geraral worker, NBC

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There are deformed communities in Africa due to apartheid which are currently victims of alcoholism and aids, how can such people be helped?

Many people hear of counties that went through apartheid but are free now, but what isn't known are the effects of apartheid on the population and their perception of life. There are theories that apartheid was a system designed to produce the effects of alcoholism, lawlessness, war and poverty among blacks after they are given freedom which is why we see all such in southern Africa, thus the question, how can victims of alcoholism and aids be helped?

  • Feb 11 2014: Mesag, you asked me if I knew the history of Namibia and where it stands as a country today. I have some idea of it's past, but I'm no expert. Although you've hinted at where it is as a country at present I'm wondering if we might make more helpful comments if we were to know some more specific details. What do you think?
    • Feb 13 2014: It's quite an interesting conversation you are having with Pat there, i agree that he seem to want to limit the the discussion to the recent isolated colonial history which we can not learn much from, as we intend on understanding the patterns with the hope to try and understand what could be best for the victims as originally queried.

      You also wanted me to shed light on where the country stand as i see it, in relation to the original concern. Well as a country we will be turning 24 years old in March, our population has increased from around 1.7 million at independence to about 2.3 million at present, a lot have been achieved since independence in different areas such as education, sanitation, and poverty is not necessarily the worst as such.

      What i see as the biggest challenge has more to do with lack of education, not because there are no schools or that it is expensive, but mainly due to the general attitude in the population towards education, in that the compositions of most communities/Towns are as follows: houses, shebeens every where, night clubs, schools, non functional sports fields and that's it.

      Most of this town's are modelled on the European style, but the absence of other social supports systems such as librarlies, different sport facilities and parks means that the only way to socialize are to sit at the bar and drink, which lead to unprotected sex which lead to aids. I want to highlight that apartheid kept black people in that concentrated camps, if the word is not not too extreme, they where where contracted from thief villages, made to work on mines living in these camps having nothing else to do after work but drink. Which is why after independence they do what they have leaned to become, as was the case with a baby born in jail example.
      • Feb 13 2014: Yes, an interesting conversation. Because you used the term 'apartheid' in your title Pat seemed to want to stick with that term and the period when it was used. As I saw it though, you were talking about the impact of apartheid on society. As such, apartheid was just a period when there was a legal name given to institutionalised and government sponsored racism. As such it was just a short period of time within a greater historical period.

        I think Pat was right in as much as when white landowners and businesses were taken over by black Africans, expertise was lost. However, it seemed crazy to me to blame blacks for suffering in servitude to whites for many generations and not having the skills to run farms and businesses.

        I have a feeling that what might be needed is a co-operative society. I don't necessarily mean the whole town, but a group of people who bring their assets together to improve life for everyone. A secular group made up of people suffering from medical conditions, their families, volunteers, and members of the wider community. If anyone has any expertise or experience then they should share their skills with the wider community. A little simplistic maybe, but in the UK local communities have set up their own community lending groups to stop loan sharks driving people into unaffordable debt.

        There are more ideas, but it is difficult to make recommendations or give ideas without knowing specifics. In general, subsistence and self-reliance might be the best thing to aim for.

        I'm not sure how helpful any of this is.
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    Feb 11 2014: As with most things Apartheid is more complicated than the media would have you believe.

    Apartheid was morphed into a racist activity when the white labor unions wanted to keep the cheaper black labor out of the work place.

    The reality was that Apartheid was originally about keeping socialism out of the economy.

    Mandela conflated Apartheid and capitalism and racism.

    The business owners and farm owners certainly did not want to pay higher union wages.

    When Mandela mistakenly got rid of the business owners he also got rid of the knowledge required to make the economy work.

    Make no mistake about it the sure fire cure for racism is economic freedom.

    Alcoholism is a symptom of the lack of production which is symptom of a lack of an economy.
    • Feb 11 2014: But Pat, wasn't there racism long before there were unions, or even black workers? It seems to me that you're talking about the recent past and ignoring what went on before. There was a lot of fighting and stealing of tribal lands long before blacks worked for whites, and that was long before unions, of any kind.

