A revolution is coming
Imagine everyone, and by that I mean the proletariat, has become so g*tvol of our capitalist system that they are going to start to revolt. I like to think that this is the stuff of nightmares for the elite.
I can just imagine somewhere in the distant future, one hot summers day on the lush green lawn of Zoo Park, dead centre in the CBD, the poor disenfranchised population of this country, spontaneously gathering together, armed not with pangas and knobkieries but a sharp mind that knows where to hit the hardest, – the soft bloated belly of big government. Obviously not everyone operates from a higher level of consciousness so do expect overturned luxury cars, looting, and threatening knobkieries, but this time not accompanied with the usual joyful protest song but blood-curling shouts of anger.
We are already starting to cook up this potjie recipe for a revolution. Here are the basic ingredients.
Big government: Who knows, maybe the new constitutional amendments will deliver a better, although bigger, more efficient government. I like to think of it as a big burly rugby forward that can pass the ball of wealth, trickling down to the bottom for a majestic try. I would prefer this rather than a couch potato patrimonial government, not sitting in the stands but at home siphoning from the rich parents. But with the way this whole affair was done clandestinely under the cover of a democratic pretence, just smacks of bad things to come. House prices: There has been such a hullabaloo about the meteoric rise of house prices. Hot air escaping mouths when everyone keeps missing the point. If you approach development from a top down perspective, what are you going to get? A revolution. Revolutions come in many forms, some to preserve the status qou, others to show how we can turn the whole pyramid upside down.
Cost of living and inflation: The postcard funfair image of sun-filled jacaranda-lined streets in Windhoek gives an illusion of all is well. But the cost of living is rising by the day, and the way I perceive living conditions, inequality is just getting bigger and bigger. A small minority at the top enjoy all the fruits while 90% of the population has to grovel, and at least 25% living below the poverty line.
Water scarcity: Living in Windhoek, I too feel secure from whatever is going on out there. Yet the reality is that land in Windhoek is limited, water is limited, and the population just keeps growing. Gradually it appears there are just enough resources for a select few. But /Ae//Gams is going to sprout in anger. We are a leading country in the world of water reclamation and management but somehow we managed to build the Bank of Namibia on a hot spring. I am told there are plans to get water from the Okavango River or desalinate it from the ocean but then I learn these ideas are not new, in fact they are more than a century old. Lüderitz had a desalination plant and the whole reason for the existence of the Caprivi Zipfel is to have access to the Okavango, Kwando and Zambezi rivers. So much for the propaganda that claims these ideas are all new. On to the next ingredient of this revolution delicacy. FNB Namibia’s Senior Researcher Namene Kalili has issued a report in which the developments from the City of Windhoek’s property auction held on 16 October 2014 are taken under the spotlight. “Upset prices in Windhoek have shown a worrying trend, increasing by 53% pa in 2012, 33% in 2013 and 30% in 2014. This has effectively increased minimum price from N$135 per square meter back in July 2010 to a whopping N$850 per square meter, in an economy with the second highest property inflation” How many people can afford a half a million dollar house in this country? I think very few. And how many can afford double that? I think less than 10%. Who is to blame? The Ministry of Finance? The City of Windhoek? Or the banks? Within those institutions’ hallways the practical solution lies. Housing and the cost of housing are such serious issues, I think they will top the A la Carte menu of the Revolution.