JULY 2010



HIV/Aids, anti-viral drug claim We investigate the truth

Private Institutions
Do we get what we pay for?
w w

Ras Sheehama
Consumer News chats to renowned local artist

and wine
better and better this wintertime
element creations/cn/cfw/062010

Mon - Friday: 08h00 - 19h00 / Sat: 08h00 - 18h00 / Sun: 09h00 - 15h00 / Public Holidays: 09h00 - 15h00


The Team

Editor’s Note


Consumer News

Printed by

John Meinert Printing

Design & Layout

element creations Traolach O’Maolain Email:

The journey of perpetual improvement

Assistant Design Elisha Chambara E-mail: Cell: 081 377 4344

The Editor

Salome Nzuma E-mail: Cell: 081 352 3723


Tendai K E-mail: Marla Chaneta E-mail:

Raymond Isaacs E-mail:

Looking ahead and remaining focused on one’s goal and vision is imperative for growth and success. This is indeed apt if we are to look at the world in which we live. A quick trip down memory lane will reveal how important it is to remain focused. Consumer News has had its fair share of ups and downs, but we have maintained a constant presence during a time when many Namibian magazines were coming and going. Returning to the importance of having a vision, it was during the times of uncertainty that Consumer News made a conscious decision to move ahead with its growth strategy. This is being kick-started with the rebranding of the magazine - giving it a fresh and exciting new look coupled with punchy editorial, relevant to you family’s lifestyle. As is said, a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. To this end, and to ensure we retain our readership, we proudly bring you the end result you hold in your hands. Advertising is the first budget item to be cut in a recession. Thankfully we had a good response in this issue and we are confident that this publication will grow from strength to strength. I would like to thank all our advertisers as well as the Consumer News Team for their continual support, whom without, this process would not be possible. I am optimistic about the future. We undertake to bring you a good read every month, packed with compelling and relevant articles. Forward ever, backwards never.

Business Development Manager

Jacques Nieman E-mail: Cell: 081 203 7180


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”

Norman Skrywer Email: Cell: 081 430 4003 Leitago Narib E-mail: Cell: 081 363 2712

Margaret Mead (1901-1978) US Anthropologist, Author

You deserve more ... Our mission is to create a platform for you, the Namibian consumer, who strives to see improvement in the value of goods and services and are savvy enough to spot misleading advertising and poor quality products and services. You deserve more, and together we have power in numbers, so we welcome your contributions, feedback, acknowledgements and your voice on products and services that need our investigation.

Consumer News

PO Box 96366 Windhoek, Namibia Tel/Fax: +264 61 228 196


Contact us for your free copy.
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table of Feature
ViraKil We investigate bogus claims of miracle HIV drug

04 10 03 08 12 16 18 20 22 26 27
If you would like to comment on any of our articles, please see below. sms ‘CN’ and your comment to

Comparison Shopping
We compare cell phone prices

NCPG (Namibia Consumer Protection Group) Private institutions – Is it money well spent NCSI (Namibia Consumer Service Institute) We pay for more than just the trolley of goods

Day of the African Child

China & U.S. A tale of two powers 100 Namibians Newspaper poll

Team Namibia Member Section
Bokomo Namibia

Ras Sheehama A Namibian master of music

IMF (International Monetary Fund) Strangers will never send you money

Rugby Success for Namibia’s National Team




Do we get what we pay for
“Are our Educational Institutions simply ripping us off?? Is the price of education a realistic reflection of what we get for money? Are universities (and private institutes) in Namibia in it for the education or the money.” Above is a consumer who feels otherwise about private institutions in Namibia after an unpleasant experience with one of them.
Milton Louw

Charlotte asks…

By Namibia Consumer Protection Group

Private Institutions of Learning
Our constitution states:

(4) All persons shall have the right, at their own expense, to establish and to maintain private schools, or colleges or other institutions of tertiary education: provided that: a.

Great! However, most of the students (and their parents) are not aware that the lecturers are not professionally qualified. Furthermore, imagine the students’ dismay when they find out that none of these courses are recognised by the Namibian Qualifications Authority. Even worse, the diploma courses are not worth more than a Grade 12 qualification, according to the Universities.

