Teachers should sweat for the Namibian child

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WINDHOEK – This author refers to those members of society for who all teachers the world over are sent to schools. He strongly feels they are the only members of society that should drive teachers forward. Teachers need to do it for no one else but the Namibian child.

This author advocates for the Namibian child to be the ‘only’ source of motivation for all those employed as teachers in all our schools. Teachers need to deliver, deliver and deliver for the sake of the Namibian child alone.

The author sees teachers stationed in the riverine areas of the Zambezi Region.

He commends their determination in facing all those hampering challenges for the sake of providing service to the Namibian child. Yes, the author knows too well teachers at areas such as Namiyundu, Nankuntwe and Muzii only rely on dugout canoes to get to their workstations. Their schools are stationed in areas inundated by water for most part of the year.

The author salutes those compatriots. It is only the Namibian child that motivates them to tread the same route year in and year out.

The author knows the mode of transport that ferries teachers to areas mentioned herein above leaves them exposed to all sorts of harm. He refers to danger posed by all the dangerous reptiles inhabiting those murky waters. The author can count from all those tree snakes to the now water-seasoned “inyengo” (mamba) that carry the venom that can send an adult packing with a single bite.”

The vicious crocodiles inhabiting these ferocious waters have been known to feast on human carcass since time immemorial. Indeed, teachers in dugout canoes are sitting ducks for these bloodthirsty reptiles. Yes, teachers should confront all these life-threatening factors  to save the Namibian child from ignorance. The imagination of an ignorant nation outweighs the harm posed by the elements that stand in the teachers’ ways to their workstations.

The author knows too well teachers in former “Ovamboland” and Kavango walk for longer distances to get to their workstations. The nation dreams about roads traversing the geography of the land to whereever a Namibian child can be located.

A dream is what this endeavour has remained to be. The lack of roads should not deter teachers from responding to the calls uttered by the Namibian child out there. The nation still has a long way to go before the ground can be leveled for every Namibian child. Teachers need to face the winds and biting temperatures of the Namib Desert for the sake of the Namibian child alone.

The Namibian child needs to be liberated from the bondage of illiteracy. It is the duty of teachers to turn those schools into centers of possibilities. They should extract those lessons from those very familiar territories. Let learners do essays about their own rivers.

They should be challenged to recite poems to the ponds they cross on their way to school.

Teachers should look up to the spirit that saw our heroes and heroines fall into a force that brought us the freedom our nation enjoys today. The comrades left for exile during the days of fighting for the independence of their “Mother Land.”

The only source of motivation was their brothers and sisters back home. The driving force was not a salary at the end of thirty days. The dream to see every Namibian child go to schools of their choice was enough to put them in harm’s way. The endeavour involved abandoning one’s family. It defined husbands forsaking wives, fathers forsaking sons and daughters.

The author knows too well the fight for freedom involved walking distances to unfamiliar territory. It meant exposure to the ruthless foe. The author knows too well “The Freedom Fighters” sweated until they could sweat no more. He knows they sustained wounds where blood oozed until their bodies ran dry. Those comrades sacrificed their lives to put freedom at the doorstep of every Namibian. Yes, indeed, it is “Whose blood waters our freedom” today.

In like manner, a call is hereby sounded to all Namibian teachers to respond to the learning needs of all young people in the country. Teachers need to sweat it out for the sake of liberating the Namibian child from the danger posed by ignorance. Teachers should invade the country and infiltrate every teaching loophole for the sake of educating every Namibian child. These children will one day rise up and say, “It is due to the sweat of my teacher, that I am liberated today.”

Indeed, the sweat of teachers waters the freedom of all the educated the world over.

The author points at the sweat of all his teachers from his days of attending school at that primary school in rural Zambezi Region. The author showed up at the doorstep of the principal’s office at his tender age. The clothing he wore was enough to tap into the emotional wells of the headmaster. The clothes he wore were actually lavender taffeta, an appearance almost every Namibian child presents in rural Namibia.

The teachers at Kabbe Primary School did not bother to know where the author attended pre-school. However, lack of exposure to pre-school education did not deter his teachers.

They began teaching him how to read and write only at the age of seven. Praises be to God for all those teachers. The author feels tears shriveling down his cheeks at the imagination that some of his former teachers have since submitted to the burial mat. May their soul rest in peace to eternity! Indeed, it is “Whose sweat waters his freedom” today.

Teachers in Namibia need not seek motivation from anywhere else but from the desire to see the Namibian child receive education no matter what. Information is knowledge and knowledge is power. Teachers need to expose these young people to all that relevant information for the sake of empowerment.

The Namibian child needs to be armed to stand a chance against the excruciating pain caused by abject poverty ravaging their societies. It is only through education that the Namibian child will be able to break free from the shackles of poverty.

Education is the only tool that can better the poverty-stricken societies these children hail from. It is the only ‘eagle’ that can lift them up and drop them at those tables in the lands flowing with milk and honey.

Yes, the battle was ended by the nation’s glorious “Freedom Fighters”. However, the fight for economic emancipation continues. Ladies and gentlemen, it will be too much of a request for us to expect our fatigued “Freedom Fighters” to engage the battle against ignorance.

Teachers need to demonstrate this is their time to prove ‘compatriotism.’

This is the chance to demonstrate their nationalistic accolades. Indeed, this is a call to national duty. An illiterate nation is a colonized nation.

Educating the Namibian child means an educated Namibia tomorrow. This nation will need these young people in years to come. In fact, the national dream of Vision 2030 is much of their own than it is for anybody else. The dream would surely make no sense for an illiterate Namibian child.

An educated Namibian child today will be the one to lift aloft the Namibian flag to ‘higher grounds’ at the realization of this national vision. Teachers need to take the lead in the fight against ignorance. They should be the leaders leading contemporary Namibia to an all educated nation. Yes, it is the spirit of the “Freedom Fighters” teachers need to embrace.

• Simataa Silume is one of the English teachers at Ella du Plessis High School and he is a final year student for a Master’s in Leadership and Change Management at the Polytechnic of Namibia.

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