10 EDITORIAL Friday, March 23 2018| NEW ERA 208 0318 There’s no such thing as independence Namibia turned 28 years this week, having attained independence from apartheid South Africa on March 21, 1990. While the general meaning of independence is the state of being independent, there is, at a deeper level, a compelling requirement to hold hands as a co-dependent people. Independence doesn’t mean we do not need other people or institutions in order to function as a society. Even at international level, no country can claim to not need another. Even the so-called superpowers work in cahoots with their peers and allies for their own existence. Namibia recently revamped her foreign policy and, in fact, renamed the whole concept to ‘international relations’ – in full recognition of this very requirement to work in partnership with other nations and institutions. Independence means you add at least as much value back as you take from another person. At work, the richest man in the building did not accumulate his wealth in isolation. There are men and women below him who work their hands off to put their boss at the pinnacle of the rich list. Workers too depend on their bosses to lead them and place them on a strategic path to prosperity. The human ecosystem demands that as part of our condition as a race, we depend upon the support of others for our wellbeing. Business moguls on luxury yachts, believing the world revolves around them and that their wealth makes them the alpha and omega. Yet, it is the buyers of their products and services that propelled them to their status – because of that element of dependency and co-dependency. Independence is a collective attitude and mindset. It grows within communities committed to increasing their autonomy and control in certain ways. We cannot build freedom without others. Against that clarity of thought, we must get back to the basics of nationhood. The meaning and purpose of nation must be understood first if we’re to understand the overarching meaning of co-independence as citizens. The term nation is a notoriously amorphous word, often used recklessly for political expediency. When politicians ascend to power and forget the masses that put them in such positions, it is a sign that such leaders have forgotten the interdependence nature of society. When leaders, political and otherwise, fail to serve, it is often because they are gloating in illusions of self- independence. When cabals and syndicates of powerful persons enjoy unfettered exclusive access to national resources at the expense of the entire citizenry, it’s because of that very illusion that they are independent of anyone else and can do whatever their hearts desire without repercussions. But with such actions, there is always a consequence. The world’s biggest criminal cartels, which had judges and police chiefs in their pockets, are currently either languishing in jail as is the case with Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán or are dead and buried like Pablo Escobar. In summary, we reiterate that we all need each other for our countries to function productively. We must all hold hands and march together towards a better life of prosperity and great livelihood for everyone. Only this would give meaning to the pompous political rhetoric of independence. On Sunday 18 March 2018, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Julius Malema accused eNCA of protecting white privilege and white supremacy on Twitter. This accusation is disturbing given the values at the core of eNCA’s journalism over the last decade. Despite our relatively small size as a news organisation, we have consistently dedicated our limited resources to stories which have put justice, equality and human rights at the centre of our news, in line with our insistence that we offer news without fear or favour. Our staff have consistently told stories about what is broken and how we can make each other accountable. Mr Malema’s characterisation of eNCA is not supported by the factual record. The channel’s majority stakeholder is a Black empowerment company, Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI), eMedia is held by the South African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU). The ownership of eNCA through eMedia is therefore not as has often been alleged in public. Additionally, the staff members at eNCA are representative of the diversity of people who make up contemporary South Africa, who bring to their work divergent political views and social experiences, which inform our story-telling in ways which South Africans have appreciated to the extent of making us the most-watched channel among news viewers. Mr Malema’s tweets have consequences, not least because he is the leader of a political party with substantial representation and support across South Africa. have been threats to individual journalists in the wake of his online messages. At any other time in our country’s history this would have required a response from the editorial team, not least because it is a question of ensuring the safety of journalists in a democratic society. In the year ahead of what may be South Africa’s most important general elections since the abolition of legislated apartheid, the role of the news media and the safety of those who work in this crucial sector, cannot be overstated. We must remind ourselves the role that South Africa’s journalists and media organisations played in holding executive power to account and their key role in protecting the democratic order, which eventually saw the reinstitution of corruption charges against a former head of state. Furthermore, eNCA operates in a highly regulated space