen times. It’s his vocabulary and his reminder to staying focus on what he has always wanted to do, reaching his goal and realizing his potential. He has already defied that by finishing high school no matter what he had faced in his early years of life and by enrolling in college to achieving his dream.

Timothy works more hours each week, more than the hours he needs to study. He has to work in order to pay for his rent and housing expenses, for him and his young brother. However, he’s at least fortunate that he has financial aid and student loans from the U.S. Department of Education to pay for his tuition and fees at the Ohio State University.

Zanelle is a 16 years old from Soweto, South Africa. She has three sisters and one brother. Her father died of AIDS when she was just 12 years old and her mother died of the same disease when she was 14 years old. At 16, Zanelle is the mother and father, provider and bread-winner of her siblings. She dropped out of school in order to work as a brick layer in order to earn money to help and support her brother and sisters.

Her relatives, aunts and uncles have also died of AIDS and the few remaining relatives are also HIV positive. Her 79 years old grandmother is the only one left to help out at home, but what can she really do at her age, except to look after the kids when Zanelle goes to work?

In the rural areas of India, there’s a place well known as Destiny Village (http://www.destinyvillage.org), with children, mostly orphanage, some of whom were abandoned by their families. This same Destiny Village has also been setup in Haiti to help house the same type of children. These two houses have been generously setup and sponsored by members of The Potter’s House Church of God (http://www.pottershouse.org) in Columbus, Ohio, under the leadership of the anointed, Pastor Tim Oldfield.

Some or all of the children in the Destiny Village housing projects, if it was not for the Potter’s House initiatives to help them by providing them with adequate housing, food, and education, God only knows where these kids would be today, most of them would probably be dead, or staying homeless as they once were prior to the Potter’s House initiatives to help them.

In the rural areas of Lundazi in Zambia, Mathias Zimba, director of Rising Fountain Development Program (http://www.risingfountains.org) is trying his utmost best to help families; grandparents, children and HIV positive victims in the whole rural area of Lundazi to have access to medical facilities and education.

Lundazi is one of the largest Districts in the Eastern part of Zambia, with a total population of 296,560, of which the majority live in the Lundazi rural area, while only a small part of the population lives in the city district.

Most of the population of the Lundazi area is HIV positive for those who are still living, while the majority of the parents have died of HIV and only the grandparents are left to raise and look after the orphanage kids.

When only the grandparents, most of them are in their late 70s and 80s, they cannot really provide the children with the care they need and cannot also help them with their educational work, as what normal parents would do. Because most of the grandparents were born during the colonialism and did not have opportunity to get an education. Thus now, the cycle of illiteracy continuous to repeat itself.

“There are a number of policies that have been put in place and slowly being implemented by the Zambian government, though the challenge is that, most of these policies are really only effective in urban areas and trickle at a snail rate into rural areas” said Zimba.

Among some of the notable policies in place by the Zambian government include:

Education Policy – free education for all at Basic Education. However the challenge is that despite being a policy, school authorities still charge a fee ‘user fee’ for students to pay.

“This money is used for operational costs for the school to cover the deficit they have from their lean budgets. Now, in rural areas, where on earth can a family with almost no income meet these costs? The end solution is that in rural areas, some children, particularly girls are left out from school and are forced into early marriages and so forth” said Mr. Zimba.

Healthcare Policy – free HIV/AIDS drugs to people infected with the disease. Zimba said that this is a wonderful policy to allow people who are HIV positive to have access to life saving drugs.

“The challenge is that most of the rural area clinics are centralized near the urban areas and sick people need to walk by foot almost 120 km (about 75 miles) to access the help they desperately need. There is no reliable transportation, despite the community efforts to put up good feeder roads and in the end; people are just dying in the rural areas” said Mr. Zimba.

“What are the consequences? HIV is increasingly being spread throughout the country and grandmothers are now taking over, looking after their grandchildren as due to the death of their own children” Said Zimba.

Agricultural Policy – a good policy has been put in place relating to marketing of farm produce to allow local farmers to sell their produce through a liberalized system in order to earn a few monies to support their families.

“The challenge is that despite all of these wonderful policies for Agriculture, in rural areas, we are only seeing a few “unscrupulous” traders who come and rip off poor farmers and buy their produce at extremely low prices” states Zimba.

