In a few days’ time Namibia will commemorate Heroes Day, a day synonymous for all African countries that went through a liberation struggle to attain independence.
Even better, these days Heroes Day is no longer associated with just liberation war heroes and heroins alone, but also the thousands of unsung Namibian heroes and heroines who are doing their bit to make sure that Namibia moves forward and becomes a better place for all its citizens and future generations.
This is a day set aside for honouring the heroic lives of those that have played their parts to make Africa a better place for its people, and include those that have lost their lives, be they famous or not, and those that are alive, whether they occupy prestigious positions or not. Indeed appreciation is due to those that made such sacrifices.
Perhaps what needs an eagle’s eye view and scrutiny is whether 26 years after independence, Namibia as a country has managed to make the best of what some died for, and whether the country has created better living conditions for those that survived the war.
It is no mean feat to dodge bullets or leave home in your teenage years and commit to a cause of liberating your land without having a clue of whether your beliefs are worth pursuing or not. In fact, a number of modern youth would think twice before engaging such a journey.
There is certainly a need to do some soul searching and to craft policies that makes sure that those Namibians that made such sacrifices then are living a life worth mentioning. Not so long ago disturbing news circulated depicting some of the liberation war stalwarts living deplorable lives. The Government came up with a noble idea of creating a ministry responsible for taking care of the veterans.
It is also worth mentioning that the very same ministry, which resorts under the Vice President’s office has also made an effort to create a financial support scheme programme aimed at emancipating liberation war veterans.
According to the veterans ministry close to 10 000 former liberation war fighters have so far benefited from the N$1.9 billion availed by Government since 2008 to bankroll the Individual Veterans Projects (IVPs) meant to give former fighters an opportunity to have income generating projects for their economic sustenance.
In addition 29 359 people have been accorded veterans status since registration commenced in 2008. Of these number 13 423 are women while 15 936 are men.
The Veterans Ministry also told The Villager recently that registered war veterans who were involved in the liberation war as from 1958 to 1986 are entitled to a sum of N$50 000 in cash and veterans that those that played their part as from 1986 to 1989 when the liberation struggle ended are entitled to N$20 00 in cash.
Zooming into all these manoeuvres one would appreciate efforts being made but obviously there is that need to do more. It will also be imperative to know that while all citizens need to enjoy the full benefits of the fruits of their country, it also does not augur well for Government to have flying headlines about the wellfare of only some of those that contributed to the freedom enjoyed today.
There is also a worrisome trend developing concerning the holiday that honours our heroes. Watching NBC TV one day, it was shocking to note that a number of people interviewed in a vox pop could not even remember when Heroes Day is celebrated. Perhaps what is important is to note that while some people could forget about such holidays for reasons better known to themselves it is unfortunate that an adult Namibia cannot remember the day on which Heroes Day is celebrated.
Challenges like this only points out that a few individuals are not serious about knowing their history. While it is imperative that as a country we move forward and come up with better ideas, it is certainly unforgivable that a Namibian of repute can claim not remember when Heroes Day is commemorated.