Being a post-war or post-apartheid child means being born to find things or a status quo here that we will never understand. But the most controversial is; “we want back what is ours”.
For starters, we know nothing about walking over five kilometres to school or going days without meals. We may never know the sound a grenade makes when it goes off, or the sound of a skull shuttering after a bullet hits it. But what we very much know about is the social toxic waste the war has since left behind.
A week ago, an opinion piece was circulated on Facebook about Namibia; a country for non-Namibians. The article leaned towards topics regarding the richest parts of the land being occupied by non-Namibians, street names being non-Namibian, buildings in towns like Swakopmund mimicking those in Western Europe, as well as the best of resources being controlled by non-Namibians.
My questions are: What can we do to get back whatever is ours? What is ours, in the first place? Who is ‘us’ (Namibians)?
When we throw around the ideas of taking back what is ours, are we talking about owning the railways our grandfathers built? Owning the mines our grandfathers worked hard in? Taking the land, which our mothers ploughed on, or the fields/plantations our mothers made to flourish?
Who is ‘us’? Are we referring to every human being born in Namibia; every human being born to Namibian parents; or every human being who is a descent of the non-European/white Namibians? Or do we mean liberation struggle fighters and their descendents and/or everyone who was affected by the war?
According to my understand, there is a special piece of paper that the elders signed, promising the world not to grab land from our oppressors like savages and not to be the new oppressors of our former oppressors. The dilemma, therefore is; we need the resources that are in the hands of our oppressors’ decedents. But how do we go about that without violating the agreements our forefathers signed on that special piece of paper?
Yes, we can’t break our promise, particularly because that would probably cause more harm to this generation than good. But even if the generation after the next could gain a lot from doing so, more good could still come from “taking what is ours”. However, that “good” would only be visible in about 50 to 100 years, when this and the next generation after this no longer exist.
Is this generation willing to make the sacrifice? I certainly am not. I like to have access to the nice resources we get from being the borders. However, I would very much like to see more Namibian resources in the hands of Namibians, being used to benefit everyone in every corner of the country. Is that possible? I don’t know; you tell me.
When we get “what is ours”, who is to say that it won’t be divided amongst the elite, only to be squandered like everything else? If there is something I know we are good at, it is sugar-coated corruption. Now I am just saying!