“Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes.” This is a priceless line spoken by great philosopher Galileo after he recanted torture by the papal authorities in Bertolt Brecht’s play ‘The Life of Galileo.’ The sentiment can be equally hard to avoid in many parts of Africa today.

Namibia celebrates Heroes’ Day on August 26 in order to pay homage to the great personalities who struggled and ultimately sacrificed their lives in the country’s liberation war. So, it is very important to know why they deserve the entitlement.

Heroes’ Day is the day celebrated to honour the heroes of the nation, those who have sacrificed their lives from August 26 1966 when the first shot was fired, to those who have done something great for this nation to this day.

Coincidentally, most of Namibia’s current leaders are born in the month we celebrate Heroes’ Day. In this month’s edition, we talk to living heroes; we interview their families to find out the “story behind their story.”

President Hifikepunye Pohamba, Prime Minister Nahas Angula, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, Hon. Nangolo Mbumba, Hon. John Mutorwa, Hon. Hage Geingob among those who subordinated their personal interests to the collective interest of Namibia, are all one year older this month.

These of course are not the only heroes Namibia has, but there is something special about August, something special about Leo people. Legend and Horoscope has it that Leo people are born to rule, they are the lions, with a birthright to rule.

At 20 years of independence, Prime Focus saw it fit to recognise such living legends and thank them for their contribution to this nation. It is true; a nation that forgets its history, its heroes and heroines is like a tree without roots. A nation that waits to honour its heroes once they are dead is like a village that only realises the worthiness of a river when it’s dry.

After the great struggle, the nation got its independence and people celebrated this great day with excitement and joy.

There are few Namibians, who face the challenge of life and stand out of the crowd to be called ‘Heroes.’

These are heroes excelling on the social, educational and other fronts, doing great works for the betterment of our lives. The list is endless as it includes others born in different months, although we focus on those born in August this month.

From interviews with heroes of the armed struggle, it emerged that although a gun is a weapon that takes you where you want to go, education is the key. Basically, all of the immediate families of the heroes interviewed in this edition gave special mention of how our heroes still yearn for more education.

However, disheartening is the fact that the burial ground for our gallant sons and daughters lies in isolation. There is no education and interests from locals to visit and know more about the national shrine.

Figures at the National Heritage Council show that Namibians barely visit the shrine; neither do they have much knowledge of its sacredness.

There is an urgent need to market the national shrine as a tourist destination, as an educational tool for schools to help the future generation, as a place where Namibia’s future draws inspitration from.

Conclusively, as this generation of armed struggle heroes is taken over by time, there are those selfless Namibians, who have rescued the country from today’s vicissitudes who need to be honoured every day. There is a new breed of national heroes alongside our liberators, these we must honour, no matter when they were born.PF