About two weeks ago, we advised the powers that be to urgently address the simmering issues especially in the south of the country. We pointed out that the anger over land and all the discorded voices calling for the return of their ancestral land would, if misunderstood, lead to a spark that could destroy this country.
Although we did not exactly say it that way, we said something like that. We are saying again that any fool will dismiss the clashes at Keetmanshoop as just some other disturbances. The Oshiwambo and Nama people who fought at Keetmanshoop last Saturday have been neighbours for years.
There have been thefts going on there over all these years. Yet none of them took sides according to their tribe. These people have stood together in death and happiness. There is no doubt that their children attend same schools. They also, most probably, work at same companies. Yet they never fought over a theft.
While most people would want to dismiss this as just another fight, we see it as a sign of bad times to come if nothing is done. Fires do not start big but grow with time to destroy whole forests. Tribal hatred is any easy seed to sow. Imagine how the children who saw the fight and heard the words said during the tribal fights at Keetmanshoop feel. What are they thinking? These are children who have been growing up oblivious of their tribal roots. These are the children who have been growing up in the belief that they are Namibians.
They see in other children just people who need to be loved. Then the tribal clashes come to obliterate this innocence. Tribalism is like a hard nut which cannot withstand impact once it is cracked. What happened at Keetmanshoop could just be that crack Namibians were scared of causing. We would also be daft if we distance these clashes from the calls for land that have been going on in the south.
We are not saying that anybody called on these people to fight each other but that the idea that they are different people could have been enhanced then. The Namas are obviously livid that their ancestral land is being taken away by the Wambos. They hear this being said quite often today and then the next thing is that the Nama blame the Wambos for all their problems today. This is where tribal wars start hence our belief that the Keetmanshoop incident should not be dismissed with a wave of the hand or a shake of the head. There is need for serious healing to keep the nation intact.