Sorry Ngo – A Social Commentary


Please Live Within Your Budget

John Ekongo

PLEASE, please, please just live within your budget. In this country that saying holds water, if not a crate full of beer. Nonetheless, to let you in as to why I say so is quite simple.

For a long time I told myself that when I grew up I would only do either one of the following jobs: Be a pastor, because one only gets to work on Sundays (actually I am just lazy and the thought of having God as a Boss was a plus) – until I realised that it means a lot more than just preaching. I have to counsel and be content to have Thursday’s tea and cookies with the older congregational members (mostly ladies). I could detect that my Lutheran-trained clergyman never enjoyed the sacred moments of the English tradition with the old ladies at the church hall. So I ruled that out.

And then I thought about becoming a teacher, this was after my “Landbou Onderwysers” (don’t be surprised I did Agriculture, the whites honestly thought that we from the coast will make good farmers one day), said that I en-captured the spirit of learning, I believed him, but until five years later, when I noticed that my principal was still riding a cobra bicycle to and from work all the time, so I figured they don’t make enough money.

And then comes journalism, I knew how to write and that was about it. Actually, I was drawn to the box, I figured that those celebrities on TV sure must make a lot of money – and that is what I want.

As I found out later and if the NBC is anything to go by, we don’t make that much money, but we sure love the damn job, and on top of that remain loyal. What a miracle.

So, I have made peace with that and settled for Katutura. The few of us (very few indeed) who take home the bigger pay cheque, naturally opt for an average and standard lifestyle, like a house in Dorado, Windhoek West and Khomasdal. To get there, the recipe is usually 10 years at the same position.

That is understandable.

The trend especially among young black Namibians – once he bags that job he searches for a posh living space in town. What follows is a car, hot in pursuit are brands and a fridge full of food.

What is wrong with food in the fridge, you would ask? Actualy nothing wrong, but if we are talking about shrimps, caviar, Rosenberg cheeses and fishfingers, well, then something is wrong. Since when did this kind of food become your staple food?

Now, why do I say home is where the heart is? Again very simple, over time you realise that this supposedly high-flying brother starts spending more time in Katutura. First over weekends and then they move back in the parents’ home.

When you ask why they moved back to Katutura, the answer would be “Ag, man I miss home and besides home is where the heart is” – liar. Just to think that I was told otherwise, “apparently the landlord increased the rent” and digging deeper into the pockets has become a bit intricate.

Well, maintaining superior class is not easy. Keeping up appearance is expensive. But why do we do it?

All this, I think we should blame on the Bantu Education, which taught us to speak good Afrikaans and English, and the art of memorising (because you must say the exact wording as it appears in order to pass) but never taught us to be rational.

I don’t own a ride, but always feel embarrassed when I help out a brother who does not have petrol for his Audi, silly yeah. And if you find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere on your way to Swakop, with some ladies in tour – this is my advice: Sell the big engine and tell those ladies to get a job and move back to Katutura, because home is where the heart is and start living within your budget.

Sorry Ngo.

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