Friday 14 May 2021
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Anchored in the roots of our heroes

Namibia’s diversity is a shining example of a nation that has managed to blend different backgrounds into one for the preservation of the hard won freedom that cost thousands of brave Namibians their precious lives. Not once should we think that the differences in ideas, convictions, skin colour or economic classes that exist in our country place some people at a higher level than others. In fact, the heroes who lost their lives during the liberation struggle did so fighting for a common purpose. This common course should be no different in an independent Namibia; the notion of every man for himself and God for us all should not be allowed to entrench itself into the psychy of our nation. Of course for many, 26 August is a time to rest. This is so because they do not view it as a day of reflection in terms of how our country has fared since attaining Independence and whether the precious lives lost during the struggle were lost in vain or whether it was worth it? The country’s growth trajectory should be our yardstick whether our fallen heroes’ sacrifices was indeed worth laying down your life for. Now that the war of independence has been won, the presence of a war for economic independence is reason enough for us all to chart a prosperous future for our country by pulling in the same direction.
I have come to learn that developing a nation is similar to a jigsaw concept. The jigsaw classroom is a research-based cooperative learning technique invented and developed in the early 1970s by Elliot Aronson and his students at the University of Texas and the University of California. Since 1971, thousands of classrooms have used jigsaw with great success.  Just as in a jigsaw puzzle, each piece — each student’s part — is essential for the completion and full understanding of the final product. This concept is essential in nation building as well because it helps those involved to understand that no one is better or worse than the other. The success of one is determined by the input of many. In Namibia, National celebrations take place annually at different places, usually near battle zones. Likewise, honours, such as military medals, are handed out on the day to honour worthy Namibians. All roads leads to Walvis Bay for the commemoration of Heroes Day and this occasion should not be used as a socializing platform for old buddies to catch up, but rather a time for introspection to deduce whether the blood that waters our freedom was not in vain. We all have heroes, therefore we need to ask ourselves, is my contribution to this great nation anything close to that of my hero?
Of course the contributions will never be the same, but you do not have to be in a war to make a meaningful contribution to the nation. In my view, the reason why we have heroes or role models is for us to tap from their ideals and the work they have done and improve on it.  On 2 August 1959 Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, who founded the Pan Africanist Congress in opposition to South Africa under apartheid, said: “African nationalism is the only liberatory creed that can weld these masses who are members of heterogeneous tribes into a solid, disciplined and united fighting force; provide them with loyalty higher than that of the tribe and give formal expression to their desire to be a nation.” These words are very relevant to Namibia in its current state, a Namibia which continues to fight for economic emancipation, equal distribution of resources, fair land distribution and the provision of quality basic services for all. All that can only be achieved if we think beyond our individual status and think on a group level. After all, group dynamics are far better at yielding results than individual struggles because group struggles are designed in such a way that all group members gets a share of the winning prize.
It is an undisputed fact that over the years Namibia faced wide-ranging social challenges that had unwanted effects on the populace. Some were self-inflicted and others were as a result of external factor, but one thing that is certain is the fact that time for crying crocodile tears is long gone. It cannot be right that 26 years after Independence we are still blaming the apartheid regime for today’s problems. We might not have the economic power yet, but our leaders had the opportunity to use the political power as leverage to turn things around. This was not done, and as a result we are still stuck with the very same status quo whereby many cannot afford land, jobs are not there while resources are distributed unequally and those close to power still think they deserve the first bite at the cake before handing the leftovers to those living under poor conditions. All is not lost for Namibia, in fact, prosperity is still well within Namibia’s reach if we keep in mind that the end goal is one.

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