governed by The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA). If political organisations or their leaders have concerns about news media organisations or their output, there are structures and processes in democratic South Africa available to them to pursue their complaints. The BCCSA is one avenue through which any person or organisation may pursue their complaint should direct engagement with that media organisation not be satisfactory. This is the democratic right assured all of us in democratic South Africa. The legal and policy framework to which all news organisations are subject does not permit them to promulgate hatred or incite violence, or endorse such calls. We are strong supporters of this policy, which demand of our staff even more stringent commitment to the values of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. This is no small matter for eNCA; it is at the core of our ethos as a news organisation, and informs the work of all the people who work here on a daily basis. Media freedom and the safety of journalists are under increasing threat around the world. South Africans fought long and hard to guarantee this freedom as a pillar of the constitutional democracy. Political parties, leaders and citizens have the freedom to criticise the media, but also have the responsibility to do so through the channels available to them in ways which contribute to strengthening democracy and accountability. eNCA is an organisation founded by people who opposed racist domination, and every day the hundreds of people who work incredibly hard to make eNCA the most watched news channel on satellite television in South to a democratic country in which we celebrate a plurality of views within the letter and spirit of constitutional democracy. We affirm that commitment to a democratic country in which we celebrate a plurality of views within the letter and spirit of constitutional democracy. – eNCA * Mapi Mhlangu is eNCA MD and Editor-in-chief.
thought leaders Namibia @28: By far a better country Page 12 Why English is a problem in schools At t h e d a w n o f independence in 1990 the new Government of Namibia adopted English as the medium of instruction in schools and medium of communication population used Afrikaans both as the medium of instruction in former Caprivi Region (now Zambezi) and much later the former Ovamboland (now the The emphasis during that written as opposed to spoken or communicative English and this brings me to the purpose of this Grade 3) learners were taught the where to use (and not to use) the articles the, an and a, for example, a banana, not an banana, an orange not a orange, when to use to add an s (and when not to) to , animals eat grass, not animals eats grass, Simasiku helps his father to repair their car, not Simasiku help his father to repair their car. introduced to literature as part of the emphasis was still on written Learners were taught how to test their understanding of English in the Queen’s language (with difference between apostrophe s and s apostrophe, the girls’ hostel as opposed to Nangolo’s book due to as opposed to owing to, when and while, has and have use together with, and the correct together with his friends (is/are) guilt of stealing mangoes from the attended their education in the over other Namibians in terms do not know whether this is still The narrative above illustrates emphasized written than spoken After the attainment of paradigm shift in the manner would be taught in schools because of the new philosophical school of thought that came along Bollen M. Chataa “One of the consequences of the paradigm shift from written to spoken and communicative English is, in my view, the problem we are faced with today, that is, failing English to a point where learners cannot be allowed to study at institutions of higher learning in the country and elsewhere. For a substantial number of learners who passed Grade 12 last year and even the previous years (but did not meet the university entry requirements), the reason can largely be ascribed to failing English.” felt that there was a compelling need to change from putting more emphasis on written to spoken the older generation cannot with the born-frees question is answered: “Tell us accent – thanks to the paradigm A few weeks ago teachers from southern Africa converged at or not the knowledge of English a learner possesses is a measure of those who opined that indeed the to determine the brainpower of the command of English is not in medium of instruction) but failed should not be allowed to go to achievement at a particular grade level leads to the lowering of the their curriculum and assessment to the needs and standards of the should be adapting to school subscribe to this philosophical One of the consequences of written to spoken/communicative problem we are faced with point where learners cannot be number of learners who passed criticism for the situation – from want to argue that the problem radical is done to the education becomes a tradition of the teachers will have no answers answer like Adam when God The question was a geographical The solution to the problem is curriculum put more emphasis learn the rules of grammar so that know there are people who will be uncomfortable with this shift on account of the philosophical argue that if we are to go that undoing the gains of the current above and in view of the curriculum review process handle the new Grades 11 and an additional professional/ e should not leave that to chance as these teachers are charged with a * Bollen M. Chataa is a lecturer at the University of Namibia’s Katima Mulilo Campus. He writes in his personal capacity of the university.