I HAVE listened and read a lot of analysts, columnists, politicians, facebookers and regular folks’ talk about tribalism and racism at oundikotjo (bars) in the kasie but most of the time, they either complain about this and the other tribe/race dominating or being favoured at a certain institution or they will react to a blunder a certain Minister or business mogul made. But I am yet to hear people say: “Let’s find a solution to these evils that are dividing us.”
My plan is to take you on a journey through some corners of Namibia to show you that it is possible to crush tribalism and racism.
Yes, these “isms” are so encroached in us that sometimes we don’t even realize that we are hurting others with our derogatory language or bad inferences.
But then again, why can’t we laugh at ourselves as long as there is no malicious intent? Why should we be party poopers who can’t poke a little fun at the young katate selling tomatoes, onions, sweets and oka-recharge at a street corner?
Yeah, you can now laugh at his broken English and the hardened face that comes from sitting under the scorching sun for hours.
Meet him ten years later and he could perhaps offer you a lift to town driving the latest Mercedes Benz. While I may wonder what good it is for me to make 50 cents profit on every sweet I sell, for my far northerners, business comes naturally.
Let’s make a quick stop to see our folks from the not-so distant South that are good with anything like cement, concrete, paint and brick.
As long as there is a little visit to the hmmm…where he meets his lover - the dancing lady in green after a long day – you will see the wonders of his creation.
Ai hene, don’t bite my hat off now if you didn’t get the joke, I am just saying mos…
Going further down south, to Suide Maak Vrede. My people are so talented with clothes-making that no lappies (cloth) or skin goes to waste. While you westernized japies complain about clothes and shoes from Foschini, Edgars or Truworths being too expensive, there is no pyne in the South. Do you think the chicas will pay you any attention kama in your expensive Timberlands? Nee jonk, a pair of veldskoene and some Namastap moves on the klavier will get you in the party…as long as you make sure you have your Okapi, just in case. Our north-westerners - I suspect they are somehow related to Indians because they all have long natural hair despite different textures and they worship cows – you should listen to a barely ten-year old boy praise-singing cows in their kraal as though they were human. These folks can also teach you a little something about pride – have you ever heard a man killing his kamboroto for daring to explore other kambeskitis? Of course, there are some repercussions, but not a death sentence.
I know some of my fellow darkies may pretend that they didn’t secretly admire to be a lanie during the apartheid days. I mean, who didn’t wanna live in the better houses with a swimming pool and ten bedrooms, go to better schools, have all the toys they could imagine, while we used to sit like eagles waiting for the sun to go down so that we could creep into the neighbour’s yard to jip (steal) the toys that the kids left outside. What amazes me though is how some lanies have maintained their spoils of war. You remember that jewellery, optical store, pharmacy or photo studio that you could only window-shop but were too afraid to come near because that look from missies could scare even the feistiest tiger out of its hiding spot?
You see, I’ve barely travelled half the country, but as you can see, we have so much to learn from each other.
Imagine if government could come up with a rotation programme where they take Tant Marie and Oom Gert from Klein Windhoek and place them with Omo Kambausuka and Tandaa Nguvitjita at Ondjombo Jorukune village in Okondjatu for a certain period of time and vice-versa.