Clem Sunter

Cool Namibia

2013-06-28 08:30

Clem Sunter

Last week I flew to Windhoek to be a guest speaker at an awards dinner arranged for the first time by the Namibian Manufacturers Association. I felt quite chuffed because the other South African performing at the same function was Khaya Mthetwa, our 2012 winner of Idols. We had a chat before the dinner and it was clear that one of the reasons he won the title was the age-old formula of passion plus homework to succeed in your occupation. He really sweated the small stuff to stay ahead of his competitors - and he has a great voice too.

However, the reason for this article is that whenever I go to Namibia, I come back with a mixture of tranquillity, joy and renewed hope that we in South Africa can get it right too. Black Namibian citizens get on with German citizens who get on with Afrikaans citizens and everybody else comes along for the ride. Namibia gained independence only a few years ahead of us and yet they seem to have settled down to getting on with life and hopefully raising the quality of it for all their citizenry.

Yes, it is a small country with only 2.3 million inhabitants and yes it has the same level of youth unemployment of just over 50% that we have. But somehow people are not nearly as angry and combative as they are here. Quite a few senior South African business executives seconded to posts in their companies in Namibia privately expressed their wish to stay beyond their period of secondment. Their stated reason was that people are so nice and friendly, everybody works as a team, the media does not offer a daily dose of hate stories, the violent crime rate is much lower and even the SWAPO youth wing leader apologised publicly for some of the comments he had made.

Now I know that some of you reading this article will say that Windhoek does not represent the country. I fully understand that as I did a roadshow around the entire country for a bank several years ago and there are deep pockets of poverty as you go to the extreme north. Yet a peacefulness reigns towards which we are still aspiring. Namibians may be poorer than us, have less mineral riches and have a sparse natural environment but they probably rank higher on the happiness index. Moreover, Namibia's economic GDP growth rate in 2012 was 5%, exactly double our figure of 2.5%.

David Moseley's excellent article last week on the ugly conduct of South Africans towards parking officials and students selling match programmes is not evident on the streets of Windhoek where courteous behaviour is shown even to the humblest individual trying to ply his or her trade. At the awards dinner, the final speaker was the Honourable Calle Schlettwein, Minister of Trade and Industry. He outlined the "growth at home" programme which has objectives broadly in line with our National Development Plan, namely to accelerate economic growth, reduce income inequality and increase employment. Good luck to him. He quoted Henry Ford: "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success."

Consistent with this theme, Khaya sang a song in his cabaret with all the verve of the original artist, Otis Redding. It is entitled "Try a little tenderness" and includes the lines "Hey, Hey you gotta know what to do, don't be a fool, you need to try it now." Maybe, we have got to try a bit harder in South Africa to replicate the coolness of Namibians. We must chill out a bit and get on with it.




Send your comments to Clem

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.



- News24

NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
15 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Job: Interactive Web Designer / Developer, Digital Agency, Cape Town, R12k -R20k

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Initiate International
R12 000 - R20 000 Per Month

Fund Manager

Western Cape
Hire Resolve
R650 - R800 Per Year

Accounts Clerk

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
Cozens Recruitment Group ( Western Cape)
R8 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

30% off new fiction books!

Save 30% on new captivating books from great authors such as Wilbur Smith, James Pettereson and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

Camping gear!

We’ve got all your camping must have’s right here at mind blowing low prices. Check them out now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to be too up in the air with your idealistic ideas. Find an anchor to help bring them into a more realistic...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.