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such schools, colleges or institutions of tertiary education are registered with a Government department in accordance with any law authorising and regulating such registration; the standards maintained by such schools, colleges or institutions of tertiary education are not inferior to the standards maintained in comparable schools, colleges or institutions of tertiary education funded by the State;

Now, before we start closing all these schools, institutes and academies, let us examine their role in our country. More and more students are completing their schooling and not finding place at the University or Polytechnic. Their parents or care-givers cannot afford the study fees in other countries, so these students have to look for employment. Having no marketable skill, they often do not find employment and become one of the many unemployed. The private tertiary education institutes offer the students an opportunity to gather knowledge about business and prepare them for gainful employment.


Tertiary education schools are mushrooming all over the country. They provide everything from art classes, computer literacy to business skills. The problem is that the standards are not up to par and most students receive a qualification which is not worth the paper it is printed on. Let us look at a typical example and call it the Tertiary Education Academy.

So what can we do?

Tertiary Education Academy (TEA)

The owner TEA is a businessman without any qualification in education, after all, the Academy is a business and was started to make a profit. None of the staff members, including the Principal, has any professional training or recognised educational qualification. The lecturers at the Academy are also not qualified teachers.

We need to have a body that actively encourages that “the standards maintained by such schools, colleges or institutions of tertiary education are not inferior to the standards maintained in comparable schools, colleges or institutions of tertiary education funded by the State”. The NQA must publicise the names of those that are registered and these institutions must meet the required standards. Furthermore, the NQA must be given “teeth” to close down those who do not meet nor comply with the standards set within a period of time. If you wish to check that your college or school is offering a valid qualification, request a copy of the NQA accreditation of the course. The accreditation letter should include the name of the course, the duration and most importantly the NQA level that it meets. Sound advice is to ask the institution to provide you with business customers who book their staff for training. Contact the companies’ Human Resources Department and find out their opinion on the quality of training provided.

TEA offers the following courses:
• • • • •

Typing skills Bookkeeping Computer Literacy – Microsoft Office PC Engineering – A+ and N+ Software Programming

Note: Mr. Louw is the founder of the Namibia Consumer

The Academy also offers Diplomas in Tourism, Public Relations, Business, Finance and Personnel Administration. The Academy is a very profitable business and the owner is planning on offering further diploma courses.

Protection Group but provides these submissions in his personal capacity. Mr. Louw is presently a part-time lecturer at the Polytechnic of Namibia.

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“a powerful herbal tonic developed specifically to assist HIV/AIDS patients. Virakil halts the reproduction of the virus, is a powerful immune stimulant, cleans the liver and improves skin complexion”

Miracle HIV drug under


By Marla Chaneta

he AIDS pandemic is prevalent in Namibia and the official HIV/AIDS rate is recorded among the highest in the world. AIDS is currently the leading cause of death in the country. People from diverse religious backgrounds and cultures have flooded the market with lucky charms, magic potions and even special rituals that are claimed to prevent and even cure the virus. In addition to the charms and potions are also proclaimed herbal cures such as Virodene.
A little over five years after the Virodene scandal, Virakil has surfaced. Produced in South Africa by Dr. Rui, Virakil is distributed in Namibia by Longlife Health. The product is on sale for N$165 with a free delivery service, as the product is not stocked in any licensed pharmacy. Information on the bottle reads “a powerful herbal tonic developed specifically to assist HIV/AIDS patients. Virakil halts the reproduction of the virus, is a powerful immune stimulant, cleans the liver and improves skin complexion”. Yet, when asked to provide the evidence to these claims, Maria, the contact offered in the advertisements placed in the Informanté, could only give Consumer News anecdotal responses. She told stories of nameless patients that had been bed-ridden for weeks who, after taking the tonic, regained their strength. Yet, backing down after further questioning, she stated that the best person to speak to would be Richard Kobia, current manager of Longlife Health. When asked if she had medical training, Maria replied that she had trained as a nurse. When pressed for further details Maria said her training was from the University of Cape Town in South Africa and was only a two week course. Attempts to verify this, we found that UCT does not offer such courses, they only offer full-time programs. Richard Kobia, who also has no medical training, fully supported Maria’s claims. He said that, despite his lack of training, his wife was trained at a holistic wellness center in Cape Town which he could not name. “We are doing this to help people. We are spiritual and just want to see people better.” Despite the lack of evidence, Maria and Richard continued to defend Virakil and its medicinal values. Maria went on to say that “it has been tried and tested by the Medical Regulatory Council of Namibia”. These claims were however

