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“If only I had my glasses before I sat for the final exams!”

“If only I had my glasses before I sat for the final exams!”

An optometrist and a life insurer are pooling their resources to bring eye care to a large number of learners at designated schools. Announcing the project, Sanlam said it will employ the expertise of Torga Optical to test learners for eyesight deviation, and then help supply them with proper spectacles.

The Corporate Social Investment partnership will run the project under the Sanlam Vision for Change banner.

The partners described the project as more than a single solution for learners with eyesight problems, it is also intended to improve their ability to read and to learn. When a child with a critical need is identified through regular, scheduled clinics, he or she will be provided with prescription glasses.

The eye doctors at Torga Optical said that research has shows that 80% of children across Africa who struggle to learn, are impaired by treatable vision problems.

The first schools, Jan Jonker Afrikaner, Hage G Geingob and Windhoek High, were visited last week by optometrist Celeste van der Merwe as part of a pilot project to established the modus operandi of the larger Vision for Change project.

Sanlam intends to make the eye clinics an annual event with their General Manager, Public and Corporate Support, Evans Simataa stating, “As a responsible corporate citizen, Sanlam is committed to making a difference in the lives of everyday Namibians. While this is the first of its kind for Sanlam, we hope to carry on with this project for as long as possible.”

For the duration of an eye clinic, Torga Optical visits each school for two days with a mobile testing station. Learners with deficient eyesight are given a redeemable voucher which they can take to Torga Optical in Windhoek for further testing and the supply of a pair of glasses.

“We understand there is a great need for this kind of service and many parents and guardians can not afford it often leaving their children with even worse eyesight and learning difficulties,” said Simataa.

Torga Optical owner, Jana Kotze said they were more than happy to join Sanlam on this project as they too are committed to assisting the less fortunate and want to help make it easier for Namibian children to learn.



About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and is working on her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). She believes education is the greatest equalizer. She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.

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.