– Education without Common Sense
I have read with keen interest in The Namibian newspaper a column titled “Swapo Party Youth League and its Political Hiatus” by a certain Alfredo Tjiurimo Hengari, and wish to add my views from the protective enclave of Opuwo.
Those familiar with Opuwo would know that this capital of the great Kunene Region of Namibia is situated on the hill, which gives one an eagle’s eye view of the world there-under. This hill may not be the same as the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Nonetheless, it is from this humble comfort of peaceful, democratic and stable Namibia that I wish to respond to the column of the one Mr Hengari.
As an ardent follower of political events in our country, this is not the first time that I have become aware of this particular individual’s insatiable aversion of SWAPO Party on the one hand and on the other against the person of our Founding President Cde Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma.
It was back in 1999 at the height of our participation in the Democratic Republic of Congo that this certain Hengari began to throw political aspersions against the Leader of the Namibian Revolution.
Why am I focusing on this aspect?
The reason is that in his column Mr Hengari wants the Swapo Party Youth League to emulate Nelson Mandela and not Sam Nujoma.
Is it not self-evident that the freedom and independence Namibia enjoys today came as a result of Nujoma and not Mandela?
It was in 2001 that the same Hengari wrote about the Xhosa dominance of the ANC led by Mandela and speculation about the need for a non-Oshiwambo speaking President of Namibia and SWAPO Party.
At the time, Mr Hengari did not imply that we follow Nelson Mandela, but it is everyone’s guess what especially Mr Hengari was writing about.
At least in that column he made reference to the SWAPO Party Constitution.
The way I see it, my countryman Hengari seems to be engaged in political masturbation which has become a common phenomenon amongst those who are described as ‘coconut academics’ – namely, they appear ‘black’ outside but ‘white’ inside.
In the case of our fellow countryman Hengari, in his article, he has climbed on the Eiffel Tower in Paris to regurgitate some foreign terms that has been implanted in him through the academic parroting institution called western education also known as western hypocrisy.
In the democratic discourse of our free and independent Namibia, all people have the right to freedom of expression and thus I am writing full in the knowledge that everyone including Mr Hengari has freedom of expression when it comes to matters of SWAPO Party Youth League and indeed the SWAPO Party and its Government.
However, it is not desirable when such freedom of expression is distorted in media such as newspapers. It is for this reason that in my capacity as Member of the Central Committee of the SPYL, I have decided it fit to respond to the distortion of Mr Hengari.
I must praise Mr Hengari for the courage he has demonstrated in giving credit to the work of the SPYL and his sublime intention to be associated with the activities of the SWAPO Party Youth League.
I can assure him right away that the doors of the SPYL are open for all Namibian youth irrespective of academic status, race, ethnicity or ethnic origin. It is thus inaccurate on his part to postulate that the SPYL practises the politics of exclusion and fomenting the perception of enemies and thus making people like himself feel out of place.
In fact, I urge him to get hold of the SWAPO Party Youth League Constitution to acquaint himself with the status quo.
This is at the heart of the interrogation I wish to make about Mr Hengari’s column.
In other words, he makes an assumption as an ‘external observer’ about the workings of SPYL without bothering to establish the political facts about SPYL or SWAPO Party.
This is sad indeed for an academic he purports to be and someone who happened to be enjoying the fruits of Namibia as a Special Advisor to Namibia’s First Prime Minister.
One would have expected him to initiate his interrogation from perusing and analyzing the Constitution of SPYL as well as of SWAPO Party, the Political Programme and the 2004 Election Manifesto.
This could have been the empirical evidence required for him to understand the ‘SPYL & Political Hiatus, Swapo’s political panoply or what he terms hollow cacophony’.
In the Queen’s English the terms above can be defined as follows taken as nouns: [panoply would mean ‘a wide-ranging and impressive array or display, e.g. the dazzling panoply of the NDF procession or the panoply of European history”; cacophony means ‘harsh discordance of sound;
dissonance, e.g., a cacophony of hoots, cackles and wails; hiatus on the other hand would mean a break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc.’]
I leave it for the readers to deduce just what this academic caricature was trying to say, because in my opinion education devoid of a degree of common sense is meaningless.
For how can the learned fellow quote Franz Fanon who has written widely about the French brutality during the Algerian Revolution without pointing to the ethnic ghettoes that exist within Paris and other places in France?
Instead of focusing his unfounded energy on the work of the SPYL it would have helped tremendously for the readers to be informed about youth politics in France and especially in the ethnic ghettoes of France and Europe.
From here in Opuwo, and here in Namibia we could learn a thing or two about democracy, freedom of expression and association and how an Algerian of the descendant of Franz Fanon could ascend to the Presidency of the French Republic.
It is also perhaps important to add for Mr Hengari and others that are ignorant like him that in fact in recent weeks the SPYL organized a trailblazing Economic Transformation Convention just on the eve of the Cabinet Retreat to cement its call for youth economic empowerment.
At that one-day event, the SPYL members converged and cemented the SPYL Congress resolutions of last year and came up with a clear document outlining youth needs, which was submitted and discussed at the Cabinet Retreat!
It was a first of its kind. How many youth did Mr Hengari empower when he was a Special Advisor? One even wonders what was so special about his advice!
In closing, I would like to invite our learned countryman to climb down from the artificial academic tower he has climbed and condescend to the level of his ordinary countrymen and women, yes, the very ones educated at the University of Namibia and those of us who regard in high esteem the Herero Mall in Katutura, Windhoek.
It would make sense for his audience to quote rather from great African men and women such as Hosea Kutako, Hendrik Witbooi, Maria Mwengere and Brendan Simbwaye, than to try to please the European audience by always referring to their so-called philosophers.
If he could be proud of his heritage, then I shall be very grateful. After all that is what education is all about.
Ronnie R. Mutrifa
Regional Secretary of SPYL-Kunene Region