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Rich and poor - Inequality in Namibia | DW Documentary

Sep 10, 2023
Namibia, a country of great beauty that flows from South Africa to the northwest,


in land and natural resources that is twice the size of Germany. Namibia's population is only 2.5 million people, but the majority of Namibians live in extreme poverty. The former German colony has one of the largest income gaps in the world. world a white minority descendants of the colonizers of German South West Africa still own most of Namibia's assets the scars left by the brutality of the German colonial regime run deep between 1904 and 1908 Germany carried out the first genocide of the 20th century year more of 80,000 Herrero and Nama were systematically murdered by German soldiers Namibia only gained independence from South Africa in 1990.
rich and poor   inequality in namibia dw documentary
Today, if Namibians see anything of the world generated by their country's natural resources, protests against the country's colonial legacy are frequent for workers. protests against foreign investors we don't even know if Namibia belongs to Namibia belongs to China and secret deals with North Korea have come to light $29 million transferred from Namibia to Pyongyang big game hunting is threatened in 2022 the number of rhinos poached in Namibia almost doubled the value of Moreno. It is worth more dead than alive. The city of Suar Kobund is located on the edge of the desert on the Atlantic coast. It does not look like a typical African city with its neo-baroque buildings, German street names and spiked helmets.
rich and poor   inequality in namibia dw documentary

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It is like a small Germany. In Africa, they are all old German style, so of the old buildings in the city they try to keep the similar style to create a nice and equal atmosphere in the city. Sylvia, clear and stupid, is of German origin, she has lived in her family. in Namibia for generations Germany colonized the country between 1884 and 1915. Sylvia runs the best known cafe in the city, it is famous for its German baked goods and our apple strudel is one of our best sellers, a slice of layer cake, please, okay, a small one, almost all of them. speak German here a lingua franca you speak German a little how you learned I learned it through customers every day you have to learn something new here Sylvia's younger sister Desiree works in the kitchen, she is making a black forest cake, He's using his grandfather's recipe, he was a baker who emigrated to Suacubunt in 1954.
rich and poor   inequality in namibia dw documentary
He came here from Germany after the war, he didn't want to stay anymore, they already had family here just to try it, okay, and there's a black forest so I'll give that at the front today about 30,000 descendants of German settlers live in Namibia Sister Haider's mother was the first person in the family to be born here she would not change her life in Namibia for the world I think we are very lucky to be able to live in Namibia we have a lot of quality of life quality of life to be free you will not feel living in no no no no no never yes after a few weeks in Germany it gets too green for me I look for my bronze desert bronze yes, he has passed on his love for it desert to his daughter Sylvia every day.
rich and poor   inequality in namibia dw documentary
Sylvia goes for a long walk through the huge melodies of svakobmund, not far from the site of the atrocities of the early 20th century, hundreds of makeshift graves lie just a few meters from the dunes Imperial Germany set up concentration camps here While fighting the colonization wars between 1904 and 1908 the German army massacred between 65,000 and 80,000 blacksmiths and at least between ten thousand and twenty thousand Namas, both ethnic minorities in Namibia Germany was responsible for the first genocide of the 20th century each year it is carried out held a unique parade in the football Mund the blacksmith marched towards Mark The Liberation of the Concentration Camp there they wear uniforms in the style of the imperial German armies we took over the tires the uniform and said these hours now from now on an engineer Professor Kavita Marama traveled 500 kilometers just to participate in the parade her grandmother was taken to the concentration camp she was only nine years old then Blacksmith civilian men women and children were enslaved and starved the murderous orders of the foreign trotta were next within the German territory, every Blacksmith armed or unarmed, with or without livestock, must be shot.
I will no longer take in women and children, return them to their people or let troops shoot them more than a century later, in May 2021, the German Foreign Minister made a historic announcement today we officially describe these events as that they were a genocide and fergamota and with this we also recognize our historical responsibility. Germany pledged €1.1 billion in aid for genocide-affected communities to play a key role in dealing with these protesters. I also want the land confiscated by the German colonizers on the morning of the parade returned. Kavita is accompanied by Jaredge Teja, an activist willing to fight for his country.
