The San community residing in Mangetti Village, in the Kavango West Region, has accused officials from the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication, and Social Welfare of failing to provide the necessary support.

Expressing their dismay to nbc News, the community members highlighted that hunger has become an everyday reality within the village.

Among the San families are the Tjilepas, a family of 14, including eight children under the age of 10.

Chrismelda Tjilepa says the family survives on handouts for long periods or earns grains from working in people's crop fields.

She says with the drought this year, there will be no work as crop fields stand empty.

Tjilepa says food from the special feeding programme for marginalised communities was last distributed in November of last year.

"The situation has worsened as there is no longer any provision of food, and the money received by the elders from Epupa is entirely used to pay off debts. The community members are burdened with substantial debt due to their large numbers, making the impact of hunger even more severe."

Makena Adolf, a neighbour to the Tjilepas, says the officials based at Nkurenkuru could not explain why the food rations have stopped.

Adolf suspects that the officials stopped after they complained about an incident where food was dumped at the village, resulting in a stampede that resulted in some, especially the elderly, getting nothing.

"Some of the VDC members there have tried calling the Ministry, telling them that the San people are dying of hunger here, but they say there is no vehicle to bring the food; they say they cannot carry food on their backs to bring to us. Up until now, we have been just like this: no food."

Other issues are that San people are sidelined when it comes to job opportunities, they say.

"Every time they recruit, no one from the San community is recruited. Here in Mangetti, there is too much discrimination. You find in other houses of other tribes three or more people working, but for us there is nothing. They only employ people from their ethnic groups, instead of considering a 50/50 ratio."

The Namibia Industrial Development Agency's (NIDA) Mangetti East Cattle Ranch is the largest employer in the area.



Chris Kupulo