Who benefits from resources?
It is time to take stock of who is really benefiting from the country’s natural resources and whether the people who originally lived in or adjacent to protected areas, are benefiting. This was the view expressed by Prime Minister Nahas Angula at the launch of the second part of the documentary; Born in Etosha – The Hidden Stories.
Angula added that mines which operate in the protected areas, do not benefit locals but instead benefit people in far away countries where the mining companies come from.
“We should ask the question: are all Namibians benefiting from Etosha and are the people who originally lived there, benefiting? That we as Africans are preserving natural resources for other people is troublesome. What explanation will we have for our children 50 years from now when these resources are depleted and the mines leave,” he questioned.
On his part, Mark Dawe, president of the Chamber of Mines, said the chamber backed the making of the film financially in an effort to give back to the environment.
“Yes, mines are in the process of destroying the environment and so we are trying to give back. The Chamber of Mines is pushing the agenda that mines must give back to the environment. We recently gave N$1.7 million to a lion conservation project in the south-west of Etosha. At our next meeting, I will push that we (mining industry) invest more into the environment,” Dawe said.
The Etosha National Park receives 150 000 visitors every year and is known for its diverse wildlife and desert landscapes. The park celebrated its centenary in 2007. Born in Etosha – The Hidden Stories tells the story of the protected area from a human angle. In the first part of the documentary which was launched in 2010, the history of Etosha is brought to life through archive footage, interviews, re-enactments and animation. Part 1 of the documentary ends in 1907 when Etosha was proclaimed as the biggest game reserve in the world.
The second part of the film focuses on the last 100 years of Etosha as a game park. It tells the stories of the original inhabitants of Etosha – the Hai //om, poachers, farmers and game guards. It also focuses on the Apartheid era when the park was closed off to its original habitants as well as on the struggle for independence. The second part ends with a look at the future of the park.
“With this film, we wanted to do something different, something very valuable. The film is aimed at inspiring people and promoting the real resource of the park which is its people. That is why we emphasise oral tradition and culture,” said Andrew Botelle, the co-director of the film.