Hai//Om – this name has made headlines in newspapers the past two months over their claims to ancestral land in Etosha National Park. NACSO together with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and private consultants, met in Outjo with the Hai//Om Association and the Traditional Authority to discuss issues around the Association’s constitution and a concession contract in Etosha.
The three-day workshop was an exciting experience for the participants, who were fully engaged and vocal about their concerns. Ronny Dempers, from the Namibia Development Trust, did an exceptional job in facilitating the workshop and translating from English into Damara and Afrikaans, to assist participants to fully understand the presentations and discussions.
The workshop started off on a high note with participants proudly stating who they were and which organisation they represented. Those present included the Chief of the Hai//Om, David Khamuxab, Vice Chairperson of the Association, senior and junior counsellors of the Hai//Om Traditional Authority, the Chief’s Special Adviser, Association members, youth and community members. The diversity of the group allowed for full participation and engagement from everyone.
The major challenge to the Association was the lack of understanding of the constitution due to limited education and reading skills. Ronny Dempers ensured the full involvement of each participant by getting their expectations of the workshop, and did a SWOT analysis highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. Participants stated that the TA and the Association should cooperate better to get things moving. At the end of day one, they were given homework: to read through their constitution and highlight parts that were not clear or needed amendments.
Claudia Ais, treasurer of the Association said: “It has been a struggle the past few years but we would like to move forward. I hope that we will have a better understanding on the roles and responsibilities of the TA and the Association. I am happy to be here because it gives me more clarity on the situation”
A senior Traditional Authority counsellor stated that: “We are not angry people. We are just very vocal and we want to get on with business”. The Chief, David Khamuxab, closed the first day by expressing his happiness of the outcome and admitted that one weakness of the Hai//om was the lack of skills with administrative work.
Day two was dedicated to analysing the constitution, explaining different sections and making sure everybody understood it. The facilitator, together with Roger Collins, a private consultant, ensured that the participants provided input on changes that they would like made to the document.
Hard work was accompanied by ice breaker games that got people laughing and working together. From the numbers game, participants drew lessons about concentration, working together and flexibility. People learned that mistakes can happen and being happy brings good relations.
At the end of the workshop, all the participants fully understood the constitution and were pleased that all their expectations from day one were met. They left the meeting with a concrete action plan that included set dates and nominated responsible persons. The Special Adviser to the Governor, Hon. John //Khamuseb, thanked NACSO and the team for the manner in which the process was “carved out” and for the great results at the end of the workshop. He urged the Association and the TA to be patient as they assist while support is provided to resolve the issues concerning the Hai//Om.