Musings of an old Tate

Just a few thoughts that are rambling around:

Will the Windhoek Hilton be finished before I turn 70? (Hint: I’m close but not that close.)

Why do I get the feeling that the GIPF scandal is a lot bigger than we think it is?

What is going on with agricultural land prices? Farms cost in the millions of Namibian Dollars. How can anyone just selling cattle and sheep and who just bought a commercial farm make a living? The bond payments alone are likely to leave only a few cents left to operate the enterprise. I know in some circles it is popular to blame the Affirmative Action farmers for driving up land prices. I find it difficult to believe that a fifteen hundred or so people who over the last twenty years have been using the AALS programme to buy a farm are the cause of the extreme rise of prices. Consider, the Omeya development south of Windhoek has close to 400 lots for sale at an average close to N$ 1 million apiece. Not a bad use of the less than 300 hectares of the commercial farm where the development is located. My hunch is that there’s a lot more to the high cost of commercial farm land than a few emerging farmers who qualified for a loan from Agribank. It sure would be fun to find out ....

The main reason I shop at the Spar in Maerua Mall is the produce section filled with goods from Namibian farmers. Buy Namibian, support our local food producers.

Watching the unrest and discontent in North Africa and the Middle East makes me realize why we have TIPEEG. The main cause of the demonstrations is years of chronic and high unemployment. These societies have generally produced a lot of skilled graduates who can’t find work. They have been the dry tinder just waiting for a spark. Our official unemployment rate is over 50% of the work force. Last year the Namibian newspaper interviewed a few of the men who sit by the road looking for a job. One of these men was in his mid 30s, had some education, but in 20 years of Independence had never had a job. You wonder what goes through his mind while he waits by the road with his stomach roiling in hunger.

If you want to see what gets the people running the City of Windhoek excited when they talk about needing more land, just fire up Google Earth. Go to a view of slightly to the west of Otjumuise, behind the old Ramatex buildings. (The place is about 22° 33” 70’ S and 17° 00” 43’ E, or just to the west of Dusseldorf St.and south of Frankfurt St.) Down on the left there is a button to click for historical images. When you click the button a slider will appear and the first archived image from 2004 fills the window. Gradually move the slider to the right year by year. Pay attention to what you see when you reach the image of 31 January 2008. Compare it with the image two years later from 31 January 2010. With the slider you can switch back and forth between the two images. This is urbanisation, and it probably keeps a lot of people at the City of Windhoek administration up at night. Urban growth will be a big issue for us all in the coming decades.

Anyone wondering about the impact the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant will have on the uranium mines that are blooming in the Erongo Region?