AFTER reading the article by Namibia’s former Chief of the Defence Force, titled The connotation of marginalisation and its practice, published last week, I could not believe what I was reading. Is Ndaitwah asking if Namibia still has marginalised communities?
The answer is a resounding “yes”. Unquestionably, Namibia has tons of marginalised communities. Think of the San community.
Surely, that is the equivalence of asking if Namibia still has poor people. According to the English dictionary, marginalisation is “to treat people as insignificant”.
Don’t they say action speaks louder than words? Or is the retired army general just playing with semantics?
Scrapping a piece of legislation that was discriminatory in nature does not de-marginalise the previously disadvantaged communities. Or after 27 years of independence, what has changed with Namibia’s previously marginalised communities, if not a few black elites that play bourgeoisie?
Even if there is no government policy supporting the marginalisation of any community, the inaction to address such societal imbalance is a curse by itself. The government is to blame!
For those still struggling with what marginalisation means, such people must take a walk around any informal settlement in Namibia and see the mushrooming squatter camps.
If that is not enough, one must visit communities and villages that have never known what a toilet pot is, let alone proper sanitation and running water. Don’t we have such communities in our midst?
Schools are no exception, as some are in a deplorable state of affairs, where students sleep in dilapidated buildings with no lights, no proper beds, no proper meals, no proper clothes, with their conditions compounded by the scariest unhygienic environment.
How about all those university students lining up for possible student loans, but can’t be accommodated by the government of the day. Are they not marginalised?
Is it fair when the well-off and well-connected can be given scholarships, while the poor – call them marginalised students – must slaughter or sell their only livestock to pay tuition and squat with friends on campus for years?
Certainly, it’s no accident that Namibia has been classified as one of the most unequal societies in the world. In a country so rich, thousands of its inhabitants live in poverty. Ashamedly, many go hungry for days or are made to go to the dumpsters and rummage through the dirt, just to get a piece of bread.
For those thinking otherwise, one must visit all those unfortunate pregnant Namibian women housed in some sort of ‘camp’ in the North, waiting to deliver babies. Are those not the face of marginalisation – made to live as if they are in a refugee camp in their own country? Or what about the children of the liberation struggle living in bushes?
Undoubtedly, just working with that simple definition, one would come up with countless of examples of marginalised communities in Namibia.
As for Affirmative Action, what positive impact has that brought to Namibia’s toiling masses? Zero! The wealth is still in the hands of the few, so shall it be for a thousand years more to come. If Affirmative Action was meant to serve anything, it has outlived its purpose. It is redundant! A also reason that some white folks will also feel marginalised.
Now, think of Namibia’s job industry, with some communities feeling marginalised, as a result of no employment, no promotions and no tenders. This is all skewed to favour the few. When some individuals or groups of people are sidelined, that is marginalisation.
Winding up, take a second look at the Namibian parliament and see who is represented in that August House. Even though we shout One Namibia, One Nation, look at the Namibian Cabinet and tell me if all Namibians are fairly represented in the corridors of power. The results might be stunning!
Unfortunately, when communities become marginalised, they lose their voice. No one speaks for them. That is happening in Namibia. This is the reason so much activism is on the rise. People become fed-up of been marginalised.
In conclusion, if anything, Namibian elites must be living in a fool’s paradise, where they believe that no Namibian is marginalised. Pathetic!
*Mulife Muchali is PhD student in Canada
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015