It is no secret that Namibia faces many developmental challenges. Most of these challenges are of a socio-economic nature and deal with bread and butter issues. These challenges, if not properly handled, have the potential to erode the gains achieved since independence. The other major challenges in my view, however not too much espoused upon, are more related to our attitude, lack of belief in ourselves, and mental colonial slavery. Let me expand. It is said that attitude determines altitude, which I fully agree with. Our attitudes are not in the right place for us to seriously develop our country and bring the required services to our people. Service delivery is, more often than not, hampered by the way we conduct ourselves and the seriousness with which we go about our tasks than the sheer lack of resources. It is no secret that Namibia was generally considered a well-off country with very good plans. However, our attitudes in executing our mandates have now led us to insufficient funds to meet many of our developmental goals. The other serious developmental challenge we have is that we do not have faith in ourselves but rather put all our faith in other people. This is self-evident in many of the things we do. For example, if a local person tells or advises us on something, we usually tend to discard that advice. We would rather call in a foreign expert, have him tell us the very same thing in a different manner and tone, and then all of a sudden we are all amazed, clap our hands, pay him or her lots of money and proceed to implement what they have advised. Our graduates, especially, bear the full brunt of this serious lack of faith in ourselves. We always complain that we do not have the required skills forgetting that we spend a lot of resources and time to train our people. Such graduates then do not get the opportunity, responsibility and challenge to actually implement and practise what they have learned; no, we would rather look for further expatriates and foreign skills. I am not saying expatriate skills or foreign skills are not needed, however, when do you train your own people if you do not give them a platform to practise what they have been taught considering that this is the only way they can build up experience which can make them experts? The challenge with this mindset is that we should also remember that people only take you as seriously as you take yourself. Hence, if you do not take your own people seriously, why should anyone else do so? In addition, it surely is a fallacy to think others are coming here to develop us while they have their own developmental challenges wherever they are coming from. The last major challenge to truly developing Namibia lies in what I call the ‘colonial mental slavery’. This is something that comes a long way and has serious implications on how we see ourselves and how others see us. The result of colonialism and its brutality has literally created an African race that feels inferior to its European counterparts. This manifests in language, culture, ideology, outlook, religion, beauty, education and development, just to mention a few. The easiest way to control someone is to make him or her ridicule themselves and admire others. Colonialism surely managed to achieve this perfectly whilst our governance system and social structure perpetuates it. We ridicule everything that comes from us and glorify everything coming from others. Religion, with all due respect, has certainly played a very significant part in this. Not only do we all bow down to white religion, white angels and even a white saviour in the picture of a white Jesus, but we also perpetuate this evil by seeing everything unconstructive or evil as similar to our own skin colour, which is black. If that same picture of Jesus were to be drawn in the image of an African, Africans themselves would surely be the first to denounce it and insist that it cannot be Jesus. These examples might sound harsh and out of order but they are real. It is only once we realise, without fear and favour, our challenges, that we are able to help ourselves. Again, our plans are generally brilliant, however, our attitude, lack of confidence in ourselves and colonial mental slavery of looking up to others instead of ourselves, is what hampers our true development. How do we change it? Let us cultivate a change in our attitude, gain faith in our own abilities and address the colonial mental slavery that keeps us at the periphery of development. We can surely do it. * Iipumbu Sakaria is highly interested in the development of his country Namibia and wrote this in his personal capacity.
2018-02-23 09:59:09 7 months ago