By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Namibia’s biggest braai, which attracted over 44ÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒ…ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â 000 people, turned into a huge celebration by the thousands from all walks of life who seemed thoroughly entertained without any alcohol. There were no incidents of violence either. On Saturday at the Katutura Sam Nujoma Stadium, the World’s Biggest Braai record attempt by Namibians from all ethnic groups clearly showed that when people put their minds together on one common goal, they can achieve anything. However, although the event was impressive, preliminary results indicated that Namibia fell short of breaking the record currently held by Australia for hosting the World’s Biggest Braai. If 150 more people were counted, the record of 44ÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒ…ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â 158 set by Australia on October 10, 1993 would finally have been broken. Nevertheless, for the majority who came to take up the challenge, it was a memorable and historic occasion of this magnitude for the very first time. “I would not have missed it for the world and I’m very excited,” said Solye Frankle, holding her colourfully-dressed twins, Tania and Wyome. For them this was quite a momentous event which will go down in the annals of the country’s history as being the biggest ever. By six o’clock in the morning, endless queues were milling outside the stadium flavoured noticeably by the bright spring clothing look. Both young and old came in their droves to offer their support. For those sitting on the podium, it was admirable to see so many people responding to a worthy cause without drinking alcohol. “It could be called ‘No Alcohol Day’; just look at everybody enjoying eating, drinking and dancing without alcohol,” said one woman who was sitting with friends. As for the youngsters crowded outside the fence and watching the lively performance of the The Dogg and the likes of Sony Boy – it was ‘cool’ to have fun without alcohol. “It’s really a unique day for me,” said a bubbly-looking Salmi Enkali, adding that she had not seen or heard of anyone who got hurt in the place that day. Agreeing with her friends, Lucy Kautwima and Emeritha Amadhila echoed the sentiment that it would be much safer if every day was like that day on Saturday. For them, the 9th day of the 9th month of 2006 will be a happy event to remember. On their part, the organizers were also pleased with the huge turnout, but especially with the eagerness of locals and visitors alike. “This huge turnout impresses what Namibians can and want to achieve once they have a common focus,” said Meatco’s Corporate Communications Manager, Uschi Ramakhutla. For Meatco Namibia, this was a special way of commemorating its 20th anniversary of existence this year. Seen mostly as a fun-filled family day, many of the people were ushered by the hundreds of volunteers into the three main rows on the stadium’s field, where they were given their sausage rolls and cups of cooldrink. ” I am very happy to celebrate my 17th birthday in this special way,” was one boy’s comment as he took a huge bite from his sausage roll. As soon as the crowd started settling on the huge grass area, they would drop their certificates of attendance and tickets on the ground. As more and more people streamed in, a huge confetti-like spread was created of ‘The World’s Biggest Braai’ pamphlets everywhere on the field. They sometimes spiralled into columns as the wind blew them about. Initially the public were supposed to keep their certificates of attendance in remembrance of the historic event. However, there were some who expected more at the occasion. “Why can’t they give us more boerewors rolls and cooldrink – one round is just not enough,” was one comment. Others felt they wanted to spend more time inside the stadium, but were relieved to learn there was more entertainment outside. As for the volunteers, the day was a busy one – not to mention feeding thousands of people as they came in. “I never want to see another sausage roll in the next five months,” said one volunteer jokingly packing the rolls in the tray. Although the record-breaking attempt was not broken by Namibia, at least it was a day for many to remember.
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