LifestyleThe tragedy of illiteracy by
Michael Tambo - April 2012
Deep inside the Kunene Region, in Otjimijira Village under the Omakatendeka constituency lies a Himba-speaking community; a community still stuck in the yesteryears.
During a tour around the Kunene Region, courtesy of Namibia Tourism Board (NTB), we stumbled upon this Himba Village; a village consisting of people who are still remote in today’s enlightenment error brought about by the introduction and intrusion of information technologies.
Twenty-two years of independence down the line and it comes as a shock to many that there still exists a community of people who have never stepped feet in a classroom; that there are still people who give birth at home, regardless of the efforts made by the Ministry of Health to build clinics and hospitals. Despite the endless campaigns to empower women, young girls in that community are still being married between the age of 12 and 15.
No one in the community is able to read or write; neither of them has ever had an opportunity to go to school together with their children, nor have they ever been out of their village. For them, their village is their world and life. They have never even voted for any political candidate who could, in the near future, stand for their rights and represent them in Parliament.
To them, the political independence we enjoy in the urban Namibia means being set free from predators such as hyenas, jackals and leopards that kill their livestock. Independence to them also means protection from human attack that may lead to death. Since they cannot kill the wild animals, which are protected by the Ohirovipuka Community Conservancy, a ‘dangerous’ environment leaves them defenseless. They still fight the war to end the human-wildlife conflict that has given them many sleepless nights from time immemorial.
Strangely, the eldest member of the Himba community is the 34-year old Vazuva Musutwa who is also the community spokesperson.
The community’s main worry, according to their spokesperson, is that of their health due to unavailability of clean water and clinics. They drink river water and have to walk a two-days’ distances to reach the nearest clinic because of lack of transportation.
As a result, they still resort to the traditional ways of giving birth through the assistance of a midwife as they neither have transportation to go to the hospital nor the money to pay for medical fees. Thus, there are two old ...
Refer to the Prime Focus Magazine for remainder of article