Not So Proudly Namibian Xmas

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John Ekongo Many a year ago when I was still a sturdy, little young fellow, an uncle of mine armed with a literacy diploma, attempted to brush off his newly acquired English skills in front of us much to our ensuing laughter as he read out with beaming confidence the words on a flyer, “Don’t dee ex-mus”(meaning don’t die Christmas), not that it bothered him as he was indeed vexed a bit with alcohol intake. Point being, that this was my first memory of Christmas concocted with alcohol, contrary to the textbook definitions of how Christmas should be about sharing, reflecting about the past and being thankful for all our blessings. In my opinion peeps in Namibia, it’s the reverse side; we have a distorted history with the birth of Christ. Somehow it has been camouflaged into a festivity of boozing and leisurely pleasures. Back home, this usually means that you have an orgy of young tender youth going for endless marathon sessions with the nape of every imaginable bottle of toxic concoction on the market, almost every day of December. Not only unique to my hometown Walvis Bay but throughout Namibia. We can hardly make do a Christmas without the bottle. It’s like having a boerewors roll with no wors at all. Our obsession with alcohol is superficial, and unmatched not so long ago a survey revealed that we love the nape more than any other Southern African country, I had always figured that we love breaking records, but not this kind. Much as we are a Christian nation, we can hardly assign credit to our Christian values during this valuable time, being joyous. Now when we hear the word celebrations, automatically our minds get clouded, and we make a head-rush to the nearest outlet brandishing all sort of liquids. In fact, there are no exceptions here, almost every public holiday in this country has been hijacked by booze. What else can you think of, if Independence Day and Cassinga happen to be the most profitable days for booze in this country. Now, this is the worry, if you have someone saying that, “I am going to drink myself stupid and senseless this festive season” that makes for a bitter pill to swallow. What happens afterward is hardly surprising, you have drunken driving, and you have violent fights and all conceivable crimes going the rounds. Add to the above-mentioned the increasingly high rates of violence against children in the form of rape and abuse, and we have a very serious situation on our hands. What we cannot do is stop alcohol; it is a task too impossible to secede permanently. But we can drink responsibly, however the question is how much is responsible responsible. I unfortunately have no answers to such questions apart from common sense. If not we would have failed dismally in being a model republic. The consequences won’t be felt now but in due time. Christmas is Christmas, and there is no way that it becomes some beer tasting festival. We can only advocate for responsible drinking behaviour. Now I am not either saying we should discard all and hug the bible instead of the bottle. But we should always put it in the back of our minds that the abuse of liquor is always the excuse to many gruesome acts. The records are well and clear, on that you need not to look further than the annals at the master of the court, alcohol is always an excuse for crime A glass or two is fine, but not the entire barrel, and if you not eighteen yet, don’t touch the bottle you will have plenty of time to do that. In this light, I wish you a joyous festive season and bloody lucky 2007. Hopefully, like my uncle said, Don’t dee X muss, but the alcohol definitely should. Eewa