Allow me to utter a word or two in your newspaper on one of the traditions that is slowly fading and eroding away, which is the celebration of Independence Day.
Nowadays Independence Day in Namibia is celebrated just like any other ordinary day of the calendar, and even Valentine’s Day enjoys more momentum and hype than it.
To drift you a bit back, on the 21st of March, 1990, I was barely two years old and I really can’t recall anything that transpired during that day and year. Most of the things I know about it have just been narrated to me by my dear mother.
Nevertheless, as I grew up and then started with my schooling I was introduced to the general history of this country (Namibia).
We were taught about how a few brave men and women sacrificed their personal and family’s lives by deciding to join the armed struggle to liberate our nation, which they eventually did.
I also vividly remember the euphoria that existed in the 90s when I was in elementary school. I must say Independence Day was a day filled with pride and jubilation. From the dress code, dance to artistic expressions, indeed it was a countrywide thing then. Is it that I was just literally ‘a kid in a candy store’ then, or have things really changed?
I dont know whether I am just oblivious, but I barely see that today, especially with the youth, consideling the fact that they are the majority! Now one asks the question: What could be the reason(s) to justify this philosophical status quo?
To understand this, we need to go back to the simple definition of the term ‘democracy’, as it is the foundation of independence. ‘Democracy is the rule of the people, by the people.’ Nevertheless, this simple definition carries in itself a more deeper meaning that speaks power to humanity. It engulfs a number of principles, such as justice, freedom and equality. Meaning the absence of any of these principles triggers a sense of exclusion! Our current president has often said: “Inclusion breeds harmony, while exclusion breeds conflict.”
Namibia is now 31 years old as a sovereign state, with a democratic constitution that speaks volumes to political, social and economic freedom. Namibia has one of the best constitutions in the world, but one may ask a question: Is everyone really enjoying these freedoms and liberties, or is it only a
From the politicians’ perspective, definitely they will say yes in order to cover and safeguard their reputations, and maintain the status quo. They will say this by blaming and accusing the youth of being lazy and not being able to create avenues for self-employment and empowerment.
On the other hand the youth’ s perspective, which I really concur with, is that the government is not doing enough to help them uplift themselves. Yes, we have heard of government initiatives that are aimed at helping the youth with funding and start-up capital for them to venture into projects and SMEs, but I am also under no illusion that these funds often do not reach the intended and needy youth, as they literally end up in the pockets of the same politicians who preach self-empowerment. Can I talk about government tenders? Unfortunately I dont have enough ink to scribble the obvious.
That being said, for me the words Independence Day in the current Namibian context mean a day when our ancestors turn in their graves, because of the corruption which has rooted itself in the very nation that they put their lives on the line for. It has cenented itself and rotted out the core of moral cohesion in our society. It is a cancer that keeps on spreading.
There is an African proverb that says, ‘A hungry man, is an angry man’ – so is the case with our Namibian youth today. They have lost hope in our government, that’s why they have resorted to all kinds of anarchy, rascalism and hooliganism. It’s a pity to say this, but it’s the sad truth.
‘A person can endure a warm stove for a while, but the one sitting on a hot one has no patience!’
The only way that government will win back the trust and loyalty of the downtrodden and the locked out, is to exercise honesty and transparency.
Let the government not just tell the youth what they need to hear, but do what the youth want to see being done. Sadly, the time to listen to sugar-coated liberation struggle stories is over, and we want to hear visionary stories now.
I suggest that on this day of 21 March, all of us should sit down to reminisce, introspect and have our checks and balances in order as a nation.
We should also have a thorough and deep introspection of our system as coined by our current president in 2020. This will help us in pinpointing where we have gone wrong, and what changes should we make. With the focus mainly highlighting the hopes and aspirations of our youth, as they are the ones who will eventually inherit this country.
In addition, despite all these adversities and frustrations faced by us as the youth, and the nation as a whole, let us try to emerge from these hardships through embracing our president’s declaration of 2021 as the year of resilience. Resilient people will always keep going, even if the going gets tough! If our forefathers conquered the political struggle, then so can we in the economic and current pandemic struggle. The blueprint is already there, as drafted by government, but it needs everyone on board for implementation.
Finally, let me urge my fellow youth to support the sovereign government in making this Independence Day a success. This is the time when we should all put our differences aside, join hands, show solidarity, and march in the spirit of One Namibia, One Nation.