There are several of us, in fact we are soldiers, so whatever you do, how, whatever deal you want. What to do with us we must know that you are dealing with a threat that is so proud of itself that they drive to a farm owned by descendants of German settlers when you look at the derozene buses from where we started, this is still a single unit that covers more than 60,000 hectares, so 60,000 hectares, you're talking the size of Berlin, owned by one person, they go to a place of prayer, the site of the first battle between the Germans and the Blacksmiths and their ancestors who died that day are buried .
Here we believe that our people do not die, yes, somewhere they are alive, they can hear, they can speak, they can solve our problems, ancestors, I am here with Kavita, please let it come to you, we want to follow in your footsteps and we ask for power. and strength to open doors and be brave, this is sacred land for them, but to visit the graves they need the owner's permission, where is the bus? Are you filming me? Could you please stop the camera in our private group? We want to go to Greece, what? Tombs Tomb of the grapes of our ancestors Why do you say what grapes?
There is not a single ancestor if you only have German Tombs here. We know where it is. We know where we are going. It's just that it's on your farm. You must make an appointment. Before the time comes, we will take you with our car and it costs 500 thousand dollars per person. We can give you a special price and when it suits you. I wanted to go now. It's not possible. Now it's lunch time. Now we adjust the contacts. It's okay in 2022. An article in the country's most popular newspaper the Namibian created a scandal Harry Schneider Waterberg a major landowner and descendant of the settlers participated in a round table his comments were published later he maintained that his statement was taken out of context German settlers never stole any land, he is treating us the same way his ancestors treated our ancestors, we are going to act and we are going to rebel.
Do you think you could forgive them? It's not just when you see a white person that trauma comes back. It's a huge 400 kilometer square Farm on the Nevada plateau Harry Schneider Waterberg lives with his wife Sonia at some point I'll be working with cattle somewhere but now I have to go back to the office unfortunately go to bed how come you have the same name of the plateau it was my grandfather's idea to add the name of the mountain to his surname it had to be approved by Parliament so imagine I'm doing it Soldier was his grandfather came to the country in 1908 to serve Yami eventually bought a total of 18 Blacksmith Farms of the German Colonial Administration and began raising cattle.
Good morning, did you sleep well? Oh yes, that needs to be cleaned. Harry has a team of about 40 people working for him, the majority. Herrero checks in with his assistant every morning to get updates on what happened during the night. Not not seen. We lost a calf what was its number 22 33. The 1,400 heads of cattle roam throughout the property. It is one of the largest beef producers in the country. Every day he spends hours in the car taking care of his cattle. It is a huge piece of land. It is enormous to manage. So that it is effective requires a lot of work.
A few years ago he began breeding Arabian racehorses. Yes, the horses will come. He has to protect more than a hundred animals from the big cats. All our management on this farm is adapted. the fact that we have leopards here we have many leopards here the leopard is a daily reality for us it has already lost three horses in two months I am very connected to its land, you know it emotionally and this farm has given me a wonderful life Roscoe The white Namibians They represent only six percent of the country's population, but most of the farmland belongs to them.
The Germans will choose that the stolen villains are not only in Namibia, but that they were in all the colonies as such. That's the story of Australia and the Americas and then in our maybe independent in 1990, the government at the time asked the land owner to have a fairer distribution of the land and uh my father at that time actually sold around of 27 percent of their land, so owning the land isn't really a, it doesn't make you


, uh, it's working the land successfully that can make you some money. Harry Schneider's semi-arid land has another important resource, water, and in abundance, the conditions are ideal for raising livestock one of his blacksmith employees Mandaka looks after the livestock is an absolute hermit he lives here completely alone looks at his pants he is eccentric he wears 34 years with me we wondered where he was he ran away but he came back Harry is proud of his heritage.