      You say that economic freedom is the answer. Do you mean capitalism? Is seems to me that capitalism didn't do much to defeat racism and isn't likely to have much effect now. Capitalism and racism can operate completely independently of each other. Black Africans have been disadvantaged for so long that they're unlikely to suddenly benefit from capitalism now.

      It's like the story of the baby born in prison. The baby grows into a child, and eventually an adult. It knows nothing of the world outside the cell. One day, the cell door is left open. Does the person leave, or might they stay inside the cell, frightened to venture into the unknown? I think you can apply this to African, or anyone else, deprived of so much. Then you hand it all over to them and criticise them for not knowing how to use resources.

      I also think that reducing everything to the lowest common denominator (money) isn't particularly good for any society. It's not always good to put a price on something. In the context of the original question, shouldn't emotional and physical wellbeing take precedence over economics, especially when the economic power is in the hands of others? Moves to become independent of at least some economic forces might be better than joining in?
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        Feb 11 2014: We are talking about Apartheid, it was started in the late 40s, that is as far back as you can go on this subject.

        Capitalism did more for liberty and happiness than Any government ever did. Government will do things like minimum wage or Davis Bacon which has raised the unemployment rate of blacks. The reason is that a worker without any experience is not worth the extra cost consequently they don't get hired as the cost difference is not enough to justify the extra training and lower productivity of a new worker. Black unemployment in the US historically ran slightly better than whites, until Davis Bacon and minimum wage, it has been much higher for blacks ever since.

        The baby born in a prison is irrelevant, are you saying that people cannot adapt?

        The lowest common denominator is surviving which means better well being, more happiness, usually more money, more freedom not the least of which is economic freedom.
        • Feb 12 2014: Apartheid to me would just seem to be a continuation of oppression of black Africans, just under a new name, so no, it doesn't just go back as far as the 1940's.

          Capitalism benefits the rich and powerful and generally makes the less wealthy even less wealthy over time. The gap between rich and poor is getting wider, and people are not getting happier. The 'happiest' societies are those with the smallest disparity between richest and poorest. Putting an economic value on everything is unhelpful. It's not always apropriate.

          The baby born in the prison is entirely relevant. We can all adapt, but the baby born in prison is disadvantaged from the outset compared to those who have lived outside the prison when it comes to making sense of the oath side world.

          Black Africans aren't the only people to have suffered great injustices and cruelty, had land stolen, then been told several generations later that they're just a bunch of uneducated, unemployed drunks who didn't apreciate what they had when they had it because they didn't have a capitalist society and a standing army with modern equipment and weapons to fight for what was theirs. Maybe we should remember what we did to some of these societies before we criticise them for not being as economically savvy as some of us think that they should be?
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        Feb 12 2014: "Apartheid to me"

        That is fine but not Apartheid.

        The OP is pointing out that it is getting worse. Mandela throwing out business owners is NOT capitalism. It is thuggery.

        " then been told several generations later that they're just a bunch of uneducated, unemployed drunks who didn't apreciate what they had when they had it because they didn't have a capitalist society and a standing army with modern equipment and weapons to fight for what was theirs."

        That is conjecture and not useful to critical thinking.

        Apparently the OP is not happy with the current condition? The difference between now and then is government intervention. You are assigning the wrong cause to this problem.
        • Feb 12 2014: Conjecture has it's uses, even in critical thinking. If you have a substantial point to make about my conjecture then please make it, but in general terms my conjecture, as you call it, describes what has largely happened on three continents with three distinct peoples. Only in general terms, but reasonably accurately all the same.

          I think I'm looking at the problem in a historical context and not just looking at the last few decades when Mandela and the ANC were in power in South Africa. I think we'll have to agree to differ if you're only prepared to look at a narrow period of history.
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        Feb 12 2014: Conjecture:

        an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information.

        See ya
        • Feb 12 2014: So, you can google dictionary definitions, but 'conjecture' has more meaning than the simple definition you copied from the dictionary.

