• July 16th, 2020

The wayward child

Salom Shilongo 

After an uneasy pregnancy and long hours of labour pain, there was a great celebration when baby Kandeshi was finally born. Kandeshi was born into a broken family of school dropouts. Her elder siblings never think about tomorrow. They just want fast money, big cars, expensive clothes and to become famous. Some become gangsters, drug addicts, prostitutes, drunkards and even beggars. The family was also stubborn – if not foolish – to take advice. And they always blame other people for their problems. But there were high hopes that baby Kandeshi wiould be different.

Being the last born, Kandeshi was born a blessing. It is always a blessing to be the last born. She got all the protection, love and best advice from her siblings, as well as from her parents. Everyone was really excited about baby Kandeshi. Even neighbours and strangers came to offer their support to baby Kandeshi. They even opened a savings account for her; she was the ‘new hope’.

Everything seemed perfect. Soon, baby Kandeshi grew into a bubbly toddler. She was also obedient and was fast at learning new things. She promised to never follow the footsteps of her failed siblings. The future looked promising for Kandeshi and her family.

But soon after Kandeshi started school, she started to change. She became too demanding. She no longer listened to anyone. She also became stubborn and self-centred – it was all about her.
Kandeshi started demanding pocket money every day. She demanded her school uniform and stationery to be imported from overseas. She demanded expensive food for her lunchbox, and she also demanded to be taken to school in an expensive car. She ate pizza, polonies and chocolates at school. She refused to drink Oros, saying she is not a ‘chicken’.  She also refused to eat porridge and bread, saying she is not a ‘street kid’.

No one could control Kandeshi anymore. She was no longer interested in school either. At school, she would just spend her time talking about good food, expensive cars and fashionable clothing items. She always blamed her teachers when she failed. She also started to complain she doesn’t understand books written by ‘white people’. She would pay other pupils to do her school work and to carry her books. She even demanded the ATM card to her savings account, saying it was her own money. She used the money to buy an expensive school bag, a lunchbox and stationery.

When she ran out of money, Kandeshi would borrow from other learners and even teachers, claiming her family was rich and she would pay them back with interest. She also started to hang out with the wrong crowd. But she would always tell everyone she knew what she was doing. She would tell the teachers, the school principal and the school counsellor to leave her alone. She said she was old enough to make her own decisions. She even told the school counsellor that if he were really clever, then he would never have been a school counsellor. ‘I don’t take advice from drunk clowns calling themselves school counsellors,’ Kandeshi said. ‘Clever people become doctors and engineers – not useless school counsellors’.

Out of desperation, her family took her to a psychologist, who quickly diagnosed her problem. But instead of taking his advice, Kandeshi insulted the psychologist. She spat on him, calling him a ‘bloody white agent’. Even her family attacked the psychologist, claiming him to be a racist bloodsucker with a hidden agenda to confuse and destroy black children because he wants to colonise them again. They further told the psychologist to rather go to Europe or America and offer his advice to white children who start smoking and engaging in sexual activity at an early age.

Kandeshi was back to her old ways. She became known as ‘Dirty Kandeshi’. But she called herself the ‘Queen of slay queens’.

Kandeshi started drinking and smoking at the age of eleven, lost her virginity at the age of twelve, fell pregnant at age 13 and had her first child at the age of 14. She officially became a ‘slay prostitute’ at the age of 15. All seemed to have lost – Kandeshi just became another statistic of her broken family. But she kept telling everyone she will change, go back to school and even get married one day.

The story of Kandeshi is almost like the Namibian story. After the end of a long, bitter liberation struggle, there were high hopes that Namibia would become a success story in a broken continent – Africa. The birth of Namibia was a blessing because she was the last born, and she has plenty of siblings to learn from. Almost everyone was here – from the United Nations to the most developed and powerful countries, they all gave us advice. But Namibia chose to follow the footsteps of her other failed siblings.

So, is this wayward child called Namibia too stubborn to listen? Is she too selfish? Is she too foolish to learn? Will she ever change? Anyways, she is no longer a child. She is now an adult. But it seems she has gone mad. All she thinks about are expensive handbags, jewellery and make up, while her children are hungry. She wears expensive clothes while her children wear rags; she drinks expensive wines while her children drink dirty water. She buys expensive cell phones and alcohol for strangers while her children are sick.

So how did we end up like this? And are we going to come up with a new strategy or will we continue with the foolish and useless strategy of hosting expensive events aimed at attracting investors to revive our economy?

Has our economy really declined because the investors have moved away? If the investors have run away, who are they and where did they run to? Why did they run away anyway? And what has changed in Namibia for them to return?

We can call all the investors in the world, but are they really coming to invest in Namibia? Investing in Namibia is almost like grazing sheep in the Etosha National Park, which is full of hungry predators. 
As long as we have the jackal in the hen’s house, there will be no progress. We have to kill the jackal (corruption) first. Otherwise, the jackal will continue to eat the eggs, the chicks and finally the hen.
Investors are not stupid. Who will invest in a country where electricity is expensive, unemployment is high and the country has a high corruption and crime rate, etc.? Investors are not like drunkards that you can just invite to a Kasi party. Which investors would want to invest in this hopeless, broken village called Namibia?

We created this problem. It is time for the ‘wayward child’ to learn her lessons, accept reality and change. It is really useless to continue wasting our time and resources, looking for ‘painkillers’. We need a ‘cure’ to our problems – not ‘painkillers.’

Time is running out for the ‘wayward child’ to change. She must change or she will be forced to change. So, as we approach 30 years of independence, we have to pause and ask ourselves, what went wrong? And what should be done to change the ‘wayward child’ so that she may become a normal child?

Staff Reporter
2020-02-07 09:03:55 | 5 months ago

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