This is a scan of the VIRAKIL Tonic advert printed in the April 15-21 edition of the Informanté.

debunked by Mr. Rite, a pharmacist working in the Medicine Registration department at the Ministry of Health and Social Services. According to Mr. Rite there is no regulating body for complimentary medicines, a category in which Virakil falls, as such “medical testing labs have not been equipped with the technology required to test these medicines,” stated Mr. Rite when asked to comment. He further added that Virakil was a scam by people trying to get rich quick, and commented that “approved and legal medicines are not advertised in newspapers but in books and package inserts”. Richard informed the Consumer News that ViraKil was also for sale at a health shop located in the Eros Shopping Centre, but when inquiries were made at this location, the staff reported that they have never stocked ViraKil, nor have they ever heard of the product. Herbal medicines suppliers, Nature’s Way, located in Town Square, stated that by no means would they stock or sell the product. “Even Vitamin C, like a glass of orange juice, is considered an immune stimulant”, Saima Haufiku, the head sales lady commented. She added that herbal medicines were diverse in their function even when the contents were limited. Vira-kil lists as contents; African Helichrysum, African

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Virakil cont.

“... it has been tried and tested by the Medical Regulatory Council of Namibia” Maria

Does this look like a facility that has cured HIV/Aids?

Cucumis, Arborescens, Mathema, Water and Alcohol. None of these ingredients listed have any known retro-viral properties whatsoever. Research done by Consumer News magazine turned up a product called ‘Pride Africa’ from the website: which has the exact same ingredient list in the same order, in the same 50ml bottle. Even the marketing is the same. The site states that “Pride’s priority is in halting the reproduction of the virus” using the almost exact same wording except that they do not claim outright that they can ‘halt the reproduction of the virus’ as Virakil does. Consumer News suspects that Virakil is just a re-packaged version of Pride Africa and that Longlife Health is not creating or manufacturing this product themselves, but are rather just re-naming it to be sold in Namibia. With nothing but a gmail address and with no manufacturer listed on the bottle, all anyone really knows is that this is actually just a vitamin supplement stored in a small bottle. To give credit to the producers of Virakil, they do not instruct people to stop taking their ARVs

but suggest Virakil as a complementary medicine. So while Virakil will not cure you, in the opinion of Consumer News, they are also not going to kill you, they are just interested in your money.

“With nothing but a gmail address and with no manufacturer listed on the bottle ...”
There are grave concerns about holes in the regulatory framework that make it legal to peddle clearly bogus medications

as supplements or replacements to desperate people. How can consumers be left so exposed to the predations of both foreign and local fly-by-night operations - people who lie or obfuscate when asked for proof, who fabricate medical credentials? This crime is perpetuated by those who are so greedy that they will sacrifice the health of others for their own monetary benefit. The real crime is that those who are supposed to protect the people, the government and regulatory authorities, seem to have been asleep at the switch and have allowed a situation to develop where hucksters and charlatans can roam free amongst the people - advertise openly in the media and fleece them at will. Consumer News is very concerned that minor operators such as Richard and Maria are simply the tip of the iceberg and, rather than trying to bust every small-time hustler that comes across the border, Namibia needs to create effective laws that give these con-artists no room to operate, thereby creating a populace savvy enough to know a scam from a cure.

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Q UA L I T Y D E SI GN , A D V ER TI S I NG AND MARKE TING AT AFFO RDABLE PRIC E S ad ver ti si n g / pu bl i cati o ns / cor p orate id ent it y / b rand c reat ion o r w h atever it is you need!

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We Pay For More Than Just The Trolley of Goods!
By Jon Allen


