Whether we agree or not, racism is – 26 years after independence – alive and well in Namibia.
The blame for this rests squarely on the Europhilia and Afrophobia of Namibia’s neo-colonial elite, as well as on our Afrocidal traits as Afrikans, which include what Kwame Nkrumah once described as “a lack of malice, an absence of a desire for vengeance for our wrongs”.
One would have thought that racism, especially white racism, 26 years or so after independence, is now something of the past, or just a figment of the imagination of only a few whites and some die-hard traditional comprador Afrikans.
A discouragement by the very same white folks, who seem to be finding it difficult to shed off their inherent Caucasian superiority over the Negroid race, is quite evident.
I’m not the kind to make new year’s resolutions, but I have had an unintended change of mind this time around. I’ll have one resolution this year and that is to fight white racism in this country tooth and nail, and singlehandedly if need be.
This resolve was induced by an incident at a local branch of a bank in Windhoek on a particular Wednesday. While queuing for the bank to open its doors for business and observing some clients arriving later than others – jumping the queue to jam the doors of the bank – I made some civilised appeal for orderliness.
But it seemed to some fellow clients that order is only applicable when the bank is open. According to one of the clients, anyone could position themselves advantageously in front of the doors to be able to enter first.
To this client queuing would also not matter, especially for the senior citizens, as they would readily be taken care of once inside. Well, it seems we have different perceptions of orderliness and self-organisation.
But out of the blue such an appeal was to a lone seminal white client was a matter of “Ek sal jou bliksem (I will beat you up) and “Ek sal you donner (I will f…k you up). This was directed at me.
For what? I was flabbergasted… for suggesting that we should be orderly? There was and could not have been any inference whatsoever that the appeal for orderliness was in any way or by any stretch of any imagination directed towards this fellow client.
I was shocked and dumfounded at his verbiage and threats of physical confrontation. A physical bout with him, I told myself would even be far too gracious for him, despite a stooping low that it would be.
What he and many of his kind deserve is a very hot iron somewhere up there… I muttered to myself while trying my best to control myself. Fortunately for my fellow white client the hot iron was not at hand. But to say the least my Afrikan person and psyche was greatly dented by this fellow.
As much as I tried to believe and convince myself that it had nothing to do with white racism, it was obvious even to other clients that what was at play was white racism.
But the unbecoming conduct of this client against me on the day is not what bothered most, but the thought of how he may and does behave in the security of his white laager, especially against fellow Afrikans who may be in his employ.
What these Afrikan employees, if any, working for their white employer, if any, may be enduring is just too ghastly to contemplate.
If he could not control and hide his racist inclinations in full public view, surrounded by many Afrikans for that matter, how can he really be expected to control such in his own private exclusive white cocoon?
I cannot but wonder if it was his fellow white encouraging such orderliness in the queue whether he would have reacted the same way? My guess is as good as yours.
I am sure such crimen injuria, especially against Afrikans, is a daily occurrence in Namibia that often is praising herself for the peace, security, tranquility and reconciliation that the country has been enjoying.
If such chauvinism is what many fellow Afrikans are subjected to and must endure on a daily basis, is there really any peace, security, tranquility and reconciliation to talk about?