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By: Ketemba Tjipepa

Times are tough, but some men and women are trying their best to make ends meet. At Windhoek’s One Nation garbage site, over 70 individuals, most of them women, spend their days waiting for garbage trucks to dispose of waste, considering it their workplace despite the hazardous conditions.

They use what they find in the garbage to eat, and try to earn some form of an income.They are desperate. This group of men and women searches through trash every day, dealing with spoiled food and bad smells. They know it’s risky to work without protection, but they have to do it to support themselves and their families. Amongst others, they gather and sell between 50kg and 100 kg worth of empty glass and plastic bottles for just N$30 to N$34 to interested members of the public who visit the site.

The group leader, 48-year-old Johannes Joseph, told News on One that they do what they can in order to survive. “This is the place where people come to earn their livelihood because they don’t resort to stealing. They understand that trying to steal from others or engaging in illegal activities could lead to serious consequences like imprisonment or even harm.

Instead, they choose to work hard and hustle to provide for themselves and their families. Their goal is to put food on the table through legitimate means, not through unlawful actions,” stated Joseph.In response to the situation,Tobias Hainyeko constituency councillor Christopher Likuwa stated that unemployment and people scavenging food at the dumpsite are not new to the country.

“Actually, people scavenging food at the dumpsite is normal in Namibia or Windhoek. If you go to Kupferberg dumpsite you will find them there, they build houses there. Are you aware of that,” said Likuwa. Likuwa added that is unsure if these community members have approached the constituency office for assistance. However, he extended an invitation to the group to his office on Friday for assistance.

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