The government has had a lot of criticism with regard to its care of its citizens over the years. Some of the criticism is fair. The government has a responsibility towards its people. However people also have a responsibility towards their nation.
Today I want to write about what independence means to me as a Namibian. Our country was quite late in receiving its independence, so we learned from the mistakes that other countries made after their independence. We didn’t indulge in witch-hunts to punish those that were deemed collaborators with the previous regime. And that is a good thing. The war was long and bitter and turned brother against brother. While national reconciliation did not heal all the wounds, it made the progress to become a democratic state easier.
Despite huge challenges, our democracy is still healthy and vibrant. We have relatively good roads and schools. And our judiciary is still independent. There are a lot of things giving me hope for the future for our country. When the deputy minister of youth ranted against certain tribes, the Namibian people did not go riot in the streets. They debated the issues in an adult manner. Despite corruption being prevalent, there still are honest politicians in the cabinet and parliament. Men and women who have ethics to profit from the sweat of their own labour. And instead of being discouraged by the President’s attack on the youth, I see it as a sign that the youth, even in the SWAPO Youth League are concerned enough about the country to speak out against the elders. Yes, I would like more civility in our discourse as a nation, but as long as we are talking, there is hope.
In the end the responsibility for our success and failure lies with us, the people. No government in the world can take care of all its people by giving them things. It can only create an environment to allow people to succeed. For all our criticism, we are responsible for how we go through life, not the government. Knock on doors, learn a trade, don’t sit on your behind waiting for affirmative action or BEE. Independence means that we have to be grown up enough to take charge of our own future, and not wait for government to give us things. A society that looks to government for its solutions will remain a place of perpetual infants. No nation can survive by going that route. Be a responsible citizen. Question your government, but encourage the bright spots. Find things to do for your country, instead of waiting for handouts. Happy Independence Day, Namibia.