AFRICA has had many admirable men and women who walked tall on the political landscape and distinguished themselves as leaders of note. Their deeds, their characters, and the way they carried the challenge of political leadership on their shoulders made them giants whose names will never be forgotten by posterity.
They paved the way, bequeathing to the future generations the right to rule themselves, the authority to make their own laws, the ability to build their own countries, the power to determine their own destiny.
Unfortunately it is clear that not only are their life-stories not being recorded in books to be preserved and be of great use to the future generations, but a terrible amount of learned information passes away in the night wasted with each soul of them as they leave this earth.
And worse of all, the information they go with to the grave is not the kind of information one would usually find at university or other institutions of learning, but the information that ordinary people pick up here and there on their way to performing extraordinary tasks in their public lives; not the knowledge available at prestigious international schools of higher education, but the wisdom that an African man or woman acquires from the political terrain of modern times.
Recently the passing of Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab robbed Namibia and the entire African continent of an illustrious son. Not a long time ago we were robbed of our icon Andimba Toivo yaToivo.
The heartbreaking thing about it is not that these political giants had to die – for dying is a natural phase. Rather the sad part has to do with the loss to the Namibian people in that these leaders did not write books about their lives and the task they carried on their shoulders.
It is important and necessary that our political leaders must write their autobiographies. This is the only way they will be able to be “alive” for generations after they left this earth. A leader never dies who has penned his life-story.
Even two hundred years from today, children will study the lives of the founding fathers and mothers, the very people who wrote the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia and nurtured the young nation in the cutthroat competitive world. And the children will do this by reading books written by those leaders. So that it will be a sad thing for posterity if there would not be such autobiographies available.
Scholars and students of political science at the University of Namibia will also benefit. Leaders such as Gurirab and Ya Toivo were the embodiment of honesty, character and commitment to the public task entrusted to them by the Namibian people, so that reading about their lives would have been a rewarding experience for anybody interested in the progress of the Namibian nation.
Alternatively, politicians can make arrangements for professional writers to write their biographies. An autobiography is a book which you write yourself about your life. But it is a reality that most political leaders do not have time, energy and know-how to write their own autobiographies.
So that there is always a provision for a biography – which is a book written by someone else about your life. Writing about your life or having someone else write it for you is a mammoth task, but it is highly rewarding.
My appeal goes to our leaders to seriously consider writing their books. This way our leaders will do a great service to the future generations of Namibia and Africa at large.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015