He doesn't spend much time thinking about Germany's colonial past or the exploits of his ancestors. He is a very important part of the development of the country in Namibia that was at that time. stage called South West Africa and I mean, you know, and before that it was that it didn't even have a name, I mean, you know, or a European name, I mean, you know, so it was kind of dark Africa in that moment and then first sent the The explorers arrived and the development of the country and I think we have to appreciate it like every nation needs to appreciate history.
German settlers were the first to extract diamonds from the soil of Namibia when Germany lost the First World War. Namibia became a South. African protectorate while the mines went to the multinational company Debers the corporation has dominated the diamond market for more than a century today in Namibia alone it makes millions of euros in profits annually the diamond minds here are particularly valuable because they come from a unique source in At the bottom of the Atlantic this mining ship extracts diamonds from a depth of 150 meters. It belongs to the Namibian government and its bears. Tens of thousands of diamonds are then delivered to the capital.
Windhook. We have been granted special permission to visit this highly guarded place. Diamonds worth hundreds of millions of euros are being sorted in the city center in this room. Hello, good afternoon, I am a supervisor of the semi-nationalized diamond joint venture ndtc First Quality, but we are checking the quality. Ishana is the person Who determines the value of gems before going on the market? The whiter and lighter they are, the more they are worth. It's not like they would make it rough, it could be, say, $20,000 US, but when it's polished you'd probably have to add. Another 30 or 40 deals where you might have to pay a thousand for a rock like that.
Yes, there are 1,000 diamonds of the highest quality here. Its market value is around 29 million euros. You can count them, but it will take you forever, so if we weigh them at the end of the day so as not to leave this building until we have what we call balance, we have reconserved yes, 400 kilograms of diamonds end up on this table, the really unique ones are stored by separated, wow, this is the biggest number, shiny, nice color, this stone, as you can see, looks pink, it is a very rare color, so we are talking about a lot of money on this stone.
I mean they force a rough estimate on this, three, one, about three million US dollars. For this stone, it's painful when I look at this crack, it's very painful because you would have made more money, yes, me, and you can't afford this, yes, it's just the shakes, the guys with oil and a lot of money that can buy a stone like that . because when it goes up for auction, even if you look at the prices, they sell for a lot of money once they have been polished, these diamonds will be given to the most famous jewelers in the world.
Very few Namibians benefited from this wealth. The vast and ancient Namib. The desert stretches along the country's western coast, the hostile environment attracts seekers Hello, how are you? Very good, let's dig here, okay, okay, all the men in Imbando's family are minors. Should we take the lever? There's no need. Hey, Ian or my sister have been working as a team for a long time. my brother because we are growing together here on the farm for 20 years the two have met twice a month here let's look over there okay, they are looking for valuable materials black tourmaline is that yes Their fines are used for small pieces of jewelry or for purposestherapeutics is amazon, can you find any diamonds? no there are no diamonds around there are no diamonds around if there were diamonds maybe those years or they have already caught up with us they hope to find stones that can give them a better life they work for hours here abroad and then you can get something like that in your pocket.
Nice pieces. I'm looking for big pieces. Nice big pieces. What I can sell, maybe big as in my hand, will only leave the desert after they have found something a week later. this little cafe all eyes are on and Bundle proudly displays his little amazonite treasures before selling them, it's not that, but look, just look, I think it's wet, but what do you think it's cute, it's cute, but I don't we know. I would like to receive 250 dollars for elpiedras enough to cover his living expenses until he can return to the desert he heads to Mike's souvenir shop hello good afternoon, how are you doing?
Yes, I have some pieces of stone. Okay, beautiful color, yes, it's a nice color, this is not so great, yes. It's okay at the moment, but with all the greed and no tourists, it's not too interesting right now. U is one of Namibia's last independent prospectors in the land of diamonds. He lives a life of poverty, a situation that many find outrageous on the outskirts of Windhook and in Katatura. English the name means the place where no one would like to live most of the residents here live on less than a euro a day this 31 year old man is a local celebrity no problem thank you very much Lelo is the charismatic leader of a small party of radical opposition he grew up here hello how are you doing he wants people here to demand more they are building luxury apartments in the city but there is nothing here they do nothing for us we don't even have paved streets right take look for yourself: Do you think that is it a rich country?
