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Offbeat 19 June 2015

Scorpions are not keen on winter. As the temperature drops, I regularly find them traipsing into the house. I suppose a roof and walls makes the indoor climate a more moderate proposition for them, but I am very glad they haven’t become familiar with the idea that, by night, I run a heater in my bedroom.

Normally one of the animals finds them. The cat reacts with a hiss. The dog goes all weird. Then I get slightly shuddery. My immediate response is to grab a glass, put it over the creature and dump it outside, after taking a long look at the thing. I feel a bit of pity whenever I do this: it’s cold outside.
Scorpions are supposed to be rudimentary creatures, so I find myself wondering how it is they know to try and come inside in winter? Do they have a broader awareness of their surroundings, and understand that there is somewhere warmer, likely more comfortable? Or is it a migratory instinct, like the birds that head north or south when the temperature drops?
I have a strange relationship with scorpions. I know I am supposed to abhor them. Most people see them as a terrifying sting on an alien looking body, with two scary pincers at the front end, if the sting isn’t enough. I see them that way as well. But there is another side.
Once upon a time, more than four decades ago, as I was playing, my mother came into my room, and after a few seconds told me to ‘look over there and sit dead still’. She then brushed something off my lap, which turned out to be a scorpion.
I learned, from that incident, that the scorpion is not always aggressive: if you don’t threaten them, they won’t threaten you, and you can coexist. The scorpion became totemic to me on the basis of that incident.
I forgot about that for quite a while until, in my late teens, I killed a scorpion at a braai, stepped on it to prove my testosterone-fueled manhood. It wasn’t a smart thing to do. The guilt welled up immediately. Now I choose safe removal with a glass rather than the broom, shoe or bug spray.
Aside from the moment that I coexisted with the scorpion as a child, I can also remind myself that they are concerned parents that carry their young on their backs. The same applies to spiders, though I have to brush and vacuum them from time to time to stop the house from developing terminal cobwebs.
Scorpions don’t have the luck of other creatures. Bats, once an icon of horror are being rehabilitated by Facebook. On my feeds, baby bats regularly show up, wrapped up and being fed from bottles. They inevitably have, what look to me very much like, contented smiles. Scorpions are challenged in the ‘cute puppy smile’ department. But as they care for their young, I have to assume that they experience contentment and love.
Humanity has a way of evolving in unexpected ways. Once upon a time, creatures other than humans were things. Now, it feels as if, by hundreds of thousands of examples, and the common consent of social media likes, creatures are being recognised as having emotions. It’s a far cry from the old religious concept that nature is there to be used without the recognition that creatures have feelings as well.
It’s a path to some kind of spirituality. Unfortunately it also leads me to the idea of being a vegetarian, and I don’t feel ready for that by a long shot. I will somehow have to deal with the idea that whenever I cook meat I am about to eat something’s dearly beloved mother, father or sibling.
The idea that others have emotions is, in a sense, still revolutionary. It might even lead to the concept that humans that appear different, might have feelings and souls, and be valued on that basis as well.
Humans have developed remarkable partitions in their thinking. Mostly, I think, similarity and proximity, determine the value of life. Difference and distance make it easy to dismiss the value.
Perhaps I should not be naïve and expect this to take root too fast. But perhaps there is cause to reevaluate the scorpion, and understand that its life should be valued.

About The Author

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.