“Our main goal really is to help children and women in these areas of Zambia to have a future and fulfill their dreams. But to do that, we need advocacy on our work so that people who have power and resources can help us meet our objectives. We need to help children to have food on the table, medical, clothes and most importantly, a good health system” cries Zimba.

One of the projects that are currently helping and working with the Rising Fountain Development Program is The Pencil Project (http://www.thepencilproject.com) led by Maria Vick and is based in South Carolina, USA.

“I lived in Swaziland as a child and was able to witness poverty firsthand. As you know, a trip to Africa will change anyone forever. I was always struck by the joy and gratefulness that I found in the African people despite the fact that so many had so little” states Mrs. Vick.

“As I’ve matured, now at 36 years of age, I have come to believe that education is the only real way out of poverty and that all the world’s children should have access to the tools they need. A pack of one dozen pencils, something that people in well developed countries take for granted, could help 12 children” states Mrs. Vick.

“In just a short time, my project has gotten a pencil into the hands of over 10,000 needy children. The pencil, though a simple thing, symbolizes education and the promise that I would like every child to feel” Says Maria Vick.

Mrs. Vick says that she acts as a ‘matchmaker’ between a donor school and a needy school. People come to her website who are looking for an easy way to help children in need. The donor school will collect pencils and then ship them to the needy school that she has found for them. And that’s how her organization started working with Mathias Zimba and the Rising Fountain Development Program.

“I believe that Mathias first contacted me, I can’t remember, and we sent an initial shipment of pencils to his students. He responded so beautifully by sending me many photos of the children receiving the pencils. They were so grateful! Their photo is on my homepage. Simon, I cried for days” sadly states Mrs. Vick.

“I have helped numerous needy schools around the world since my project’s inception but something about this program, about Mathias Zimba, and about these students have touched me as they have touched you. I have pledged to personally collect supplies for their school and am currently sending two additional parcels a month of paper, books, etc. all on my own dime” cries Mrs. Vick.

“The children have nothing, no shoes, and no blankets, nothing…and yet they try to come to school every day with a smile on their face. I don’t believe that the UN or any government for that matter is doing much to help the world’s children. There are children that are forgotten all over the world. Even in my state of South Carolina, we have school districts that are terribly underfunded (http://www.corridorofshame.com). I personally feel that we cannot wait for the government to come through for these children. They need materials now and every day that goes by is another lost opportunity for them. I won’t wait for the government. I just want to put the materials into their hands” states Mrs. Vick.

“As far as the children left homeless by AIDS, it is devastating. But it’s all part of a much larger problem which comes back to education. Knowledge is power, Simon. I know that you understand that. It is often difficult to recruit people to help in these efforts if they have never been to Africa or have only ‘seen’ poverty through the television screen in their warm, comfortable living room. That’s why I am focused on the younger generation—the children who email me every day to help. They are so eager and so willing to help build their generation. It encourages me that my small idea has blossomed into something that I never could have imagined” states Mrs. Vick.

Mathias Zimba states that his organization’s main goal is to help children and women in these areas of Zambia to have a future and fulfill their dreams. “But to do that, we need advocacy for our work so that people who have power and resources can help us meet our objectives. We need to help children to have food on the table, medical, clothes and most importantly, a good health system” cries Mr. Zimba.

“Our current urgent need is to allocate funding to help pay teachers at our rural community school, which is US$150 a month in salary for a qualified teacher to work in the rural areas. We need to recruit two qualified teachers to help out. Currently we are only working with volunteers and there is no consistency” Says Zimba.

“Rehabilitation of water wells. Water borne diseases thrive in the rural areas and we want to help them rehabilitate and maintain by forming a water committee. It costs around US$400 to rehabilitate a well and we need to help them rehab approximately 5 wells that will serve 300 members” states Mathias Zimba.

The most important problem currently facing Mr. Zimba is to find someone who may be willing to help them through donations or grants to buy a vehicle that they can use for an ambulance which will help people in his communities be able to go to healthcare clinics and receive medical care they so desperately need.