e are being robbed of the true value of the products/services we purchase. The price includes the actual product/service PLUS excellent customer service (both during and after the sale). Not only in a perfect world, but it has to be an entitlement in this world of ours too! Wouldn’t you agree?
As customers, we are very much a part of the production process, where we actually own the experience of the sale too, not just the product once we’ve paid. At the very least, all personnel must learn to SMILE! Everyone else involved with customers too. This followed by the keenest sense of professionalism, incorporating improvement in attitude in helping customers and more appropriate work ethic; eradicating attitudes of indifference from service providers completely. Excellent customer service should not come as an additional expense, as the value of one’s hard-earned money is diminished when we’re denied the very best in service. Then to top it all, one suffers emotionally too. It is about time that we stand up for our rights, by admitting the problem…engaging in dialogue about it…standing up against it when we’re unhappy about it… INSISTING on an improvement! Organisations need to know how their customers feel about their service offering, and then have their people adequately and continuously trained! Our country’s service problem will not be fixed overnight, or through a once-off action either. A lot of continuous training is going to be required as we have to change the very nature of many of our front-line people. And this will be a tedious process, but we HAVE to, for our sakes as consumers in the long run, as well as for the sake of our blood pressure in the short term. Our managers and supervisors have to start interacting with the customer too, showing front-line staff how it is donewith a smile, confidence and a positive, helpful attitude. This will serve as a good start in helping to shape the environment and get us on the right track to positively changing our service culture. Do watch this space. We will be evaluating various service providers on your behalf over the coming months, and feeding the findings back to you, the consumer. Feel free to call or e-mail or even sms me about anything. I would like to be needs-oriented in the articles of future issues, so do share with me your views and ideas.

Creating Opportunity, Changing the Face of Customer Service
Contact: Jon Allen t: +264 61 400 910 f: +264 61 400 912 c: +264 81 448 6032
Jon Allen


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of the

African Child
By Salome Nzuma


s we celebrate the “Day of the African Child” this year, we deem it right to make it known the developments around the protection of children with regards to the “marketing of products to children”. Marketing and advertising tricks are well received by children. They are less able than adults to fully understand the purpose of advertising – to persuade and to ultimately sell a product.
Marketers also target children and teenagers because of the money they have to spend, influence they have over their parents spending – pester power; money they will spend as adults – brand loyalty. Children are so vulnerable and this vulnerability is being exploited by marketers at the expense of children’s health and the “African child” - the Namibian is not an exception. Consumers International welcomes new international recommendations on food marketing to children. A new set of international recommendations calling on governments to take action on the marketing of food to children were agreed at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva on May 20, 2010. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendations call on governments to develop policies to reduce the impact of junk food marketing on children. The recommendations are particularly strong in calling for governments to ban all junk food marketing in areas where children are gathered, such as in schools and playgrounds.

Food marketing to children was recognised by the WHO as a contributing factor to rising levels of obesity and overweight in 2005, but the new recommendations make it clear that governments have a responsibility to ensure effective action is being taken. In recent years several food companies have responded to these concerns with their own commitments. A number of surveys have, however, suggested that these are having a limited impact. The new recommendations call on governments to set clear definitions for the key components of policy which could help to tighten the loopholes that exist in some companies’ policies. The recommendations also call for monitoring and enforcement mechanisms and sanctions to be introduced. Consumers International (CI) has been campaigning for an international code on the marketing of food to children since 2007. CI’s recommendations for an international code call for governments to ban the marketing of food high in fat, sugar and salt to all children up to the age of 16. The ban should cover all forms of marketing including broadcast, print, internet and point-of-sale as well as packaging. Marketers of fast foods know that the most effective campaigns are those that target children. They are trusting and have little basis to distinguish the true from the false. A young child is unable to distinguish between the real world and the fantasy world of television advertising. Children are gullible and trust what they hear. Child-centred fast food marketing campaigns are little more than the ruthless exploitation of a vulnerable market. These marketing campaigns’ primary objective is to

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Photograph: Leitago Narib

get the children to nag their parents into submission. Children become the surrogate marketers of fast food restaurants. Parents are placed under immense pressure by their children to relent. Children believe that their parents are unfair to say no. Parents, often feeling guilty that their demanding careers do not allow them to spend more time with their children, give in. Few are fully aware of the harmful nature of these foods. The negative effects of child-centred marketing campaigns are more serious than is often acknowledged. Parents that succumb to the pressure face the risk of subjecting their children to longterm obesity, ill health and fast food addiction. What child is able to resist the free toy that is awarded for every kiddie’s meal? The facilities at the fast food restaurants for children and the low prices of the children’s menu make the fast food restaurant into an appealing place to bring the family. Fast food has become the order of the day for many children in today’s society. Many School tuck shops have changed their menus to serve junk food rather than more traditional fare. Burgers, fried chicken and pizzas have taken over. These are foods that are high in fats, salt and sugar. Children are unaware of what goes into the junk food they so readily consume.

