By Clinton Swartbooi
In the difficult struggle to obtain their independence from colonialism, Captain Hendrik Witbooi and Chief Maherero, King Mandume Ndemufayo and many others fought hard with all they had. All odds against them, they nonetheless kept the flames of hope alive. And even in their death, they are sources of inspiration.
Other gallant sons and daughters of this soil, proudly defended what was and is theirs – the land, their dignity, their future. The Namibian winner spirit was hard to extinguish!
Sam Nujoma, a determined and dynamic young man, took the flames to higher gear, and eventually delivered a free nation. His generation must be commended, for they did extremely well. At independence, a new era dawned: an era of victory, new vision, of hope, an era of nation building and reconstruction.
And so Frank Fredericks kept us talking about this humble boy who competes elegantly at international competitions, and wins. He represented a new Namibia. Agnes Samaria, Lolo Goraseb, Eliphas Shivute, Ricardo Manetti, Gerhard Mans, Tokkie Bombosch and others kept us interested and talking about Namibia’s chances to win a match here, a competition there.
The Brave Warriors “unplugged the feathers” of Bafana Bafana at the Independence Stadium.
In Burkina Faso, the Brave Warriors made history, with one of the greatest comebacks in soccer.
Our rugby team played their hearts out during the last Rugby World Cup, and earned respect.
Just recently, a young Namibian girl, Juliena Apollus was invited to join the National High School Scholars Association in the USA, recognizing her outstanding academic achievement in that country.
Of late, Namibia is coming to terms with local music, and we indulge most ardently in the music of Ou Stakes, Gazza, the Dogg, Phura, Stella, Gall Level, D’naff and others, whom we passionately adore.
Many of them have received international accolades for their outstanding musical tunes. Surely, we are a winner nation.
As we move towards the second decade of the 21st century, Namibia is a nation maturing and gaining an ever increasing momentum about itself: a nation of new hope, new passion, new pride, new dignity and a vibrant new generation.
We are in full congruence with the suggestion made in the Financial Times Supplement on Africa of September 1st 1993, that: “From Africa must come a new generation of leaders, committed to reform, and tapping the same spirit that brought the freedom fought 30 years ago.
Angered by the failures of corrupt and autocratic leaders, frustrated by economic policies that did not deliver, impatient to recover their lost civil rights, and worn out by wars, Africa’s people are striving for a fresh start.”
While Namibia has escaped many of these evils cited above, given the visionary leadership we have, we must yet remain firm and focused on creating an even better nation than the one we found.
And so, we must as youth rise above myths and half-truths to the realm of creative analyses and objectivity, as Socrates saw as well, by creating essential tensions in our minds and engaging in fulfilling and positive dialogue about the challenges we have inherited.
To do so, youth must strive to be self-informed and self-educate one another about world, nation and society, so that our practical involvement adds value to the struggle to achieve a prosperous life for all.
The kaleidoscope of youth offers new hope for a better future for us all. And yet, we all must be cognizant of the wise counsel of Franz Fanon, in Wretched of the Earth, that we should not attempt to create replicas of Europe in Africa. We must do things our way, for if we want little Europes in Africa, we may well ask the Europeans do it for us, to paraphrase.
It is exactly for this very suggestion by Fanon, and by the experiences of many around the world, that Namibians must constantly be engaging one another about the kind of society we want to have. And each one of us must live the change we want to see.
At SPYL, we realize the full potential of our youth, and are doing whatever is necessary to galvanize their opinions, talents and hopes to build a great nation.
Indeed we are aware, as correctly stated by the Founding Father Dr Sam Nujoma, on NBC TV on 04 June 2008, that we often lack the confidence in ourselves to be what we are meant to be, as individuals and as a nation, to paraphrase slightly.
Nonetheless, the assertion we are making is still true: we are a winner nation! As youth, and as youth leaders, we must pursue a determined drive to make Namibia a powerful nation: our attitudes, our conversations, our conduct and our actions must all coalesce to bring about a powerful nation, a nation that stands tall as a society of progress, free from penury, filled with compassion, care, love and endurance.
Lee Yuan Yew, the great Singaporian transformational leader once said: “I’m determined. If I decide that something is worth doing, then I’ll put my heart and soul to it. The whole ground can be against me, but if I know it is right, I’ll do it. That’s the business of a leader.” SPYL realizes, out of historic realities in our very own country, that we have had such great men and women.
Captain Hendrik Witbooi said: “Let’s die fighting.”
Herman Toivo ya Toivo stated his unstinting commitment to die for the cause of Namibia’s freedom. Sam Nujoma maintained that Namibia shall be free. That is vision, determination, hope and these attributes are always crowned by victory.
So let us engage in a dialogue, with purpose in action as youth and as society, towards building a great nation.
The foundation is in place, it’s strong, and SPYL understands fully what our role is. Youth must come forward. It’s our time.
Of course there are those that linger under the impression that all who serve on the SPYL want to become Parliamentarians and Ministers! How wrong they are, for many want to be, and are in fact writers, farmers, academics, engineers, business persons, lawyers and varied professionals.
And so we must ask ourselves the question very often: “What is that which we are prepared to die for?” The answer should lie in helping humanity to ascend and leap forward to a greater being, helping nations to be the best they can be, helping Namibia to become a powerful nation. That is and should be our ambition! Not Parliament.
Clinton B. Swartbooi