          You failed to make any point about what I said. I invited you to do so, but having failed to do so, I guess you're unable or unwilling to tackle the points I made 'head-on'.

          In a scientific approach one often makes conjectures, then tests their veracity. Maybe you'd like to do that with my conjectures and statements... if you can?

          You've taken a very narrow view of apartheid... a dictionary definition, a legal definition and refused to look at apartheid in a historical context. Doing so might have allowed us to have had a more meaningful conversation instead of which you seem to have preferred to ignore the points I made and engaged in thinly disguised insults. To be honest I'm somewhat disappointed that you took such a course of action. I thought that I could spect better from you.
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    Feb 10 2014: I read in your query two different questions or subjects. One is whether it is likely that "apartheid was a system designed to produce the effects of alcoholism, lawlessness, war, and poverty among blacks after they are given freedom." Would you then say that apartheid anticipated that freedom from the outset? I would more have thought that these were effects of a policy with different motivation. For example, if you look at other cases in other places where one population subjugates another, would you say it is motivated by a specific desire for that population to suffer from alcoholism or to engage in violence against others? These seem more the effects of policy rather than the goals of policy.

    The question of how those who are alcoholic or aids-affected can be helped is a very different one and the two different challenges, alcoholism and aids, are different.

    In terms of alcoholism, I believe many people have found great success in support groups of people helping each other stick to their resolutions to eliminate alcohol from their lives. I cannot recommend any particular organization from personal knowledge, but there are organizations called things like Alcoholics Anonymous and also organizations groups for those not alcoholic themselves but whose lives are affected by loved ones who are alcoholics.

    Of course it is best to dissuade young people from getting involved with alcohol. Many places have laws that prohibit minors from purchasing alcohol, that restrict areas where alcohol can be consumed, and so forth. Education about the negative effects of alcohol and the difficulty of defeating alcoholism after onset are valuable parts of health education starting in early schooling.

    AIDS is different, with different strategies in the area of prevention, treatment, and addressing the needs of families that have lost parents due to aids.

    Here are twelve TED talks related to HIV and AIDS.
    • Feb 10 2014: Apartheid was a policy designed to achieve certain goals, and i am not sure if my list of problems are some of them. Yes education is the to go, but i am sure you need a certain environment that support that process otherwise it wi not work.
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    Feb 10 2014: Michael, If you really want to help then rid yourself of the hate, and blame your are harboring toward apartheid governments. Power struggles were a part of the African tribal culture before any foreigners arrived. I doubt that AIDS is a product of the apartheid reign ... alcoholism is a bad thing but not limited to any one person or group.

    As suggested .. education is a beginning. However, education cannot reverse AIDS. Alcoholics can be controlled but never completely cured. The job at hand is to educate and apply preventative measure when effective. Your work is the next generation and those following.

    Learn from history .... hate is a waste of time and emotion and will defeat your purpose.
    • Feb 10 2014: It is not that easy to recognize that you hate, and i hope that i don't, but even if i did i am sure it will not achieve much as the world is not in reverse. I agree that education is key, but if the environment where education is taking place is infested with alcoholism it might just be a waste, hence my worries.
  • Feb 9 2014: Hi Dear mesag:)I think good education can help,it deserves to no stopping trying,it is a long way to go,the earlier the better.
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      Feb 9 2014: I agree, education is probably the best way out. For instance:
      If you give a person a house, he will have house untill that house burns down or falls apart.
      Now if you give a person education he can make money to buy another house or
      to be able to fix his own.
      Same with alcoholism and aids, if a child never receives proper education it does not even know
      these things exists and no more that child's children. This is why the government (in my opinion)
      should focus more on education than housing and changing street names.
      • Feb 11 2014: I am sure that education is taking place but why is social development not forthcoming in other parts on the country, could the trap set before independence be working?
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          Feb 11 2014: It's quite hard to say, my opinion is, just wait and
          see and tell people that this could become a future difficulty, then people will have
          to decide themselves. Since it is people that change things about people
          not the wind (excluding hurricanes and tornadoes). =D
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    • Feb 10 2014: How do you cultivate those, since we have non of them were i live
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    Feb 7 2014: Poverty and its manifestations are a result of poverty of vision, imagination, and innovation. One of the best cures is good education.
    • Feb 11 2014: I wish there was a big wall i could write your comment on in my community
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    Feb 6 2014: maybe sick people could try my diet, mesag. I was having some health problems so I went to an unusual diet: for about five years now I've been living almost entirely on skim cow's milk. Every day I drink about two gallons (7.5 liters) of skim cow's milk, and I hardly eat or drink anything else. It has really helped me and I think it would help others who have different problems than mine.