Most sick people when they walk the long distance to go to collect their daily HIV dozes of medicines, most of them don’t even make it back. They die on the way to the clinics because it takes them up to 3 days to get there by foot.

And when they don’t return home, the kids ask, who’s taking away all of our parents? Who’s killing our parents? Doesn’t God love us anymore? Why has God forsaken us?

The grandparents have no answers to any of these questions, they simply look at the kids and tell them that it’s God’s will that He’s taking them away.

Some of the people, who can afford, use donkey carts to go to and back from the clinics. Zimba believes that finding someone to help them with a van that they can use as a vehicle will tremendously help them solve one of the most critical problems of getting the sick to the healthcare.

The week of October 16, 2007, Jennie who is one of the volunteers from Ireland who arrived last week to volunteer at the Rising Fountain Development Program, brought Mr. Zimba and his team an award, presented to them by Mayor Edwin Stevenson of Limavady City, Ireland, who awarded Mathias Zimba and his group as a recognition for their outstanding community work.

“This is great news for all of us. It’s a great daily challenge being faced with so many problems in our community, and this award encourages us to work relentlessly and help people in our community as much as we can. We just need help, more resources and supports in order to enable us to carry on with our tasks, even a small contribution can help make a difference in a big way” states Mr. Zimba.

In the near future, Mathias Zimba and his organization want to initiate a cooperative program to help farmers sell their produce at economic prices and raise income for their savings.

“There are many other organizations such as WVI, Global Fund, and others that are working for the same cause in Zambia, but most of these organizations are centralized in large cities and towns and don’t really reach people in rural areas” says Mr. Zimba.

There are many Josephs, Timothys, Zanelles, Destiny Villages and Lundazis out there, all around us, everywhere in the world, and the question is, what are you doing to help out?

If you would like to learn more or find out how you can help Mathias Zimba and his organization, The Rising Fountain Development Program, please visit their web site at http://www.risingfountains.org.

About Simon Kapenda

Simon Kapenda is a volunteer author of this article. He’s founder of Tip-Mart, Inc., (http://www.tipmart.com) and developer of RentersQ (http://www.rentersq.com) and Gatepedia (http://www.gatepedia.com). He’s a student in Economics at the Ohio State University, a self-declared serial entrepreneur, speaker, and philanthropist, and an avid amateur blogger at his blog at http://www.princesimon.com.

A Call for an African Community Forum

There’re many business, economic and political forums in the world such as World Economic Forum, World Business Forum, TransAfrica Forum, and other forums that meet regulary or yearly to discuss issues that pertain and matter to them.

The murdering of Lucky Dube reminds the world of just how the violence has gotten out of control in South Africa, as well as in most countries in Africa, the cry of hundreds of thousands of parentless children, whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS, lack of access to quality education and healthcare, the poverty and corruption in many different African countries call for an immediate and actionable action to figure out how to severely take whatever the necessary steps to put an end to these inhumane.

In the honor of Lucky Dube, I am calling for the establishment of an African Community Forum, a free non-political and non-partisan peaceful discussion forum for a multitude of young African people to get together to discuss, decide and make strong and actionable recommendations to the world bodies such as the United Nations and the developed countries about what steps must be taken to immediately ensure that these issues as stated far above can be eradicated effectively.

We can organize the first African Community Forum to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2008. This will be a weekend long events, composed of panelists, questions and answers discussion style, workshops, and a celebration of life through music and storytelling, and at the end of the events, there would be a selection of five individuals who would be tasked to go present the recommendations and outcomes of the events to the United Nations in New York. The African Community Forum will then make a persistent follow up to make sure that these recommendations are implemented.

Each year, the African Community Forum will then gather together in any selected city anywhere in Africa to discuss certain issues that matters to the African people.

These events are for senior high school students, college students, academia professors, and business and community leaders. Transportation, food and lodging to and from the African Community Forum will be provided.

It’s time to step up. During the apartheid era, students around the world used to march and demonstrate on the streets against the injustices by the South African apartheid government, and likewise, it’s time to step up against violence, HIV/AIDS, corruption, poverty, and better education and healthcare.

I am looking for well-placed individuals to help carry out these events. Interested individuals and parties should contact me via email at simon(at)rentersq.com, immediately.