All they know is that these foods taste good and leave them craving for more. Marketing campaigns do not mention the MSG, preservatives, colorants, high fat and sugar content that contribute to the look and taste of these foods. They do not mention the health risks of obesity and allergies that have become closely associated with these foods. Fast food addiction begins at a young age. Glossy advertising makes these foods seem much more attractive to young children than dull home-cooked meals. A fast food culture is developing in many countries around the world. This culture is fed by skilful marketing with children as the primary target. Huge numbers of children are beginning their journey through life, facing obesity and poor health as a result of poor eating habits. The reason for this massive spend is that it works. Children are susceptible to advertising to the extent that they are able to bring their parents, aunts and uncles to the fast food restaurants. Marketing works. Adults have more skills to discriminate between reality and television fantasy. Yet much advertising is targeted at adults. If adults are susceptible, then how much more so are children? Let’s protect our future, our Namibian children.

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“The U.S. and China are the two most important bi-lateral actors in Africa today.”

ne power is in ascendance, another in decline. We look at how this dynamic plays out in Africa. There is a perception in the world that America has lost the plot. A vanishing middle class, an exported manufacturing base, wild casino capitalism on Wall Street, an increasingly schizophrenic population and is fighting two simultaneous unwinnable conflicts.
Then there is China with its hideously large surplus of foreign currency to invest and a booming economy. This nation is seemingly on the rise and unlike the U.S., appears to have a coherent long-term strategy. When it comes to energy, Uncle Sam, despite speculation to the contrary, is still clearly the dominant player in Africa and when one breaks down the numbers truly, it seems like no contest. The Americans hold the lion’s share of exploration contracts including the big players- Angola, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. The U.S. and China are the two most important bi-lateral actors in Africa today. While the U.S. holds more influence in most of the 53 African nations, China has surpassed the U.S. in a number of states and has growing influence in many of the others.

A tale of two powers
By Rob Parker



The U.S. administration and oil companies for example often find themselves seeking wildly different goals. In Iraq, the neocons, led by Mr. Bush and abetted by Wolfowitz and Cheney et al, wanted to use Iraq to break OPEC. They felt OPEC was artificially inflating the price of oil (which it is) and harming the U.S. This plan was immensely distasteful to the oil majors who want the OPEC-mandated high prices to keep profits at their grotesque current levels. They used the State Department to fight the White House’s invasion plans tooth and nailresulting in the White House outing CIA agent Valerie Plame. It would not happen this way in China. Nor do Chinese firms have to deal with messy democracy, public opinion or human rights councils or watchdog groups. There are not Chinese-based organisations on the ground in foreign countries monitoring the behaviour of their corporations such as Disneywatch, democracy watch or Nikewatch. America’s approach to business in the region has also hindered their progress. The U.S., and/or agencies where they wield tremendous influence such as the World Bank or IMF, come to African leaders with long tedious moralising lectures on human rights, which in itself may not be a bad thing. When the moralist, however, is occupying two nations and dropping depleted uranium and cluster bombs on civilian populations, one tends to view their human rights talk as blatant hypocrisy. The U.S. also likes to add demands such as devaluing the currency, deregulation, privatization and reduced spending on social programs. How one can speak of human rights and force poor countries to slash their health care costs is a story for another time. China has no such qualms. China gives the money and stays out of the politics, at least overtly. This makes their assistance an obvious choice for many African leaders. China has penetrated into villages and rural areas, run retail outlets, and are to be found at all levels of commerce. The Americans only have influence at the top level but this is where the big decisions are made and, while China is more visible on the ground until there is a truly global shift in power, the Yankees will remain the major power in Africa and beyond.

Africa is important to these powers in many of the same ways:
As a source for natural resources and mineral wealth as well as crucial African support in international forums such as the United Nations or Trade Organizations.

There are also differences in the way which the two giants engage the continent. American manufacturing firms see Africa as full of risk and uncertainty and their corporations tend to be dismissive of Africa as a potential market. China has a long-term vision for the continent besides a source of natural resources and it sees the continent as an emerging and exiting new market full of potential. Chinese firms, unlike the U.S., often have explicit state backing and the government and corporations often work in lockstep, while America firms are tied to short-term goals and quarterly profits and, while the government will support them on occasion they are not a team.

