The disgrace of the youth and body politik

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The article in The Namibian of the 22nd February 2017 of the fist fight between SPYL members cannot exit unnoticed. I am a subject of a country that claimed once to have been the pride of the continent, greedily calling itself the smile of Africa.

I am part of the subjects who at the sunrise of the year 1990 paraded their getting, to Africa and the rest of the world, broadcasting that Africans too can measure themselves against the subjects of the world.

As a youth I watched debates between Maxuilili, Riruako, Hannes Smith and Gwen Lister or Nora Chase on Talk of the Nation. Maxuilili would start the labelling, with the paramount chief or Smith retaliating with own outburst to the excitement or amusement of the watcher. You would be pasted to the screen, waiting to see the one panellist lurching at the throat of the other panellist.

Yours truly is yet to bring to mind any memories of a physical fight, especially at a time when we emerged from an unfriendly and patchy past. Those citizens of my motherland differed but never traded blows, but rather raged at one another by mouth. Their insults and difference of opinion or skewed resource allotment always culminated on a trade of friendly hands at the end of the heated debate.

I refuse to embrace a culture where political differences are best solved with physical intellect, for I have seen the scars of such interface on the face of my continent for too long. The interface continues to be visible on the face of those subjects, who outlived their peers against the laws of nature. We are called upon never to allow our pride, tribally fuelled egos or reception of the other’s opinion or cry of exclusion and inclusion to degenerate into the politics of chaos and shame. I dare state that not even the infamous meeting at the then community hall in 1988 that led to the emergence of NASEM degenerated into a physical altercation.

Our actions of today are a reflection of our failure as a distinct group to illuminate the path of reasoning, dialectic materialism amongst ourselves, despite the emergence of the Swapo Party School, whose original aim was to mould cadres into serious leaders of broader perspective, alternatively our resolve to start afresh at the adoption of the social contract (Jean-Jacques Rousseau) in 1990, which calls upon us to express for ourselves and our children our resolve to cherish and to protect the gains of our long struggle, desire to promote amongst all of us the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Namibian nation and among and in association with the [rest] of the world; [striving] to achieve national reconciliation and to foster peace, unity and a common loyalty to a single state [in pursuit of] a sovereign, secular, democratic and unitary state securing to all our citizens justice, liberty, equality and fraternity (Preamble to the Namibian Constitution, made bold for own emphasis).

Our youth cannot and should not engage one another on a level other than to convince one another. The elders too should not call the impatient branch of our society, the youth, derogatory names and terms, or both groups to regard themselves as two poles. We are called upon to exercise restraint when referring to the other self or one another.

It is a fact that the other self is a reflection of what we once were and what we ought to become in the future. The elders ought to realise that they were once youth, and the youth to realise that natural justice dictates that they too will progress into adulthood.

We have but inherited this country from the future generation. (Obama) Our rise might not be equivalent, but surely our fall will be, for we all are leaves of the same baobab tree. I refuse to accept the unwritten rule that all African countries should follow the same path, self-destruct. I remain an optimistic optimist that out of the current deafening noise, where the self seeks to define and find itself, my country will emerge sturdy and resolute. Whatever our analysis, we took a country from the colonisers, and thus should pass to our children nothing less than a country. Full stop.

* Joshua Razikua Kaumbi is a holder of a BA Political Science (Unam), LLB (Stellenbosch) and is a practising admitted attorney. Opinions are expressed in his capacity as a Namibian by birth and not choice.

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