By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK In a serious call, senior citizens have strongly encouraged young people to stand up and work hard to maintain the hard won freedom of the country. Even though their contribution was never recognised in the past, the efforts by the elderly are today seen as valuable contributions to the development and stability of the nation. Their stories tell of difficult and trying times in their younger days as they worked hard to build the infrastructure of the country. Sixteen years down the line, however, they can proudly watch the positive growth of the nation. When New Era visited the Tabitha Old Age Home in Katutura, the elderly were of the opinion that young people should not misinterpret the meaning of Independence, but look at how they can continue to build the country as the leaders of tomorrow. However, despite this call, the young people do not take things seriously. “The youth of today are not interested in development activities. They don’t understand the meaning of independence. It seems they are now free and cannot be touched or spoken to,” said one elderly man worried about the life style of the youth today. “Development needs a disciplined nation,” he added, saying that in his days despite the obstacles and hardships he worked hard for peanuts for the sake of the future generation. Recollecting his life, 74-year-old Isaak /Goagoseb said that he worked in building the railway lines and with the little he received he was able to feed his family and the community as a whole. “I am glad the Pass System is over and we now have peace. Times are much better now,” said the frail looking man. “The youth have gone astray and they now need to come back to reality and work tirelessly like we did. It is only through hard labour and the sweat of your brow that one can achieve development,” said another elderly woman. For others like 83-year-old Stefanus Motinga, the good vibes of independence have to be maintained by the youth, otherwise the difficult sacrifices made by the forefathers and mothers will be in vain. President Hifikepunye Pohamba was also of the same opinion at the Independence Day celebrations this week when he emphasised working together as a nation in order to preserve the hard won freedom. Due to modernisation, the challenges of today such as HIV/Aids, unemployment and poverty have become major obstacles. However, if senior citizens could cope with the harsh times of the apartheid era, then young people should make use of the conducive environment of Independence to develop the country to greater heights, the elderly argue.
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