Money in this country is only the concentration of a few hands, but the majority of our people still continue to speak in poverty. It is in the hands of the whites and a few. Elite blacks, in Michael's opinion, swappo, the party that's been in power for three decades is hopelessly corrupt, yeah, we're looking for fighters, man, why don't you join the movement? He travels in luxury, he says he made his fortune trading cryptocurrencies that he wants to see abroad. The powers that exploit Namibian workers expelled from the country in the construction industry have been fully taken over by the Chinese, which is why the Chinese have taken over most of the contracts in this country.
One is this new road that goes to the airport if the rain comes. erase this path as if there were nothing. Another major issue is that Chinese companies have allegedly misled Namibian workers about their salaries. The workers asked Michael for help. Power to the workers. They have been on strike ever since. You have the power you should. Learn to stand up and fight for yourself Every month, the company deducts 10 percent of workers' salaries for Social Security contributions, but the government has not received contributions since 2019. It is now clear that the swapo government and the chinese are busy robbing everyone.
The US government is always going after small businesses, Namibia's own businesses, forcing them to pay taxes, but they are Chinese friends, they are busy protecting them, they should refund all that money to you and then you will get tax breaks, so tell mr. Who are they going to choose? they lift their suitcases because we don't want thieves in this country Michael has no official authority but he seeks a dialogue anyway you are in charge this is fine my Chinese is also a little


I finally agreed to negotiate with Michael he has to put it on the record for What are you deducting from the workers' texts but you are not paying them to the government.
No, you, as a company, are going to pay that tax that is owed to the government, but you are going to give the workers' money. Give the workers back the money that is for their vacations, that's what's going to happen. No, that's all for Wednesday. Workers will inform me if they have not been paid. Then I will make sure all of you go to jail. Thursday and it will be for a long time. Well, Wednesday. Make sure people are paid too much. Namibia is known to be a peaceful country. Sometimes it is necessary to use violence in order to send a message, and the message is to say stop exploiting Namibians, if you continue to exploit Namibians then we will fight fire with fire demanding justice if necessary by threatening violence, It's risky, it could backfire, but for now it's working, the company pays the next day, it attacks Chinese sellers in Chinatown, so this This is fake, we think we understand this is fake.
The Havianas tell the Chinese that all the stores will close after this. Michael is arrested for inciting violence. China has long been an ally of swappo. Its Nimibian independence. China has supported the ruling party financially. Most public buildings in. Windhoek has been built by Chinese contractors. Swapo headquarters and the Ministry of the Interior are examples. Meanwhile, China controls one of the country's most strategic assets. Its uranium mines. Namibia is one of the world's leading uranium producers. One man has long taken a critical view of the situation in China. activities in his country, his location is kept secret because he receives many threats.
I'm definitely under surveillance without a doubt now I've been beaten, taken to the hospital, you know, on previous occasions and I have to take some basic precautions at all times. don't announce when I'm leaving or where I'm going to the group's famous investigative journalist John, he discovered that a third country was actually using China as a cover when it came to contracts for public buildings oh, I found this file because in here you go, you know the original documentation, all the invoices here, you know the construction of the State House, which is the presidential headquarters of Namibia.
I mean, yes, you can see $29 million transferred from Namibia to Pyongyang. The United Nations does not allow certain deals to take place. With North Korea, the penalty for violations is sanctions. When news of the payment became public, all employees of North Korean construction companies left the country within 24 hours. John was the first to arrive on the scene, there was a kind of panic then, yeah, and they fled, I mean. They literally left food on the table, so the UN feared that Namibia was indirectly funding North Korea's nuclear weapons program with projects like the State House. North Korea also benefited from other public contracts such as the construction of the Independence Museum.
