WHY THEY SAY WHAT THEY SAY
VERY often in life you come across people who invent or coin words. Others compose beautiful songs, poems and phrases. Some of them are credited and others remain anonymous. Either way, their legacy lives on.
The month of August is a period during which “primitive Namibians” turned violent towards aggressors and transgressors. Before then, Namibians were described as “backwards and primitive with no capacity to mount resistance against any indoctrination.” Thus wonderful, peaceful with calm attitude and very accommodative.
They became known for their “hospitality and caring hands.”At least that is what the early spies informed their masters back in the West when they landed on the Namibian shores. Make no mistake, there were Namibians who helped them to shape that belief. You call them collaborators. Let their souls rest in eternal peace.
The Villager would like to pay tribute and homage to the people of the South and Bantus in the north who despite many odds against them fought the enemy forces and won. Their phrases and writing inspired forces to soldier on. Among them, “Ada !kham ra se //o” (Let us die fighting) (Hendrik Witbooi) and “Namibian land belongs to Namibians” (Hosea Kutako). That was during the era of chiefs and kings. To The Villager, that was the era when Namibians counted each other as equals without being bound by a constitution. The era of mukweni muuvila ta pi (when solidarity came natural).
Enter the sixties inspired by liberation movements all over the world. “The struggle is going to be long and bitter” (Herman Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo), “We shall cross the rivers of blood” (Peter Nanyemba), Sam Nujoma: A people united for a common goal shall never be defeated, and “Nokusa okegumbo” (colonialism and death is the same) (anonymous).
This is the era when Namibians linked up with the Angolan forces and the phrase Aluta Continua became the beacon of hope. That is more or less when Namibians made it to the USA of Malcolm X and Martin Luther Jr. To be politically correct, “we shall overcome” movement won the hearts and minds of Namibian refugees. One would have thought they would lean more towards the “by any means necessary” wave. Timing was crucial. The leadership crisis within the latter at the time was not helpful either.
These villagers from Namibia used many tricks to survive in the USA. The Villagers’ favourite is when one of them threw himself in the Olympic size swimming pool trying to impress a lady only to be rescued from drowning. And the last time The Villager checked, that was his last attempt to swim. Indeed, men have their own version on how they courted their first sweethearts.
Back to the subject, the truth is edhina Iyokambwa okumukweni ho li monene (do not reinvent the wheel). Thus there is nothing wrong to hear the current generation borrowing phrases from yester-year’s generation. After all, that is part of what makes us unique as Namibians. But, have we bothered to find out why they say what they say?
But what does that have to do with the topic? Unless The Villager lives in a small circle, he continues to hear the same slogans to an extent that they have become part of day-to-day greetings. The Villager recently was greeted by a unionist and replied by saying, ‘Aluta Continua’ with a ‘mannietjie in the air’! The Villager played into the hands of the unionist. He thought it was the right time for him to find out what is meant by the same in a 20 year old Namibia.
The discussion went something like this:
Comrade, what do you mean by Aluta Continua? “The struggle for economic independence continues,” he said.
”Yes we have achieved the political power but the economy is still in the hands of the white minority, fumed The Villager.
Thus it makes sense for us to remind ourselves that the struggle is incomplete without economic power.
“But Comma, as much as I agree with you, I think that is not your place as a leader”. I would have expected you as leader to impart some positive vibes on hard work and smart work as the “Cool President” always encourages us to do.
That is the only way we can learn the ropes of business, he says. Our ancestors learned by doing and here we are today as a free people politically. Sensing that The Villager was not getting the message, the Unionist went further to say, think of it this way, when Sam Nujoma commanded those boys at Omugulugwombashe, he knew that he was just planting a seed for an independent Namibia, he educated further.
That was the last time The Villager took phrases and slogans used during the struggle out of his daily greetings and start doing with a purpose, as Tate Buti would put it.
The Villager was fortunate to have witnessed a historical dinner of the 50th Anniversary of SWAPO Party. The ever energetic Ndilimani Cultural Troupe pumped a jazz version of the song, Gun Smoker. The Villager has a way of misbehaving whenever he hears the song. It has a way of taking him to places he has never been to; to introduce him to people he has never met before, to appreciate things he has never seen, to live a life he has never lived. Experience the omnipresence of those “whose blood waters our freedom.”
Gun Smoker has a way of reducing him and mirror the television images of a North Korean soccer star struggling to sing his national anthem before the kick off of their match against Brazil. He was the most televised individual player during the singing of the national anthems throughout the just ended FIFA World Cup tournament. He made history.
Overcome by emotions, The Villager enquired from yesteryear’s PLAN combatants as to what happened in the life of the soldier who composed Gun Smoker. The excitement in their eyes as they went back in memory lane made The Villager appreciate the brain that composed the song. You should have been there to appreciate how big men can change from excitement to joining the Korean soccer star before the song could fade out. That moment and a followed up session served as a counselling session to both ex-PLAN combatants and The Villager. Indeed, talking is therapy.
It helped The Villager to understand and concur with the “Cool President” that the leaders of yester-year whether in commerce, education, politics, military, education and traditional should go around the Land of the Brave to tell their stories. And yes, the intellectuals should write and write and write and write for the sake of tomorrow. Namibia need to have its own references as told by people who where there. That would provide us with enough time to correct where others would have mixed up events through old age. That is also the only way we can avoid over or under playing our role in the liberation of our motherland. Despite the fact that Namibia was a colony of South Africa, her independence gave birth to a democratic South Africa and also signaled the end of The Cold War.
It’s The Villagers’ contention that songs like Gun Smoker should not only be translated into the official language and possibly all the vernaculars for people to appreciate the intellect that went into composing it. But the people should be educated as to why it was composed.
The Villager deliberately did not share the discussion in details with the readers just like he avoided translating the song. Equally The Villager’s eye sockets are too watery to pen the lyrics of Gun Smokers even though the melody still lingers. The point is: Ngee nge ito li ndulu li efa ngo lile kookolola. The sad thing is: the composer and author is not known.
The Villagers’ wish and hope is that next time we will understand and appreciate among them phrases like Aluta Continua and We Shall Overcome. They are scared.The legacy of those who departed for the liberation of this country lives on. Surely their blood waters our freedom. August 26 has become a day that each and every patriotic Namibian has come to commemorate. That is the bravery of all Namibian heroes: dead or alive. It’s a day we remind them that, they are still and forever will be in our thoughts.Thier legacy is safe with our generation.
Their spirit still lives within us. But hold on a second. We commemorate this day through song and dance. But lest we forget, we are liberated politically. We are still fighting another war. This war is no longer a war of guns, and we are not going to fight this war in the bush. This war is the ECONOMIC WAR.
This is a war of the brain.
This war is about adding 2 + 2 to get 5. This war has rules and principles to be followed; otherwise one will have problems with Captain Noa and crew. And tell you what! The departed ones will be grateful to you if you make strides in winning this war. Fellow Namibians, it is now time to pay back to the departed ones through economic prosperity.
They have played their part in liberating Namibia. Now it is up to you to pay them back by being productive citizens who will always endeavour to continue where others left off. Participate in all sectors of the economy (the laws of the land allow us to do so). Those who still possess the energy get involved and participate in all sports activities, make use of their talents, explore the beauty of Namibia and above all carry the banner of Namibia much higher. In Latin they say, “Tot fancienda parum factum” meaning, “So much to do, so little done.” Remember this when you wake up in the morning. It is not a crime to be wealthy; intellectually or financially. After all, that’s what they died for. The fact is: Ondjila yetu oyile, tayi pula eudafano. So long! PF