Juggling opinions on Namibia

By Kelvin Chiringa
August 2016
Prime Business

Pending comments from The Nama Traditional Leaders Association
Namibia, in a figurative sense bordering on the celestial is a galactic embodiment that has, in its recent past, harboured a constellation within which is found an array of colourful and vibrant cultures.
This cocktail of diversity makes the integral Namibian whole, held together by the manacles of tolerance, respect for civil rights, tolerance and a functional democracy which have all built the Namibian house into a shining flower of freedom for its neighbours and the world at large.  

 In Namibia, the individual is based on what society mirrors itself to be, hence the injunction that “I am because you are” in this case holds much water.

Yet this cosmetic pampered face of Namibian society suffers within its skin a silent gangrene that the people have come to live with for the sake of progress, certain life aspects remain unquestioned not because the answers have gone suddenly extinct, but because nobody has time to provide answers to questions whose answers the next person is likely not to invest the ear in.
And thus it brings us to the very core of the LGBT sub-culture that has visibly existed within society, trudging through the scourge of diverse perceptions and invisibly yet precariously positioned at the mercy of societal norms and values.

As an exclaimer, this article does not therefore stand to sympathize with the LGBT movements and all it stands for, nor does it put itself in the compromising position subjecting the same to scything stereotypes which would paradoxically defeat the whole purpose of responsible journalism

Rather, it seeks to create a rapport for the manifestation of dialogue bordering on the diversity of perceptions and changing attitudes towards lesbian women, gay men, transgender and cross dressers MSM and WSM.

Clearly Namibia just like any post-colonial nation sees itself caught in between the conservative ideology demanded by the gods of the past and on the other hand, the phenomenon of neo-liberalism demanded by the new gods.
As such this invite questions which will burn right across this article’s syntax and that is, what language does the pioneering democracy in Namibia speak to individuals outside the mainstream socio-cultural make-up and if liberty and equality are the garb and banner of social progress and harmony, does this equally translates to all irrespective of sexual orientation and identity?

Of course, the complexity of these probing and daring questions invites emotions which make it all the more difficult to come to one answer and the solution is then for the writer to remove the self from providing input to the discourse other than more questions to opinion leaders of diverse backgrounds and steering the ship of opinion steadily through the entire voyage.

“We have to approach this subject from the background where we ask ourselves what is happening on the ground as opposed to what must be happening, asking gay men and women what is it actually like for them. When people were being oppressed in South Africa, we needed to ask Black people, “What is it like for you to be oppressed?” begins Namibia Rain Dance Theatre Choreographer Haymich Olivier.

Sociological pundits are of the perception that the institution of Religion plays a fundamental role to unleash its noble function to advocate for social coercion and what I implies is, playing the overarching role of tightly knitting up the social fibre in pursuit of social good.

Yet religion is a social construct which plays within the washbasin of its own rules based on what is emphasized as cardinal by the forces of dogma, doctrine and tradition, to that end it is inevitable to probe who exactly does religion unite and how does the uniting process exhibit itself?

“In this age, as religious figureheads, we are faced with the challenge of stepping outside the bible in order to preach the gospel of love for all and consequently unity. Our job is to lead and as such you get to find out that you are leading a flock composing of individuals from different sexual orientations,” says Bishop Upi of the Protestant Unity Church.

Yet as liberal and post-modernist sounding as these sentiments are, religion itself holds fundamental scripture-bound belief systems which negate homosexuality in all its respects, stemming from the fact that the unwritten laws of nature are brought to humanity from an infallible superior deity.

To quickly rubbish such sentiments would be regarded as subjectivity as well since these have remained the beliefs of mainstream culture that have wielded a collective conscience which has united people for a time that spans centuries of human existence.

“What we are doing at the Warehouse Theatre is that we are creating a platform where people from all walks of life can mix, so it is more than a place, it is not a business as such for me it’s an educative platform as well that mingles arts and culture based tolerance,” says Warehouse Theatre owner Mike…..(Surname to be submitted)
In juggling these opinions within the courtyard of this discourse therefore, it comes back to triggering a probe that questions the very legitimacy and sagacity of uniting a particular sect of people against another.

“If you look at religion, it has and is currently dividing people, religion needs to ask itself what have we been doing for humanity, what is the truth about us, we cling to certain things that we say are in the bible, has it made us lose our humanity and  our compassion, have we created a segregated society?” probes  Olivier.
The fact still remains that the essence of homosexuality brings to the fore of society alien norms and values that daringly challenges the nature of the mainstream societal collective conscience which puts the “straight” individual in a position far from comfortability.

This therefore becomes the nature of humanity, an energy that responds to the not so familiar, registering a sense of confusion, dislike and shock on the basis that the new not so familiar energy is invading the or finding space in the familiar.

Confronted then with a harmless foreign ideology, this energy becomes society’s strength in that it, like a reflex, directly asserts its own belief system and reinforces it, yet at the same time it becomes society’s downfall when a people fail to exercise the enshrined virtue and spirit of celebrating diversity without compromising identity.

Yet for Namibia, the law does not react violently to issues of sensitivity, the policy maker recoils in a cocoon as society shapes itself by embracing what would be otherwise deviant.
“The Namibian Bill of Rights protects the fundamental rights and freedoms of its citizens, and article 31 and 32 of the constitution provides that these rights cannot be amended in any way that diminishes and detracts from the fundamental rights and freedoms contained in it,” says Honorable Mayor of Keetmanshoop Gaudentia Krohn.