What comes to mind when I say “Heroes/Heroines Day”? Leader’s right? Leaders who fought tirelessly for the land of the brave right? Be it on the battle field or the boardrooms right? So in a nutshell…political leaders is what comes to mind when you hear “Heroes Day”?
Why is that? Why does your mind only see political leaders when “Heroes/Heroines Day” comes to mind? Why do we always think that political leaders are the only circle of people who contributed to the freedom we enjoy today? Society consists of different elements making up a community. If that’s the case, why do we think that only political leaders contributed to the freedom we have today? Why do we year in, year out only heap praise on political leaders? I find it that even my own media colleagues in today’s space only focus on political leaders when it comes to heroes and heroines.
Whose songs did the PLAN fighters sing in the bush? Songs composed by who? Songs taught by who? Which reports did exiled political leaders read to prepare them for crunch meetings with the West? Reported by who? Investigated and printed by who? Who was that voice on the radio that comforted and at the same rallied thousands against the oppressive regime? Arts and media was there when bombs fell and mothers had to console their babies from crying with traditional hymns. Arts and media was there when all hope was lost but that voice on the radio rejuvenated the thousands. Arts and media was there to capture the horrible moments before and after battles. Arts and media is still there today to recount the horrors of yesterday seismic events through theatre plays, visual arts and all other forms. Why do we blindly only focus on political leaders? We are 28 years into independence of this beautiful country. It’s time that we start maturing in our thinking. Political leaders couldn’t have done it without arts and media. The elite group that sat on the bargaining table for the land of brave needed information. How do you think they got their information when they were based outside the country? Arts and media mense. How do you think the families that stayed behind survived in the harsh brutal environment? By going to church? What do they do at church apart from the obvious? They sing don’t they? Those melodies and hymns kept thousands going. Again arts and media mense. The oppressors knew how powerful arts and media was that’s why many of the church and party media wings would get flattened by bombs. When will the very same elders who relied on arts and media to keep them going in the dark days, who are in power now realise that arts and media deserve better treatment and prominence?
How is it possible that the powers that be today who relied on that very voice on the radio for rejuvenation, who relied on newspapers for information, who relied on music to keep spirits up do not want to honour the players of yesteryear in the arts and media fraternity on big days like Heroes and Heroines Day?
There are professionals in our newsrooms and studios today that have cherished that microphone, that pen, that lens for over 30 years and today in independent Namibia they are all of the sudden not good enough to be highlighted on Heroes Day?
Political leaders were not the only people who brought about our freedom. Let us mature in our coverage and honour all spheres of society that contributed to the freedom we have today. In this case, my arts and media elders. Long live those who left us, long live to those who still carry the arts and media fraternity at heart and are still active. I see you. I hope the rest of the country sees you too. It is definitely my prayer that the powers that be, see you as well!
Until the next loop, we say “GMTM”!
NSK is a professional MC. For bookings, email firstname.lastname@example.org