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Offbeat – 02 February 2012

I are not a Boertjie, hoor jy, but at that moment a whole lot of very short, useful three and four letter Afrikaans words jumped into my mind, and I had a moment when I needed to work really hard to stop them from running out of my mouth.

Last week, I was sitting amongst a bunch of expats (that’s foreign people who live in Namibia, to all you Namibian brothers and sisters). The topic of discussion was an outing for the young ones. One member of the group raised her fears about scorpions and snakes.
My first reaction was to agree with her. Children are clumsy, and there is no telling what damage they could do if they stepped on one of these fragile creatures.
After about half of a short second the cogwheels started spinning, and I got angry as I realised that the person had something against scorpions and snakes. What, I asked myself, is the problem with our scorpions and snakes? Do they have a better class of creepy crawly where she comes from? I for one believe that our snakes and scorpions are quite classy, even dignified, and nobody should deny their worthiness.
Finally, the penny dropped and I jumped to the defense of Namibia. “Millions of Namibians,” I told the gathering in a loud voice, “have grown up with snakes and scorpions around them, and have not been bitten.”
I went on to mention lions, jackals and baboons, but didn’t get to porcupines. They must have thought I was joking, because they didn’t grow up in the old days before those nasty housing developments chased away the animals and messed up our wonderful playground with lousy eendrag-maak-mag Lego-block architecture and destyds-se-Sarie-se-décor with a copper relief of ‘Praying Hands’ and crochet doilies thrown in for that extra touch of classless sophistication.
Back to the story, and my irritation.
I are not a Boertjie, hoor jy, but at that moment a whole lot of very short , useful three and four letter Afrikaans words jumped into my mind, and I had a moment when I needed to work really hard to stop them from running out of my mouth.
In a way, I have to be understanding. When they were kids, those poor foreigners didn’t get told to stay out of the veld at the back of Klein Windhoek for a couple of days until the lion two farms over from the farm on the other side of the kopje moved on. (1975, 1977 and 1978 if I remember right.) They didn’t feed Marmite sandwiches to the zebras at Tintenpalast. In their deprived childhoods, they never had shongololos and koringkrieks to play with, not even those nice green snakes with the fangs far back in their mouths.
Being foreign, they  probably never sang that wonderful hymn with the line ‘all creatures great and small’. From what I can see of them, they probably think that pesticide is a design for living.
One of the roots of being a good Namibian is respect for the balance of nature. You don’t kill it unless you intend to eat it or, like a mosquito, it is trying to eat you. Scorpions and snakes don’t make good eating, and they don’t try to harm you unless you frighten them or step on them, so watch where you put your feet, and tell your kids the same.
If you see a snake, either stand still until it goes away, or get a broom and help it make up its mind by sweeping it out of the house. Also remember to call the dogs in.
If you see a scorpion, don’t jump on a piece of furniture and scream. Calmly put a glass over it, slide some card under it, then pick it up and take a good look. It’s an amazing piece of work, and like that lovely hymn, and like St. Francis of Assisi pointed out, “The Lord God made them all.”
When you have finished looking, put it outside. Then, and only then, is it appropriate to jump on the chair and squeal like fingers on glass.
There are antiseptic places, where there is no nature, possibly in parts of Europe. If nature is a problem, Namibia is not the right place for you. You might also want to stay away from New York, where they have rats the size of small dogs, cockroaches the size of a computer mouse, and monsters the size of skyscrapers if Hollywood is to be believed.
Fear of nature is not suited to Namibia. Spreading the attitude is a form of cultural colonialism. People pay huge amounts of money to see it, so the fear and bug spray make no sense.

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.