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Film Review – Authenticized

Director: Marijn Kraak, Reimer van Tuinen and Karel Poortman
Screenplay: Marijn Kraak, Reimer van Tuinen and Karel Poortman
Cast: Tjinezuma Kavari, Tony Figueira, Ted Scott and Vickson Hangula
Genre: Documentary
Ratings: ****

The documentary Authenticized premiered at the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre this week Wednesday. It is a cinematic attempt to capture the essence of the dynamics that surround people in transition from their culturally-grounded traditional lives to the fringes of modern society. Authenticized is about how the ovaHimba community is slowly forfeiting its cultural identity and how they are desperately trying to cling to it.
This documentary interviews a range of divergent people from tour guides, to photographers, lawyers, tourists and the local community. The documentary shows how the ovaHimba community lives off the money they get from being photographed and filmed and how they are exploited by some filmmakers and photographers. It also emphasises the fact that the ovaHimbas are just putting up a traditional act for the tourists and when these are gone, they live a more modern and western lifestyle.
The ovaHimba people claim in the documentary that sometimes filmmakers and photographers promise to pay them but they do not and therefore there should be a law against this or all filmmakers and photographers should get papers form the Film Commission or government. They also argue that there should be a fixed prize. Many Europeans are very interested in the ovaHimba culture and find them exotic and beautiful, and therefore they want to capture them in their natural environment before they get westernised. However, exactly this sentiment of being captured in a time capsule, does not sit too well with many of the younger ovaHimba themselves.

The documentary is well-directed and produced as it tackles every angle. Widely different views come from the locals who are complaining that most of the ovaHimba are faking it just to get money out of the tourists, from the tourists who just marvel at this unique tribe and from the photographers and filmmakers who want to make money out of them commercially.
There are parts of this documentary that are disturbing to me.
For instance, there was a photographer that I though had not such good intentions while taking pictures of the young girls, but maybe I am just paranoid. The fact that the local people are building a cultural village, where an ovaHimba family comes to live for a week and the tourists can come ogle them and see how they live, implicitly indicates a certain type of endorsement coming from the ovaHimba themselves. This does not sit well with me, it reminds me of the stories I have heard and read of Saartjie Baartman, the Khoikhoi woman who was exhibited as a freak show attraction in the 19th century in Europe. This is not cool at all.
The best advice in the documentary was from one of the tour guides who said to preserve the ovaHimba culture and to stop them from being exploited is to designate specific villages that are being exposed to tourists, filmmakers and photographers and to leave the other villages in peace to live the traditional way, or whatever way they prefer. In my opinion, the ovaHimba people should earn whatever they can from the tourist industry, and just try to live their normal lives.
 But, essentially, they have to decide what they regard as normal life. This film puts this issue squarely under the spot light.

About The Author

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

Promotion

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.