WINDHOEK – The Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Jerry Ekandjo, feels if Namibians can respect each other the way they respect road traffic laws, then Namibia as a nation is destined to reach even much greater heights, where the sky would be the limit. “You stop [in the road] because the regulations make you obey. It is the only thing where we respect each other, through traffic laws.
If all of us can only do the same as when obeying traffic rules, Namibia would be a great country,” noted the youth minister. Ekandjo said the older generation might also still try to cling on to the past because when change comes it is usually hard to accept. Ekandjo made the comments in his capacity as guest speaker at the annual general meeting of the Namibian-German Foundation at the Goethe Centre in Windhoek last Friday. He told the gathering that during one of his conversations with a good friend he raised the issue that white compatriots are doing a disservice to their children by sending them to South Africa or Germany to further their studies.
“Here at home, our children attend school together but soon after finishing Grade 12, they are sent abroad to Germany or South Africa. Do you think they have a future in South Africa or Germany? If you go to Unam or Polytechnic today, you hardly see children of the white community there,” noted Ekandjo. Ekandjo said Namibians live in two different worlds. To illustrate his point he said when white Namibians travel abroad, they do not know how to sing the national anthem. He said when the country’s constitution was drawn up it was decided to have English as an official language so that no citizen can claim and say they were not taken care of. “The English language is for unity. It will bind us all and nobody can say he/she was deprived of his/her language,” he stated. He said the born-frees do not know the difference between colour and race. “We are all Namibians to them. Namibia has a future, and that future lies with our children. Our children attend school together and to them a different coloured person is just another human being,” he said.
Namibians need each other, Ekandjo stressed, adding: “Suppose you (whites) are involved in an accident and need blood, where do you think that blood is coming from. There is no difference if you receive blood from a black ora coloured person. It might be that the other person’s blood will help you survive. It is high time that we accept each other.” He said at first people might be suspicious of each other but Namibia has got a bright future in store for all who profess to be Namibians. “It is our country. If one looks at international television these days it is just demonstrations. In Namibia, 23 years after independence, one hardly sees such kinds of protests. Our future looks bright and we have a small population. We need each other. We look beautiful as a one nation where you will find yellow, black, brown and different coloured people. It looks beautiful because we are all one nation.
Namibia is a peaceful country and we must do all what we can to maintain peace. Only when there is peace we will prosper,” he said. Ekandjo said the constitution provides for religious freedom and you will never see in Namibia people fighting because of different religious beliefs. “We don’t have political chaos in Namibia but let us keep it in our hands. Namibia is home to all of us. You don’t have any another country. It is Namibia. We must be proud of it and maintain peace. We must not do a disservice to our children,” he said. The minister said although many cultural festivals, take place each year in the country, he wondered if they are uniting the nation.
“This culture of ours is also divided according to ethnicity,” Ekandjo said. He said it will be difficult for older folks from different backgrounds to accept change but he called upon all senior citizens to allow their children the freedom to mix and regard each other as Namibians. “Our children, the future is with them. Children should be allowed to play and talk together. You must allow them into your houses and not ask what he is doing there. We must start to teach our children to live in harmony,” he said. Caption (Ekandjo): Jerry Ekandjo the Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture.
By Fifi Rhodes