Oh my Africa – 11 April 2014

I’m going to start the OMAs (short for Oh my Africa, my new blog series of funny, ridiculous, and entertaining things from around the continent) off with a truly special offering from right here in Namibia.

The country recently celebrated its 24th birthday and to mark the occasion, it bought itself a N$5,750 banner to put up over the main CBD thoroughfare in Windhoek, appropriately named Independence Avenue.  Apparently, it was more than just a birthday present, though, it was a test, to see if Namibians were paying attention.

You may have noticed a couple of errors there – “indepence” not being a word, and that “celebrate” should have an “s” on the end of it.  But these were not mistakes, says Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakanda, the state secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology.  It was “shock therapy”, he told the Allgemeine Zeitung, Namibia’s German-language newspaper.  “Now we know that the public is attentive and the nation is behind us”, he said.

I, for one, am relieved to hear that.

The banner was then taken down and replaced with one where “independence” was spelled correctly, but “celebrate” was still missing its “s”.

Later, the printers were blamed and Minister Joel Kaapanda apologized for any inconvenience.  He then assured the public that “an internal investigation team will establish who was responsible for the mistake and the culprit will face disciplinary action.”

Investigating typo-culprits and a 5k piece of plastic? I think all we really learned from this ordeal is how good the government is at wasting money.