AT times, life can bombard us from all directions and on all levels.
Individuals, families, communities or nations can easily fall into the trap of complaining or forgetting where we really came from.
It is our conscious decision to diligently reflect on our life’s journey that jolts us into remembering to be grateful, first of all for the gift of life – your own life and the lives of the rest of mankind, you share your existence with.
I have learnt in my short 52 years on this planet that unless outright evil, such as colonial apartheid is perpetrated, constant, unrelenting criticism can lead to outright hatred if not kept in check. As children of the revolution, we fought for the right to say our say and to be heard, lest we resort to extreme measures, which in yesteryear were deployed to make things totally ungovernable, by whatever means at our disposal.
Through the wise counsel and astute leadership of our elders, this is a trait we have had to undo in our minds and actions, as individuals and as a collective, in order to play a meaningful and responsible role in building a new society from scratch, out of the doldrums of the racist, unholy apartheid colonial system, which subjugated not only our physical existence, but our very souls, through squeezing our minds into moulds of thinking that advanced the cause of the oppressors.
There have been so many negative issues, such as corruption and/or the mismanagement of resources in certain quarters that have dominated our headlines and we have simply almost totally forgotten the good side of the bad things we are focusing on. The badness of our existence as a nation, if focused on all the time, has a way of morphing into a razor sharp knife that can divide us right to the lowest common denominator – the family unit. Being fixated on negatives or badness has a way of becoming like a thick London winter fog, depriving us of seeing the beauty of life, as only beauty knows how to present itself.
I believe it is the strength, the resilience, the sheer determination of the human spirit to improve and extend life, which is at the end of the day, the most exciting and motivating factor to celebrate life as an optimist, by declaring that we might not be where we want to be right now, but we sure are not where we were in the not so distant past.
As a husband, a father, a teacher, a preacher, an activist, a business person and a human being, I have had to stop, sit quietly and take stock of what really matters in life, and whether we as a people are advancing or merely scrambling in the dark, like headless chickens, trying to make sense of our lives.
I have had to assess the terms, tags and emotions of anger, frustration, disappointment, anxiety, worry, confrontation, conflict and strife, against the serenity of wholesome peace and tranquillity in my heart in the middle of storms, by reminding myself to be grateful.
Namibia, not so long ago, was a country with a colonial name and surname, South West Africa. It is beautiful country with such amazing people, that I had to marry a Namibian 30 years ago, and totally embrace my new home, which was fighting the same ravenous devil that saw many of us in the country of my birth (South Africa), being turned into skilled killing machines at every possible level, due to the violence of apartheid that was driven by outright institutionalised hatred of one race for the rest, who happened to actually be the indigenous people.
There is a statement among many other insightful ones of historical truth, made by Honourable Ben Amadhila at the recent public lecture he gave on 27 May at the Swapo Party School that I will never ever forget for the rest of my life.
It is the fact that the struggle for freedom in Namibia was formerly started by the children of peasants. That hit home so hard that it poetically drew me to the window of my heart, forcing me to look over the balcony of life, so that I have no choice but to celebrate with deep gratitude the fact that God has raised me up and made me an intricate part of so great a people, who are extravagantly oozing a history to be proud.
The setting up of a government based on democratic principles from 1990, through the establishment of different institutions that would have to be managed and run by a well-trained cadres of skilled professionals, and would be able to immediately compete and contend with neighbours and the rest of the international community, which had a head start, cannot be rubbished and taken for granted.
In my mind’s eye, I dare to imagine seeing God sitting back and saying, “Let me see how they are going to put this together.”
Whilst infrastructure was there, it was mainly set in place to serve the military occupation of the day. We all know who and what the economy of South West Africa served. There was really anything in State coffers in 1990, to start building anything of significance. What we had was sheer determination, vision and foresight, to build a nation driven by the euphoria of freedom.
The overhauling of the entire system, which was basically federalised to perpetuate colonialism, did not only demand cosmetic dismantling, but the need to assist the population to understand that we are ‘One Namibia, one nation’. The entire economy of Namibia had to be owned by Namibia, a task not yet completed, when we look at what economic activities still dominate the country, and by whom.
I worked in the education sector; needless to say that in 1990, it was as crucial a ministry as it is today, because it meant introducing an entirely new system of education, including developing an internationally recognised lingua franca.
There were the students who returned from having studied Maestro Primaria in Cuba, whom I had the pleasure of orientating through a UNIN program run at Karibib. There was the setting up of the Public Service Commission. These were exciting times, as the sense of newness filled the atmosphere. Everything was a new challenge, but praise God; people had been thoroughly trained all over the world and prepared for the day.
Many of us, who had actively participated in the struggle for freedom, both in Namibia and South Africa, although still hurting and somewhat bitter, were encouraged by the fact that the leaders at the helm are our leaders.
The people’s leaders had one primary objective dominating their minds, and that was to see the people enjoying the fruits of political freedom, through stability and peace. In fact, it was the implementation of the concept of national reconciliation, adopted by the leaders, that to a certain extent helped to tame tempers and soberly address the daunting task of building a unified nation out of unspeakable and unimaginable pain.
National pride and a heightened sense of purpose, driven by an energetic population and guided by the experienced and smart hands of seasoned revolutionary politicians, diplomats, academics, economists, traditional, community and church leaders, permeated the atmosphere.
The winds of change blew away all unnecessary and misguided resistance, as the road to peace, stability and economic emancipation in Namibia was carved and continues to be carved, through the flatlands, the valleys and the mountains, as time unfolds.
In spite of the wobbles, speed bumps and potholes that have been miscalculated or neglected, Namibia remains one of the fifth safest countries in the world to raise your child.
Namibia enjoys peace, a peace which cannot be bought, but is sought even in the midst of a season of great economic storms. Our leaders, praise God, who started the journey of the Namibian nation, are still alive, although many have also gone to be counted into the ages.
I realised that instead of hammering those of us who have blundered for many reasons, known and unknown, the need to reason, to hold accountable and to rehabilitate far outweighs any justification of getting back at each other, with the sole aim of destroying one another, when in fact we should all take the blame, if blame should be taken. The most beautiful thing about Namibia is that the institutions work and do their best to serve the nation, except where human slothfulness rears its ugly head.
As a scholar of the Bible, it’s been through the reading of the story of Joseph in Genesis and the chronicled lives of David and Solomon in the books of Kings that I am informed, instructed and directed to weigh the present, and what it presents, and the impact of the type of redress to the future, and how history will judge us.
The one assurance we have in our country is that there are established and ever-improving checks and balances in place. Yes, there are some among those who were entrusted with the responsibility of growing the economy by developing infrastructure and marketing precious natural resources, who most definitely forgot to continuously recite the section in the Lord’s Prayer which says, “… and lead us not into temptation.”
The consequences of falling into temptation, which I believe we can all attest to, are very devastating and far-reaching, even to the second, third and fourth generation.
When all is said and done, and I look at Vision 2030, NDP5 and the Harambee Prosperity Plan, the nation has a solid vision; it’s a matter of, as President Hage Geingob said in his State of the Nation Address, of REDEDICATING ourselves to making Namibia thrive, to be celebrated as a success story.
God bless Namibia, God bless Africa and God bless mankind!
*This letter was penned by Apostle Marson Sharpley
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015