Sorry Ngo! – I Refuse to Change or Did I?

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John Ekongo

Not so long ago, I still remember clearly as students pale, hungry and weakened, we would sit at the “Olupale” parking of the University, and dream our days away.

A couple of friends and I would imagine what it would be like after we graduate and start working. Will we change and become something else? That was always a big question at the back of our minds.

Way back then, we solemnly swore, even at the premise of money and well-paying careers, never to allow ourselves to change into social cluster phobic monsters, once employed. We had our reasons, what with all students-cum-politicians-cum-young people, wearing the great Swapo Party scarf, t-shirt, cap and the whole lot to class. We believed and rightfully so, that we should not permit Western mentality, including the idea of Western style of living and socialising, to affect and corrupt our minds.

But then again, some things are just not easy to uphold, especially the latter part.

A week ago, we convened at my “Vincent Hailulu matchbox, Soviet style dwelling in Katutura” (or is it Chinese inspired). Anyway, Hawala a very short brute ultra-traditional-party-conservative with a hint of liberalism, Kwanyama, with a stout head, confessed to us how he has lately taken up to socialising and spending his free time. After landing a nice job with an expatriate company with businesses in risk portfolio management and insurances, he is obliged to cement his work relationship socially with his new work buddies. Hawala could not hide his excitement; he was completely smitten at the same time trying to convince me to take up bowling as a sport.

“It relaxes the mind,” said Hawala as a motivational statement. Bowling, me hell no! I am not prejudicial or short-sighted but it sure does feel strange having a Ndonga like me clenching a round black ball on a Saturday morning, rather than my usual my green and gold can.

So anyway the moral of this story, apart from a quiescent change of socialising patterns and my never-ending claptrap gibberish promotion of the green and gold Windhoek can, is … pretences! Yes, yes, yes, pretences pretentious brothers.

No sooner a black (young) man start working than living style also changes.

First, he applies for membership to a gentleman’s club as a sign of prestige you know – smoking cigar and chat about the latest Lexus.

Secondly, the most illogical, the brother will start driving 10 kilometres just to do shopping in Klein Windhoek. Shoprite and Black Chain in Katutura aren’t cut out for him anymore.

Reason being, he needs a much cleaner environment, friendly staff and no frequent discount and so-called specials. Ok, this is a legitimate concern somehow.

Thirdly, the watering hole also has to change – out with the old, in with the new. Usually “Uukwamatsi Shebeen, Catacombe and Simon se Gat” used to be the ideal places, cheap and open 24 hours. But in comes Kalahari’s Sands Bar Lounges fancy outings like Butchers Grill, Nice and Joe’s Beerhouse and the like – all just to get a beer? Get the hell out of here!

Fourthly, out of nowhere, the brother developed a liking for the finer things in life, things such as Thursday’s wine and cheese tasting at the Heinitzburg Castle, stamp collection and cosmic gazing art exhibitions at the National Art Gallery and a set of shirt cufflinks with his initials etc, ???_?_’???_?’???_???

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