One country: Three nations

Home Focus One country: Three nations

Now that we are celebrating 30 years of independence of our country it may be important to just briefly reflect on some issues of those years, particularly what still persistently and disturbingly are still haunting us.

The colonial history of our country left Namibia a deeply economically split country into three groups depending on their colour.  
The independence constitution was intended to build a bridge between the past divided society characterised by immeasurable misery and unequal distribution of wealth among different groups.  The preamble of the independence constitution provides that inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family are indispensable for freedom, justice and peace.  It goes on to state that these rights which have for so long been denied to the people of Namibia by colonialism, racism and apartheid, must now be effectively maintained and protected in a democratic society, where the government is responsible to freely elect representatives of the people, operating under a sovereign constitution and a free and independent judiciary.

Our independence constitution is perfect and is intended to correct the evils which were left behind by the defeated colonialists who ruled our country for over a hundred years.  
Some of these evils were and still are dividing our country into “three nations”. The main criterion used for creating this division in our country was based on the colour of the skin of the people. 

One of these nations is the one composed of white people who were regarded as a super nation.  
The apartheid colonial regime made sure that this white nation enjoyed the fruits of the country and became prosperous. There were those whites who did not support this colour bar and who wanted people of all different colours to be treated equally.  However, this decision of the apartheid regime was imperative and non-negotiable and those who dared to oppose it became victims of the regime.

The second nation was composed of coloured people who had not been regarded as whites and also not as blacks and who were forced to enjoy fewer privileges than whites, but got much better treatment than black people. 

The third and the last and most numerous nation of the country is the blacks who were regarded as sub-human and were perceived to be only useful to work as slaves of the superhuman white race.  
This black nation was forced to live in extremely degrading conditions in places where white nations were not allowed to live. 

Although the independence constitution has opened up the opportunities for this black nation to have and enjoy equal rights with all people, because of the long and protracted history of exploitation, they are still living under conditions of underdevelopment and to many of them, economic prosperity is still theoretical rather than practical.  For them to live in informal settlements is not because they want to live there, but just because they simply cannot afford to move and acquire property in prosperous suburbs of the cities.

We the people of this great country know the injustices of the past and recognize the fact that our country belongs to all of us, therefore, we adopted a very good constitution.  However, we have to ask ourselves one honest question and that is whether we can make complete progress to uplift the feeling of hope and economic prosperity of the masses of our people and liberate them from poverty in such a short period – my answer is no. It is a fact that these grossly underdeveloped and miserable living conditions under which our people live come as a result of over hundred years of dubiously planned colonial robbery and exploitation of our country and we cannot achieve to change this unbearable situation in a very short time. We are politically equal people but we are economically still waging the battle of liberation.  But surely the victory will be ours.  The birth of democracy came with the hope of delivery of wealth to our people, but this will not be a miracle.  Therefore, I am afraid to say that abolition of the legacy of apartheid will take some time since it will require a considerable amount of resources and determined efforts. The reality of “three nations” came into existence through many years of colonial rule and it may perpetuate itself for some time to come.  However, we shall surely overcome and liberate our people from poverty, hunger and unbearable conditions of life.

I am not impressed by the arguments that 30 years of freedom were enough to liberate every black person from poverty since the unbearable situation the country has inherited from colonial oppressors was achieved by the colonialists since they arrived in our country over  hundred years ago.

However, we are determined to abolish that situation.  There are still many challenges ahead but if we can as a  people together fight to liberate ourselves from those challenges we shall emerge victoriously.