From time to time, one sits and pause to reflect on the type of world we live in. Watching the senseless killing of the African-American, (a black man) George Floyd at the hands of four white police officers while pleading for his life, gets you wondering how the collective mind can become so cold and inhumane?
How can some white people who believe in the same God as everyone else believe it is right to kill an innocent black person because of the differences in skin colour?
Naturally, I join all around the world who have since condemned that barbaric act and I call for justice to be served because Black Lives Matter, as the right to life is a sanctity to all human beings of all races.
Whiles I was thinking about white supremacism and white privilege, my mind was shifted by what I read on my daughter Maria Kiliyana’s WhatsApp status. She wrote “you expect white people to accept you, of a different colour when you cannot date beyond your tribal lines. You cannot marry outside your tribe; you cannot maintain a friendship beyond that of your tribe. Start with yourselves before you expect others to value you for who you are.”
That status triggered something in me.
Without deflecting from the very important and deafening cry of Black Lives Matter in the United States of America for us I believe this movement is equally important now more than ever before in our history.
Often we delude ourselves that racism is our biggest problem, but we ignore the fact that there are some of our brothers and sisters who carry the scars of tribalism, 30 years after independence.
One of the famous sons of the African soil Samora Machel once remarked that “for the nation to live, the tribe must die.”
Those words are so true today as it was yesterday because if there is any lesson one would have hoped to learn from our collective liberation struggle is that united we stand and divided we fall. Tribal loyalties caused so much suffering in Africa in countries such as Rwanda with over a million people killed just in a few months in the ethnic driven genocide against the Tutsis and moderate Hutus by the Hutu majority.
One of the greatest challenges with tribalism is that it is very attractive as those who practice it do not really empathise and sympathise for and with others but only think about themselves.
It is opportunistic in nature because all that it is concerned with, is what tribe you are from and why your tribe is better than all others.
In his recent state of the nation address, President Hage Geingob argued that tribalism is rifer amongst young people and it is totally difficult to argue against it because it is true.
I have sadly witnessed how previously intermingled communities have been split up into irreconcilable groups over the past thirty years. I have read and seen countless social media posts belittling this tribe or the other and offensive jokes at the expense of one group.
What is very sad about tribalism is that while we lament and condemn it we voraciously engage in it.
Some are the loudest proponents of the notion of One Namibia, One Nation during the day but they change completely into tribalists during the night. We need to be more sensitive and deliberate in our interactions with our brothers and sisters from other tribes.
For example, we need to find the moral courage to outrightly reject the recent appointments done by the Central Procurement Board of Namibia because it goes against the spirit and letter of what we are trying to build as a nation.
This is not the way to build a nation.
As student leaders at the University of Namibia during the early 2000s, we already had an understanding of how the exclusion of one group can create conditions for destructive /var/folders/29/f4xh7lx1373fjt_pgg119lqc0000gn/T/IMAGE 2020-06-18 19:41:31.jpg politics, conflicts, hostilities and divisions.
This plays into the narrative that is currently being advanced that the vast amounts of the nation’s wealth are disproportionately being controlled by one ethnic group and that creates resentment.
I still believe in the analogy of the Namibian House that President Hage Geingob talks about, however, we need more non-conformists in our country, we need more people to offer dissenting views from their tribe and to embrace genuine individuality. If not, we run the potential risk of fracturing our country even further. Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
The little bit of good that Namibia needs from every one of us is the courage to push back the new wave of tribalism.
As for me, I have dated outside my tribe, married outside my tribe and maintained healthy relationships outside my tribe. How about you?
* Herold Stanley Binda is a student of Masters in Leadership and Change Management at the University of Science and Technology (Nust). The views expressed are personal.
2020-06-19 09:58:45 | 26 days ago