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100 Namibians

100 Namibians
What is your favourite local newspaper?

We asked


A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” Arthur Miller 1961

10 Reasons for Reading a Newspaper
My newspaper has never crashed, gone down, or flashed animated ads at me. 2. Anywhere I travel, my newspaper goes with me. I don’t need a laptop or a wireless connection or PDA. 3. I can read my newspaper while standing, eating, while riding a bus, but not while driving my car, which is just as well since I should be paying attention to the road. 4. If I read a story I like, I can tear it out and save it, and not have to pay to read it 30 days later. 5. I don’t have to sign in or customise, register or remember passwords to read my newspaper. And I often enjoy articles in my newspaper on topics I wouldn’t normally think I’d be interested in. 6. My newspaper has high-resolution pictures and type on large pages that load almost instantly, making it easy to browse and enjoy. 7. My newspaper is cheap, disposable and easy to replace. If it’s lost or stolen, it’s no big deal. 8. My newspaper is not made of unrecyclable toxic materials. 9. If my newspaper makes a mistake, the correction is posted with an explanation. It’s not sneakily applied to the original story after I’ve read it. 10. I can read my newspaper sitting outside on a nice sunny day, even if a breeze is blowing, because I know how to fold a newspaper.

11. 12.

The Namibian Die Republikein The New Era Informanté The Namibian Sun

60% 21% 4% 9% 6%

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team namibia members section

Innovative solutions…Proudly Namibia…Bokomo Namibia

asta is one of the staple foods in Namibia. With an increase in the demand for pasta products in the country, Bokomo Namibia credits its recent upsurge in growth to streamlining operations and boosting production power by erecting a pasta manufacturing plant at their site in Brakwater, located just outside Windhoek. The plant was officially opened in February by His Excellency President Hifikepunye Pohamba, but had commenced operations last year in October. Bokomo Namibia is also in the process of expanding its pasta operations with a second plant from Italy. Such growth by Bokomo Namibia is of economic value to the country, through the creation of employment, supplying of locally manufactured products to Namibian consumers, expansion of Namibia's local manufacturing base and an alignment to the country's vision 2030, assisting in industrialising Namibia. The management of Bokomo Namibia reported that the demand for milling capacity has increased so much that the Board of Directors of Bokomo Namibia has approved the purchase and installation of a new wheat flour mill from Switzerland - another plant investment that will grow the country's manufacturing industry and help ease unemployment. Pasta Perfecto… A Delicious discovery everyday
Pasta plant opened by His Excellency President Hifikepunye Pohamba


Bokomo Namibia, starting operations at the plant last year in October, launched its first locally-manufactured pasta brand to the Namibian consumer. Pasta Perfecto, a brand which seeks to share the heart and flavour of Namibia's own locally-produced pasta comes in two variants, Pasta Perfecto macaroni and the Pasta Perfecto elbow macaroni. "With this state-of-the-art technology and controlling the entire pasta-production line, starting with its essential ingredients, and following a quality-oriented philosophy, what better production plant could there possibly be where the pasta factory is completely integrated to give out a proudly Namibian product?" Natasja Pieterse, Marketing Manager, Bokomo Namibia said. "Pasta Perfecto is not just 'another pasta,' this durum-enriched pasta is the quintessence of proudly Namibian artistry, offering sublime quality at a reasonable price", she added. The brand comes in 500g, 1kg and 2,5kg packages. Bokomo's intriguing pasta, new to the Namibian market, has and will continue to impress any dinner table and make a statement about the one and only "Made in Namibia".

Proud to be Namibian!

Photograph: Leitago Narib



Getting eerie with Ras Sheehama
Consumer News: Who do you support in the World Cup? Ras Sheehama: I am supporting Africa. I am a realist but I have to support my African boys. CN: If you were a betting man, which team would you pick? RS: Brazil, I think they have the players and if you have the guns… you have the guns. CN: Who is your favorite artist to collaborate with? RS: Gal Level. I do already have a song with them. They are very easygoing. I am not just saying that because they are ladies (laughs). They are very easy going. CN: If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be? RS: Luciano, a Jamaican artist. CN: Whose music inspires you? RS: Bob Marley and Peter Tosh CN: There has been a lot of speculation around the death of Peter Tosh. Some say it was political, others say that he got involved with the wrong people. What is your take? RS: I think it was a political thing. The wrong people? If it was just the wrong people, why is everybody silent? They caught the guy who shot him, so they should have all of the info, No we would know by now. The Rastas would know- by the back door or the front door, we would know. No, it was a political thing otherwise we would know what happened. CN: Your court case for possession of marijuana is well known. Do you think if the court case was held today the outcome would be any different? RS: No, all governments are the same. All over. They just want to control. No government will make it legal. Even in Jamaica, you have 10,000 Rastas smoking... to

