Professor joseph diescho
The population of Namibia today can be divided into different generations with particular sets of issues that either affect or characterise them as they interact with other generations, who also have their own issues.
A generation in this sense is a group or cohort of people falling within the same range of age, have fairly similar experiences and can therefore be expected to hold relatively similar assumptions about an issue or challenge they face at any given time, and are more likely than not to have similar responses to challenges as time goes on. Here are the last seven generations of Namibians today:
The Misled/Misguided Generation: One of the disadvantages of post-colonial Afrika is the notion that our existence is a consequence of European colonialism. This suggests that the Afrikan people were not there before colonisation and therefore cannot have an existence without having been colonised. Post-independence Afrikan leaders are master magicians at making their nations totally beholden to them for dear life. Most of us have been misled by this distortion of history, so much so that we are stuck in the Us versus Them dilemma of independence politics. We forget that we had a history before colonisation and which history is the main source of our power and relevance. We are so misled that our identity is wrapped up in the claims, false or true, of the struggle, which lasted less than 50 years. Until we find ourselves properly, we shall continue to be misled by greedy powerpreneurs.
The Missing Generation: In the life of any community or nation, there are stories that show gaps or marginalisation of certain sectors of certain entities. The absence of the voices of such essential components makes the nation incomplete. In the past black people were the missing generation in national politics. Today the so-called born frees are the missing generation, as they are neither here nor there, neither old enough to have a voice, nor confident enough to assert itself, for fear of being ridiculed not to have been part of the liberation struggle. Yet, without their participation, planning and strategies about the future are incomplete. The Silent Generation: At any given point in the trajectory of national governance, there are always marginalised voices that are rendered silent, at least for some time. It is more often than not the silent members who make stronger voices later and may even emerge triumphant. The history of Southern Afrika was altered a great deal by the silent generation of the time, the youth, particularly the high school students of Soweto in June 1976. Silent generations often move to the back and regroup, only to emerge louder as underdogs and better poised as victors. In our time, the silent generation is the white population, especially young white citizens who feel encumbered by the sins of their forefathers and who will have a voice one day. No group stays silent forever.
The Fake generation: In God’s creation of things, there are always weeds and bad predatory herbs and animals amongst the good. These bad elements are important variables so that a distinction is made between the good, the bad and the ugly. In political histories, there are always people who falsify their own narratives to fit the circumstances. In today’s Namibia these are people who are politicians who joined SWAPO at half-past-midnight and are very militant scarf-bearers of the governing party. They are also intolerant of different perspectives of national politics. Their enthusiasm includes falsification of their contributions, with fake claims that they fought for this country, that they liberated this country, and even died for this country – while they are still alive! Their oozy political commitment is tantamount to boiling a silk SWAPO scarf and having it for soup.The Ridiculous Generation: There are people in our body politic today who are so phony that they choose to forget what everyone else cannot forget, namely that they were on the opposite side of the liberation struggle – for pay. Now they are the hangmen of those who stand for constitutional freedoms – also for pay. In the end, nobody takes them seriously and they cannot take themselves seriously either. These are zombies in the true sense of the word.
The Militant Generation: History would be boring and without valour if there was no moment of marvellous militancy, for better or for worse. Oftentimes, it is the militant voice that brings out the critical importance and essentiality of the middle or reasonable voice. It is when there are possibilities of radical options that make people move towards the common centre. The militant generation enunciates what is too ghastly for the moment, so that the reasonable becomes the best option.
Unfortunately in Namibia’s political options, there has not been a militant scenario offered, as yet. Maybe this is why we are stuck today in the politics of greed, mindlessness and one-upmanship, and seem to be going nowhere very slowly.
The Our-Time-to-Eat Generation: The context of our greed and corruption in the public sector can be attributed to the culture that has evolved after independence. Before 1990, people, especially the young people who sacrificed everything to participate in the struggle for national independence, did what they did not for gain, but to bring about a better Namibia – for all.
That is all gone. Now we get involved in most things to obtain wealth or fame. This banality has reached the levels where we feel entitled to eat first as a tribe, party, religion, or any criterion that gives us an advantage over another Namibian. This, sadly, is the tale of most post-independence Afrikan nations south of the Sahara, where the politics of the belly is far more important than the ethics of good governance.