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Offbeat 05 September 2014

The term ‘retail therapy’ is probably just a euphemism for self-gratification by spending money. But ultimately it is nor relaxing. The final truth, the ugly reality can be found stressing in the cashier’s queue. Queues never move fast enough, and there is always the possibility that there will be an encounter with someone chewing gum with an open mouth ahead.

I have been to Nirvana. It costs major amounts of money, and the woman behind the counter chews gum and shakes her booty in time to ersatz hits, canned by mediocre artists, and piped through tinny speakers in an attempt to pacify me, and make me happy enough to spend money without giving it a second thought.
The woman behind the counter, the one who chews gum with her mouth open, looks at me with challenge in her eyes. She dares me to challenge the counter-cultural cool, the juvenile rebellion that prompts her to chew the minty flavoured cud.
I remember the humiliation that teachers inflicted on me the few times I experimented with gum. “Take it out of your mouth. Put it in my hand.”
There was something awful about that, having to put a spitty piece of yuck into the hands of another. As I look at the woman, my eyes water and I have to suppress a sneer. A curling lip might be construed as racism, not the personal contempt that I feel. Siesa, spoeg uit? I can’t bring myself to accept the juvenile cashier’s saliva saturated leavings, to order her to put it in my hand then chuck it in the rubbish. I wish I had a tissue though.
I buy my own daughter gum because kids have to do what kids have to do, but I tell her not to do it in public, and never with her mouth open. I hope she gets over it soon. I don’t want her to be absorbed into the uncouth Nirvana.
Nirvana is a place where the individualism of chewing artificially flavoured resin is accepted with some kind of misguided benevolence. Nirvana is a bit of a nightmare. I wonder what it is like in Singapore, where the sale and distribution of gum is prohibited. What is the name for the place which is one step better than Nirvana?
I hate shopping. And the idea of retail therapy was probably devised by some real life counterpart of Hannibal Lecter.
Shopping has become something competitive. The ability to buy more, buy for less, and buy better, over and above your fellow man, or woman, has become a prized ability. And it’s not just status goods either. Things like food bargains bring a wicked gleam to the eye of a competitive shopper. The ability to tell where a bargain is being offered, is not just an act of kindliness: it becomes gleeful one-upmanship.
The status of the store counts as well. Choice of a shop with good décor seems to be worth a mention, a way to establish class by association. A higher price, on an item which could be obtained cheaper, elsewhere, also seems to be a mark of distinction as well. And in this flighty world of trends and fashions, newness seems to be important: quality doesn’t seem to count for much.
Is it really therapy? Not really. The term ‘retail therapy’ is probably just a euphemism for self-gratification by spending money. But ultimately it is nor relaxing. The final truth, the ugly reality can be found stressing in the cashier’s queue. Queues never move fast enough, and there is always the possibility that there will be an encounter with someone chewing gum with an open mouth ahead.
And the longer the queue takes the more chance there is of stressing about the existential angst and the wince that lie ahead when the gum-munching horror tells you the total and asks you for your card.
What’s the point of therapy, or self gratification, which creates stress
I need to re-evaluate myself. I have fallen prey to this kind of thinking as well. I have justified my purchases to others, sometimes, a sign that I am buying to impress, not buying entirely on the basis of needing some kind of sustenance, be it physical or aesthetic or mental.
By being absorbed into this aspect of Nirvana, I become a cog in the machine that also benevolently and unblinkingly accepts the nauseating ‘cool’ of cashiers who chew gum with open mouths, and find more interest in shaking their booties than getting the transaction completed.
I can’t entirely expect to escape component status in the Nirvana machine, but I would be happier if the queues moved faster and didn’t end with chewing gum.

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.