Top Namibian Rasta singer Ras Sheehama was born in 1966 in Onakayale village in Northern Namibia. The political pro-SWAPO stance of his father forced him into exile in 1979 to Angola and Zambia at the age of thirteen. It was here that he taught himself to play music. At fifteen, he felt a calling to the Rastafarian way of life and his love for reggae began. He developed his musical talent in Nigeria and returned to Namibia in 1990 to witness the first free elections in his home country - he brought huge experiences to Namibia.

put them all in jail is difficult. A lot of people smoke but hide it. In Namibia it will never be legal even though a lot of people are smoking it, but even if they may smoke, they hide it so all those people do not make a political impact. They hide. Nobody will ever come out and support it. It is just easier to talk. CN: Do you think attitudes toward smoking dagga have become more tolerant since that time? RS: It is more tolerant now. It is not the same as it was 15 years ago; People know the word weed now, it is not just called marijuana. The courts are becoming more tolerant. People who used to get jail time are now getting off with a warning. CN: Some people will say it is a drug, just like cocaine or heroin; what would you say to that? RS: Ok, yes, they are all drugs, but there are light drugs and there are heavy drugs. Cocaine can make you hallucinate. Cocaine is very addictive. There is no addiction to marijuana. CN: What do you have to say about Jackson Kaujeua? You are often paired with him as the two icons of Namibian music. He spent months in state hospital before his death. RS: It is really a shame. You are talking about a big man. A big guy like that! You are talking about the history of Namibian music here. If I was a rich man, he would not have died. Somebody somehow should have done something. Why wasn’t he taken from state hospital to a private clinic? Why didn’t anybody ask what he needs to get better? Nobody has really done anything. He should not have died. I listen now to the politician’s speeches, talking and talking, but they should have helped him when he was alive. I am not afraid to say it. Why should I be? The truth is the truth and they are people just like me, so why should I be afraid to say it? CN: It seems tragic that some people only become interested in an artist after they have passed. Their work is now sought after. Why is that?

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RS: Death scares people. When a guy passes onhe passes and everyone says ‘oh, I am so sorry’ but sorry is too late, they should have helped him when alive. It should be an issue when artists are living. Ask: How is this person living? What car is he driving? Does he have food to eat? Politicians should look at artists now. CN: You are known for using a live band. What is your take on young artists using playback during performances? RS: It is a shame because it is so popular now. I see it as daylight robbery. You can put a playback with your music, instruments and sing along, I even do that sometimes, but my playback does not have a voice, I sing. If you have the song and you just mime the lyrics. Outside the country nobody will stand for that. Namibia does not have a strong musical background. Some people going to shows just want to dance, just like the beat so you can get away with it, but it limits you- you need to be able to showcase your voice, it will be a shame. CN: What advice would you give an ‘up and coming’ young artist in Namibia? RS: I would say do it real, use your own voice. Don’t mime, even a child can do that- switch off the mic and pretend to be singing? No, real musicians make their own songs. Originality and dedication- if you are doing music do the real thing. Go back to your roots- Like Jackson Kaujeua – That’s what he did. My Reggae, Ok reggae is Jamaican but my reggae has African elements, like I use Oshiwambo melodies in my music. CN: You are known for the quality and potency of your lyrics, what inspires you when you write a song? RS: I travelled; I left Namibia when I was thirteen. I have seen war, poverty and politics. Inspiration comes from the people and the situation at the time. Movement of the people is what inspires me. I think I was born a songwriter, but it is the people that give me inspiration. CN: If you were not born a songwriter, if you were not a musician, what would you be doing? RS: Something artistic, I would not be a politician or a minister. I am an artistic person. CN: Has Barack Obama lived up to your expectations? RS: Yes. A Black man as president of the United States. That is something. Look, laws are written by a lot of people. He has to do things gradually, change things slowly, he has the House (of Representatives) to address, they all have to agree. It is difficult. So far so good for Obama. The world needed change, America needed a change. CN: Are you a vegetarian? RS: I am a lacto-vegetarian. I eat fish also. CN: Is it hard to be a vegetarian in Namibia? RS: It is not easy to sustain that diet. Namibia is a dry land, you cannot just grow your fruits and vegetables, and it is all coming from South Africa. It is not easy, like if we all had backyard gardens it would be different. It is expensive; even I want to order a salad out it will be fifty dollars.

