Sunday 28 February 2021
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Rethinking Independence Celebrations

We’ve literally spent 29 years of routine that saw the use of millions of dollars for a commemoration that add little or no value for the majorly. Shouldn’t we rethink this custom and consider a range of more productive and progressive alternatives?
Given the socio-economic conditions of majority of our citizens, the spending of millions of dollars on public celebrations, need to be restructured to provide lasting answers.
Independence celebrations should move from being continuous reminders of our fight against apartheid, to celebrating human progress.
I would like to think that three decades down the road, that’s no longer an avenue to invest scares resources that would have gone to assist the needy.
This isn’t to suggest that we put the whole Independence Day idea away and just go about living our lives. I still think it is important that we do not forget our history of where we came from and how we came to be where we are today.
However, the degree of resource allocation for this commemoration doesn’t do justice to our own national agenda of fighting poverty, and unemployment.
It is an event that goes against our own efforts, setting us back where we would have progressed.
Do I wish that we had a culture of celebrating our Independence Day? Definitely.
But not in the face of poverty. Celebrating our independence day is important but not vital for our existence as a nation.
Thus, we can use the scare resources to enhance human living conditions and contribute towards greater socio-economic happiness.
In rethinking our approach, we need to engage modern forms of communication for commemorating our independence and cut on costs.
Not that cost cutting is always the best options, but in this case, such cuts would be reinvested for development.
Beyond the preservation of our political images are real human with real needs that need to be addressed.
And if the role of the state is to make provision on how to improve the lives of its less privileged citizens, then such a state is obliged to carry out its role.
For government to act as the agent of the state, it should have the interests of its citizens at heart. Rather than focusing on elaborate celebrations – resources should be redirected to such.
But is our government thinking in these terms? Perhaps. But we are yet to see it in practice.
Our ethics of spending haven’t been challenged to a point of reversing the current practices.
We spend so much on a one-day event and let thousands go unemployed and hungry in a country that has millions to spend on celebrations and presidential home renovations.
Don’t we think this is unethical, if not immoral?
In as much as our Independence Day is important, it is better to have a commemoration of independence over the state radio and television – knowing that the needs of the people have been addressed.
The aim is a happier and satisfied public that can look up to their political leaders and those that have the interest of the public at heart.
We need to do away with this one day eating culture, set up for show for an audience that doesn’t understand half of what is being spoken.
I contest the practice of resource investment in unproductive projects that don’t have lasting impacts on the communities.
Regardless of the importance of a day, be it Cassinga, Heroes or Independence Day, none of these should be investments that take away resources just to cater for the ego of a few.
When all is said and done, the realities of poverty do not vanish with the celebrations, in fact, they wait for us right at the doorsteps of the celebrations.
We need a new thinking that requires high standards of living but that kind of change cannot be without a reordering of our thinking.
Thus, at the governing level, we need to adjust our priorities to meet the needs of our citizens. Life cannot continue as if we are still in 1990, year after year.
The context of the most vulnerable of our society has just gotten worse, but it’s not irredeemable, although it will take a restructuring of how we spend the public resources we have.
Independence on a hungry stomach, in homeless conditions and unemployment is not true independence.
It’s not freedom when poverty and all other social hardships that could be reversed are still present and dominating the daily lives of the ordinary people.
How we hope and wish that this murderous culture of eating for one day will come to an end so that we begin to invest where our priorities are – humans.
How we wish for a much more human-centred form of independence celebration that desires to see the poor flourish out of their poverty to better living conditions.
Such dreams we wish to have, but the suffocating conditions of spending we have, do not allow us to dream of a better Namibia.

Disclaimer: These are my own opinions and do not represent the views of my employer or its associate.

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