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How far is too far?

Once again, technology has allowed us a platform where points can be argued without us having to unravel from the cocoon of blankets formed as protection from the cold. Hurray, technology (for now)! However, it seems like we humans may still need a little more help regarding what we allow as a part of our culture.

Recently, in a whatsapp chat group, the issue of rape reared its head in the form of a joke. This was a demostrational drawing, giving instructions on how a man should defend himself if ever a ‘female rapist’ should try to steal his ‘precious seed’.
Some of us found it funny – some, not so much – and some (i.e. me) were left feeling rather confused at how to react. I could not tell whose side the joke seemed to be rooting for. This put me in the perfect position for observation when the ‘Why this rape joke is offensive’ debate ensued.
“I agree that it seems offensive, but…”
One side of the argument stated that offence and/or shock value of this image was used as a tool for awareness. This is true for many social issue campaigns that have been crafted throughout our generation. For example, an anti-prejudice campaign shows four babies in a nursery. Three of the babies are dressed in diapers but one baby (who appears to be hispanic) is dressed in domestic worker uniform. There is another one, from the same campaign, with a black baby dressed in contracter’s uniform. At the top left corner of each advertisement, there is a caption that reads “Your skin colour shouldn’t dictate your future”.
In a nutshell, this side argued that the material forwarded to the group actually forces the recipient to think twice about the issue, seeing it in a new light, rather than just brushing it off. It also awakens the public to rarely spoken issues such as male sexual harassment.
“It does not seem offensive; it is offensive.”
On the other side sat Samantha, whose nimble fingers jabbed at her touch screen to string together some powerful points. The point was that the image actually trivialised the issue by turning it into a joke. Not just any joke; one that perpetuates rape culture.
The thing about the image is that it involved the man in defence grabbing the woman’s breasts, with captions instructing him to kick her ‘right in the front butt’. The image did not contain any other captions about the seriousness of victimisation and sexual harrassment. If anything, the man in defence seemed to be the one enjoying it (to me, anyway). Ultimately, all of us could not help but agree with Samantha’s point. For a serious issue such as this, if there was any intention to teach, this intention took a detour and it never came back.
Sometimes we can get so lost in fast and sinister humour that it takes time to recognise when something is just not okay. With the internet and social media making it easy for anything to go viral, where do we draw the line at what we, or the public should find funny? How far is too far and (more importantly) if things are to be done in good taste, what must be done?
Sam made a good point; if someone had not interjected, the conversation most likely would have continued down the road of why a white boy is wearing a loin cloth. It is likely that nothing would have been said about the harmful nature of the joke.
There is, indeed a time for meaningless humour, and we can all laugh as much as we want, so long as it is not harmful. And if it is a serious issue that our society struggles with, spreading it around for laughs is really not the way forward. When something serious in our culture is being expressed so lightly, we should be able to see it, recognise it and nip it right in the bud before it flourishes.

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.