Thursday, March 8, 2012
Poverty: The Other Side of Africa
But Namibia, and Africa as a whole, has another side, which includes high unemployment and poverty. To gain insight into these problems, I took the Swakop Township Tour while visiting Swakopmund. Beetle, a large African with dreadlocks, picked me up at the guesthouse and we set off to see the township and informal settlement. He explained how the former was set up by under apartheid rule and all blacks were forced to move there. The informal settlement houses new arrivals from rural areas and has no electricity.
He parked and we walked past small, shabby homes through sandy, treeless streets. Outhouses were shared with two or more homes. Children played in the street and Beetle, who grew up here, explained that because everyone knows each other and life is lived mainly on the street, crime is low.
We entered the home of Ouma Lena, a distinguished-looking 83-year-old lady, the chief of the Township, she spoke in the Damara click language with Beetle, who translated. Next we visited the tiny one-room hut of Auguste, a Nama herbalist, who showed me the plants and potions she uses to treat ailments. Wooden, painted figures like voodoo dolls were poised over her medicines.
*** To learn more about this amazing country and see over 130 colour photos, view my on-line book Impressions of Namibia at:
General info on Namibia: www.namibatourism.com.na
Swakop Township Tours: www.culturalactivities.in.na
Namibia Tracks & Trails makes travel and accommodation arrangements in Swakopmund and throughout Namibia: www.namibia-tracks-and-trails