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Offbeat 27 October 2016

Time is a form of geography. We move from place to place, with only the illusion that a physical location keeps us in the same place. But time changes the places we find ourselves in, and the greater the distance in time, the more different the place. Yesterday is different from today. Last year is different from this year.
I started writing these columns over eleven years ago. The world has changed beyond recognition. The streets and places are mostly still here, they look more or less the same, but they are different.
In the last two weeks, a neighbourhood watch has been set up in my street. It has changed the reality of the place. I have lived in quiet isolation, with occasional trips to the pub, to see people. I don’t see many people, so sometimes I need a kind of reality check and the grounding of knowing that there are others out there, that there is more to the physical world than just the sound of vehicles outside.
The street watch brings a different kind of reality now. I hear of cars being broken into, an attempt at a violent theft of a laptop, a home invasion by a gang of thugs. There is a clear socio-economic reason to the thing. Drought forces people from the rural areas to come to the city. The new arrivals are absorbed by the support network of extended families and friends, but limited resource get stretched and people on the margins have to shift in the direction of crime. Reality can be an ugly thing.
I had relied on the street as my personal utopia. Now maintenance of that utopia relies on alertness backed by paranoia. There are hundreds of stories and films about this topic. They are all classified as dystopian in the list of genre fiction.
What it also brings home to me is the massive level of connection we have now. The street watch runs on Whatsapp. The group has more than 200 members as far as I can tell. I didn’t know there were so many people living on the street. It’s only a couple of hundred meters from end to end. I am now connected to all those people by a shared interest in the health of our residency.
Linked in is difficult to describe. I hope that the business network I have there leads to more business. I don’t know that it will. More and more it begins to resemble Facebook.
Facebook makes my life almost impossible. It resembles the gossip that punctuates an office, but gossip only requires ears. Facebook demand that I open it every now and then to see what people are saying and to share stuff. In my case, it is not just a question of pressing like. I am verbose, or at least my fingers are, so I spend a fair amount of time writing down thoughts. Those thoughts interrupt other thoughts, like work, and so the day stretches out. I have it almost under control now, with evenings and early mornings.
Generally, social connectedness fragments everything. Once upon a time I waas the only one in the pub using a mobile, and on very rare occasions, someone would bring a laptop in, at which the whole place would gawk. Now everyone seems to sit at the bar, in a row, using phones. Sometimes groups form to chat, but these are far fewer now.
The social geography of the world has changed, almost beyond recognition.
The mental geography has changed as well. I started writing these columns because I needed to discipline myself to think about something, anything, at least once a week. I understood that I ran the risk of slipping into mental torpor and ennui by accepting boredom.
Today boredom is under threat. There is always at least one thing that claims my attention, but usually three or four things, driven by the web.
As I scan the posts on Facebook, leading off to articles, I never have empty spaces in my mind.
Those empty spaces are important because they can be filled with thoughts that I put together for myself. I have the sense that I am not thinking enough now, just responding to the thoughts of others.
Boredom is important but the world continues to change. Connectedness is important, but too much is too much.

About The Author


Today the Typesetter is a position at a newspaper that is mostly outdated since lead typesetting disappeared about fifty years ago. It is however a convenient term to indicate a person that is responsible for the technical refinement of publishing including web publishing. The Typesetter does not contribute to editorial content but makes sure that all elements are where they belong. - Ed.

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.