Shame on you, Economist!
Ref: Article “Pauper to Owner” written by Yvonne Amukwaya
With reference to the above article dated 30th November 2012 posted on the internet and under my name Jennifer Carvill. I have had on occasion in the past to be extremely upset by local journalists writing inaccurately and without integrity. It was such a shock to read that Mr. Moses Helao had been kicked around the workshop at Karakulia which infers that I, the English lady, being the owner at the time, was the culprit. Mr Helao and I have a great respect for each other and have always worked well together.
Mr. Moses Helao corrected the first draft of the interview on the 22nd November, 2012 forwarding same to Ms Amukwaya. In this e-mail first paragraph he writes “my colleagues sometimes they can kick me as well” [unfortunate phrase nevertheless said]. In the 2nd paragraph he praises me as his employer who assisted in purchasing homes for the employees of Karakulia. [Copy of e-mail sent to Sub-editor]
The draft that Ms Amukwaya sent to Mr Helao was headed “Never eat seeds, wait for the fruits”. In this article she does not mention the kicking she refers to what Mr Helao says in the interview and I quote. “When I first started working for the Company I was treated like a mouse and the more experienced employee’s would bully me. Also in this draft sent to Mr Helao there is no mention of Karakulia failing financially twice. [Copy of draft sent to Sub-editor]
In the final “interview” which is posted on the internet it says in the first paragraph and I quote “Karakulia Weavers had to close their doors in the past. This happened twice.” In the fourth paragraph “the second owner started experiencing the same financial problems….” Incorrect and why was this published in your newspaper and not the draft sent to Mr Helao written by Ms Amukwaya?
These are the facts; I founded Karakulia, Swakopmund which I ran successfully for 28 years. I sold Karakulia in 2006 which was a good small business with local and overseas markets which I built up over the years. Karakulia did not close down due to lack of money while I owned it. In fact it was very healthy when I sold it. If at that time I could have sold it to Mr. Helao I would have done so. Unfortunately he was not ready then to run the business which is a fact he would not hesitate admitting to.
In the article Ms Amukwaya also reports Mr Helao was at first not successful in procuring a loan. This is where I stepped in and wrote a motivational letter to The Development Bank of Namibia and he was granted a substantial loan.
Not only is your article defamatory and mars my character it also is a bad reflection on Mr Helao since long standing customers of Karakulia worldwide who know me may feel they can no longer support him due to the false insinuations in the article posted on the internet.
Reporters need to understand the harm caused and its subsequent consequences of writing articles which have not been verified. They should also be made to realize making one person look bad to make another look good will generally backfire especially when the report is not based on truth.
This same article is also posted under a Kenyan site.
I trust then that this communication clarifies the situation on the misreporting. I expect a retraction and apology from The Economist by return mail.
J.M. Carvill [Mrs]
Dear Mrs Carvill, over many years I had occasion to deal with you and have always had the greatest respect for what you achieved with Karakulia. The article we published was reported in good faith. At the Development Bank awards, Mr Helao was one of the awarded achievers, an event which I personally attended and an achievement for which I also have a high regard. If our story caused you or reputation any harm, we apologize. – Editor.