“I travelled; I left

Namibia when I was thirteen. I have seen war, poverty and politics.”


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By Staff Reporter

The Namibian rugby team lifted its image out of the continued controversy that hogs the union when they put in a fantastic display at the recently-concluded IRB Nations Cup held in Bucharest, Romania.
Despite the financial troubles and a lawsuit that hangs over the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU), the national team proved that they can instead do an outstanding job on the field, which in essence put the current problems within the sport at bay, at least for now. The Namibians, as first-timer at the competition, started their campaign on a high note when they surprisingly ousted the hosts Romania 22-17, followed by another incredible performance when they pipped Scotland A via a close 23-20 victory. A few days ahead of the tournament, no one thought that the Namibian side will make it past the first round, but the men coached by Johan Diergaardt and with the industrious flanker Jacques Burger serving as the skipper, the Welwitschias managed to cause some unexpected damage onto their opponents. Scotland A were also former champions of the competition, but their reputation at the event was dented by the Namibians who ran in tries which were mostly created from their formidable pack of forwards. Having made their debut last year, Scotland A went into the tournament with a 100% winning record. With




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an average of 24 years and 10 months the Scots were the second youngest team after the Jaguars (Argentina), nearly a year younger on average. There were four players uncapped at ‘A’ level in the starting line-up - Alex Blair, Jack Cuthbert, Colin Shaw and Steven Turnbull - and a further three in Chris Fusaro, Fraser McKenzie and Bryan Rennie on the bench. Namibia went in with the tried-and-tested and some of the players who stood out in that match included players such as Jacky Bock, the two De La Harpe brothers, Sergio and Darryl, while Piet van Zyl, Llewellyn Winkler and the speedy full-back Chrysander Botha were also in the mix. Most of the Namibian players also competed in the Vodacom Cup in which they played matches against South African Provinces, matches which gave them a valuable experience and a sense of urgency in their play. From the start, both Burger and scrumhalf, Jantjies thought that Namibia had a good chance of winning the tournament, but for different reasons, the two men are the main cogs in the Namibian engine. Burger, a battle-hardened Saracen open-side leading from the front and the slick and elusive Jantjies orchestrating the Namibian back division, the side managed to put in epic performances in their opening matches, giving them a shot for the final. For Burger, who is now only 27 years of age, there had never been any doubt that Namibia had entered the tournament in order to win it. In one of the interviews at the event on whether he thought Namibia would make it that far, he said: “This is why we play. Otherwise we would not be here. However, once we won the first match we knew that we could win it. There is the difference between wanting it and knowing it and this is what happened after the match against

“I wanted to see their eyes, to understand whether they had inside them that desire to go the extra mile.”
Romania, the first time we beat them,” Burger said. “That’s what gave us the strength to withstand the waves of Scottish attacks in the last couple of minutes, when they kept coming at us time and again. It was incredibly difficult but our belief and a bit of luck saw us through. Every time the game stopped I gathered the guys around me. I wanted to see their eyes, to understand whether they had inside them that desire to go the extra mile. “I do not see myself as your archetypal captain. I would rather do things than talk. I like to lead from the front and set the standard through my work ethic. You can have all the talent in the world but if you don’t work hard enough you will never get what you want. This is where the difference is made, basically wanting it a bit more than your opponent. When we pray before the game we never pray to win. We thank God for giving us the talent and pray that we will leave the field unscathed at the end.” The Namibian team was due to play against Georgia in their next match which was scheduled for June 20, while Italy A was due to play Romania in the second match, with Argentina’s Jaguars having a date with Scotland A. The winner of the tournament had to be determined on points, with 4 points for a win, 2 for a draw, while 4 or more tries can translate into a point. If a team loses by 7 points or less, they also get a point for that. By the time of writing this report, the champion had to be crowned on June 20, the day that all six teams competed. Italy A are the only team to have played in every IRB Nations Cup tournament. They finished second in 2006 and in 2009, fifth in 2007 and fourth in 2008. They are also the top points scorers overall with 251. The Jaguars of Argentina won the tournament in 2006 and finished second in 2007 behind the Emerging Springboks. They are also the top try scorers. The Georgians finished third in 2007 and second in 2008 behind emerging South Africa.

Source material and photos from

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