Next Tuesday Namibia will mark its 27th Independence anniversary. Admittedly, not everyone will be able to attend the main event in Rundu in the Kavango East Region, but this does not mean that each and everyone – wherever they find themselves – cannot observe the day.
Surely each of us must have one or the other reason to observe the day. The most undeniable fact, and the reason why each one of us should observe the day, is that on March 21, 1990 the South African flag was finally lowered and our own national flag hoisted.
That day there could not have been a single soul who did not observe this momentous event with a sense of joy, pride and excitement, if not heightened expectation.
One must admit that 27 years down the line, the expectations of some – in terms of freedom and independence – may have dissipated, but the fact remains that since that day Namibia has been free. Whether our freedom, independence and sovereignty are forever, only Namibians themselves can decide.
Often, when thinking about the independence anniversary celebrations some people jump to the conclusion that it is and will only be a jamboree of some sort. Not always, even the main event each year cannot and must not necessarily meant to be a jamboree or feast of any kind.
On the contrary, the celebration of independence is actually a time of reflection; reflecting on the freedom and independence we enjoy and how practical and meaningful it has been in and to our lives, severally and jointly.
One cannot but contrast the Namibian Constitution with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, whereby all people, among others, have the right to exist, to self-determination and to choose their political status, as well pursue their economic and social development according to any principles they choose.
In the parlance of the Geingob administration, no one should be excluded from the proverbial Namibian house. If one should stretch this parlance it can be understood to mean that “no peoples”, as opposed to “no one”, should be excluded from this house.
As the past 27 years may have attested, while many an individual has enjoyed peace and stability, there are also individuals who feel a sense of exclusion. And, if you will, there are some peoples who – despite the relative peace and stability that they have commonly been enjoying – also suffer a sense of exclusion in terms of pursuing economic and social development, as a people.
Thus, the Independence Day anniversary must be a day in which the country, society and communities mirror themselves in terms of the extent and context in which our peoples meaningfully and practically feel part of the Namibian house, rather than in a theoretical, imaginative, intangible and invisible way.
One is reminded in this context of the hierarchy of needs, as per Abraham Maslow, which specify that physiological needs come before psychological needs in the order of priority.
People can enjoy all the political liberties that may be at their disposal and guaranteed them, but such must be commensurate with physical needs and the extent to which such political rights are meaningful vehicles towards the enjoyment and sustenance of life itself.
If, on this Independence Day there are those who do not have anything to eat or drink, then surely however much political and civil liberties may be at their disposal, these would be meaningless if they cannot be transformed into the sustenance of life itself.
Happy 27th anniversary, Land of the Brave!