    I got the idea from the Masai tribe of Kenya, who only live on milk and beef from their cows. I was reading about the Masai at the public library here in California.
  • Feb 5 2014: Your question seems to be about the wider issues, beyond obvious healthcare needs of those with alcohol dependency issues and those suffering from AIDS. I think everyone needs purpose in life, and to feel that any effort in life is at least on occasion rewarded and that life is at least reasonably fair for everyone. Apartheid did much to make even the concept of a fair society a very difficult thing to imagine, let along something that could be done in practice.

    However, if you look at some psychological research into behaviour, there are some clues as to how we can help people who suffer as you've described in your question.

    Firstly, in one experiment rats are given an opiate or opiate-like drug mixed with a very sweet sugary substance that they can drink. Rats locked in cages tend to become addicts, even to the point where they starve themselves to death and only drink the sugary, drug-laden liquid.

    In the same experiment another group of rats were given the same food, water, and drug-laden sugary drink, if they wanted it. Now, the sugary drink on it's own is very attractive to rats, so they really want it. However, this second group of rats were allowed to run around in a large enclosure, free to mate and have offspring which they could raise, and generally had a much better environment. This group of rats avoided the drugs. A few tried it once, but didn't take the drug again as it stopped them from being able to interact effectively with the rest of the rat community.

    Second example... Jurassic Park. Yes, I know what you're thinking, but the idea for the book came from elephants originally, not dinosaurs. Groups of elephants were culled, and the youngsters raised without adult elephants to guide them. They became aggressive and violent.

    Many communities have families where there just isn't someone to lead the family in a constructive, balanced way. Teaching social skills, promoting fairness, education, and productive employment is a good start.
    • Feb 11 2014: Your input clarify much of my worries and it is sad that such could be possible. i would like to know more of what you think can be done when the environment is not supportive of education due to a strong culture and tradition that see education as a source for disrespect but but welcome alcoholism cos it creeps in like water.
      • Feb 11 2014: I'm really no authority on this, but there has been some good work done by at least one Social Service here in the UK that decided to take a holistic aparoach to social issues such as you're describing. Some of hat I might mention may not be applicable to your situation, but it may give you a taster.

        The day starts with social workers entering the apartment of one of the families that they're working with. The apartment is owned and run by the local authority. The social workers make sure that the parents have the children up, breakfasted, washed and dressed and off to school on time. Later, when th parents have returned from the school run they talk to them about any issues they had overnight, or with getting ready that morning. They then help the adults in the family look for jobs, apply for jobs, and attend interviews. They also help with social, health, and domestic issues. Everything from settling arguments between children, how to organise a weekly budget, how to make friends and avoid confrontations with neighbours, family planning... and so it goes on... whatever is needed. The support goes on at intervals throughout the day right up until after children are put to bed.

        All this may seem expensive, but in Britain it costs somewhere between £1000 to £2000 per week to keep a person in prison. Their family then may need significant support whilst they are in prison. It's much more cost effective to have social workers helping families than dealing with the aftermath of dysfunctional families, including crime, substance abuse, anti-social behaviour, unemployment, etc.

        Much of this may not be relevant to your situation, but it might give you ideas for a framework with which to start?
        • Feb 11 2014: Do you know the history of Namibia as a country and where it stand at present?