In front of the museum there is a statue of the country's national hero and former president Sam Nuyoma, it looks like it was made of bronze, but in reality it is some kind of plastic, it's like a polymer, they're just spray paint, you can see. The cracks that appear everywhere are all fake steps, fake museum with half-finished communist-inspired frescoes, what is that supposed to mean? Yes, because there is a lot of contextualization around it that is missing. Another reason why Namibia is so attractive to Asia is its pristine natural environment. Gigantic open spaces and almost uninhabited Namibia has only three inhabitants per square kilometer, making it one of the least populated countries in the world.
It is a paradise for many wild animals, but hell for an endangered species of rhinoceros. Namibia's largest rhino reserve is located in the northern part of the country. Three wild rhinos are killed daily around the world. Their horns are sold at high prices in Asia to help protect them from poachers. The reserve was brought in by a French NGO. and protect yes, we are not jeanc or bruce lee I don't want to see that for example no that is for the movie we are brief applicants the Rangers are trying to prepare for a real attack these simulations allow coaches to evaluate the reaction of the Rangers in situations of crisis looks like a military exercise in preparation for an armed battle a fight for life and that is exactly what it is around the world an average of 150 Rangers are killed each year how many are you seven seven so how many people could go into the bush to save his friends seven seven and uh how many people did they go with why that's it was my fault I thought we were going to do it yeah blah blah blah blah blah your whole team was ready you won't be ready and that It's a big mistake, do you think Potcha is going to tell you?
Hey guys, let's shoot gin. three four minutes get ready no, they will shoot at night guys, they will shoot at night and everyone will be in cows like this, that's why we train, this is the war of Our Generation, our Century, it's about the survival of hundreds of species that will die. If we don't act, I have heard of a reserve in South Africa where 94 rhinos were killed in less than a week. I cannot imagine a world without wild animals, it is one of the last remnants of magic that remains on Earth for me and we are annihilating it eight times when it is not on deployment atubato is a beekeeper in France one of the biggest problems his troop faces is the lack of resources you're right the engine just fired this happens quite a bit two or three times a day, the vehicles in the reserve are half a century old, another and when it comes to problems with weapons, the extractor, okay, so get out The charger, uh, okay, okay, give me the guns often.
Jam, there's a reason for that too. game are not exactly new 53 so we have ammunition from Eastern Europe they are in very bad condition. I've never seen ammo folded like that. It's amazing that it can lead to a situation in a firefight that none of the Rangers could do. shooting more than two or three shots, that is daily life in an anti-poaching team, it is a dangerous job and must be done seven days a week, 24 hours a day for a miserable salary and maybe do a lot of work more than expected, that's being a ranger doing something. extra work what is the difference between the salary of a Ranger and the price of the Rhino Hub?
There is no difference, the difference is, perhaps negative, from the Rhino to the Ranger salary. Rhino horns sell for astronomical sums on the Chinese black market. Medicine claims that the horn has therapeutic effects, although it has never been clinically proven to deter poachers The reserve has implemented a radical method after a veterinarian has sedated the rhino The horn is hard It is a risky but painless operation like the nails horns are made of keratin I told you, how are you? There is no problem with you. Yes, the owner of the reserve, Jacques Muller, has commissioned Sergio's NGO to make his service free of charge, so you are happy with his progress.
Yes, he does not receive any support from the government to protect the animals from him. but the value of his antlers alone could cover the costs of protecting the species. We found him in his secret place in the city. This is where he keeps his black market treasures. This one will be worth approximately US$450,000 to us. now it is really dangerous to have it people will come to kill me they will come to my house to kill me for these things over time he has collected dozens of horns he hopes that their sale will one day be legalized the moment there is a greater supply on the market the price will drop if I can get 6,000 US dollars per kilogram, it can help me save the species from extinction and there is an added benefit: legalization would make you a millionaire, the young nation of Namibia with its wealth of resources, its rich diversity of species and its wide opening.
The spaces could generously provide for its population Namibia faces great challenges a deeply skewed distribution of wealth global competition for resources and of course the long shadow cast by a bloody colonial past thanks foreign foreign

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