8 OPINION Wednesday, November 29 2017 | NEW ERA in prison, rage contained in my “Here breast. I solemnly wait for the clouds to gather. Blown by the wind of history. No one can stop the rain.” (Agostinho Neto in his book “Sacred Hope”). The unsettling political situation for the longest time and predictions on its resolution have remained unreliable. In time the country had to degenerate into near economic crisis characterized by mass exodus of top-most professionals boasting exceptional skills across the academic spectrum, driven by the country’s strong education system. George Houser recalls a Todd, the latter then a Senator in Zimbabwe’s transitional regime. Houser asked Todd where Zimbabwe was going and Todd responded: “You have to take the long view.” Subsequently, Houser asserts in his book titled “No one can stop the rain”, that the long view was critical. Africa’s liberation struggle was a result of the continent’s marginalisation by Europeans over centuries, bent on exploiting her resources. Efforts to reverse the tide of exploitation were of Africans themselves, albeit with international solidarity and support. Zimbabwe has over the years edged on Crossing the Rubicon, but the nation state resisted the pressure to graduate from the political environment that Oginga Odinga of Kenya’s yesteryear termed “Not yet Uhuru”. Once I came across a periodical with pictures of Zimbabwe’s war veterans carrying placards with a number of messages, two of these posters caught my attention. The one said: “Born We must support Zimbabwe poor, grew up struggling; will die disappointed.” The other said: “Light at the end of the tunnel??? We do not see the tunnel.” If the veterans in question lived long enough to witness contemporary developments in Zimbabwe, they can perhaps advise whether they see the tunnel of Zimbabwe’s challenges. In one of my roles prior to Namibia’s independence I was Associate General Secretary for the Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN). In that time the progressive churches shared trenches with the struggling people of the African subregion and formed crossborder symbiotic relations. In this capacity I once attended a church conference in Harare. The meeting broke up in small working committees and while I waited for my committee to settle, my eyes fell on a poster reading: “God so much loved the world that He did not send a committee, He sent His own son.” I trust that my sisters and brothers who still work in Zimbabwe’s church movement can share their thoughts on whether this time around God has sent His own son. In 2000 when I was Dean of Students at the University of Namibia and Professor Peter Katjavivi the Vice-Chancellor, we participated in a meeting of political parties of nine SADC countries that were to hold national and presidential elections. I remember Magreth Dongo then a Member of Parliament of Zimbabwe’s opposition in parliament. When the Zimbabwe delegation arrived, Dongo reported that she had to take a taxi from the airport because the Ambassador of Zimbabwe would not transport her, as she was deemed an enemy of the state. Delegates to the conference were shocked when the delegation of the that Dongo was an enemy of the state and an agent of imperialism. Discussions on Zimbabwe conference for the ensuing two days as delegates attempted to unravel the puzzle, against the backdrop of the fact that Zimbabwe was scheduled to hold national and presidential elections soon. Subsequent to the conference we invited Zimbabwe’s political parties to observe Namibia’s national and presidential elections and seven political parties from that country attended. I was assigned to coordinate their visitation program and at the end of our elections we hosted a post-mortem. All the political parties from Zimbabwe were impressed with Namibia’s elections code of conduct and they requested Namibia’s assistance. A month later I arrived in Harare as envoy of the University of Namibia to facilitate a consultation for Zimbabwe’s political parties. This proved a threeday dynamic exercise but initially very tense, as the mutual recriminations with the ruling party collecting most of the scorn for the ills characterizing Zimbabwe’s democracy. But the reassuring moment came when delegate Job Sikala of the newly formed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) walked over to the ZANU- PF delegation, extended a hand to Dumiso Dabengwa, latter who was then Zimbabwe’s Minister of Home Affairs and said in Shona: “Comrade Dabengwa, Makadini!” (how are you)? Dabengwa hesitantly stood up and tightly hugged Sikala. They sternly looked each other in the eye for six seconds before they broke into conversation. This left all delegates breathing uncomfortably. But this moment heralded the turning point in the deliberations. Delegates freely engaged in conversation. I then started to give longer tea breaks and observed the dynamics that evolved. We developed the code of conduct and had time to interrogate some of the contentious issues that were destined to have bearing on the holding of elections, and could elections that followed saw MDC a large cadre of parliamentarians. prelude to challenges in democratic institution building. Zimbabwe has ever since made considerable continued to witness a trend pregnant with political progress, My thesis position is that events that deposed President Mugabe were neither isolated nor abrupt. They were part of a political gradually over time, albeit in a clandestine fashion for obvious Nations of the world must support Zimbabwe and do so proactively. We must curb the mentality that we have everything to teach others and nothing to learn from others. The latest developments in Zimbabwe were a learning curve and no doubt a pleasant surprise to Zimbabwe’s will emanate from efforts by Zimbabweans, fellow Africans, and nations of the world must Zimbabwe continues to hold the promise for Africa’s breadbasket and this is a good foundation for Africa and the world. But for all this to work, the people of Zimbabwe must agree on the minimum program for their political discourse. For, the absence of this necessary undertaking will continue to confound their serve as impediments elections in to effective Zimbabwe. The This development served as strides and notwithstanding divergent global views, we continuum that had unfolded reasons. friend and foe. The future of Zimbabwe augment such efforts. otherwise good intentions. In contemporary Africa, cultural naming styles have systematically changed due to new civilizations from former colonial powers. The new naming styles are either the combination of both western names and African names or purely western. This is so because due to the culture of globalization of western popular culture, the tendency that South African researcher and writer Mkhosana Mathobela Bingweni refers to as the ‘Cocacolonisation’ of the world, that a Coca-Cola drink has been turned into a global culture. Similarly, the western names became a new Coca-Cola drink. African communities developed a tendency to value urban residence and adopted it as their new culture. This new culture was inherited from the colonizers who once developed their exclusive residences during colonial times and gave the teachings to the natives, which created an impression that urban cultural styles of living were sound and modern. Those who rose to the top of these colonial residences continued to praise the old colonial culture exactly in the same way the colonizers did without realising the damage it can cause to their culture of origin. The naming system is not so different. As black people continued to live in these towns they adopted the colonial style of naming their kids, a modern and Christian culture of biblical names and other European names. This suited the urban languages as colonial languages controlled urban settlements as most of them became national and the villages. In these modern days English in the villages rather than languages of their own. The new naming culture is visible today when African people experience the superior hate of their own names that they were given at birth; they rather choose Christian names or other English names such as Gift or Rejoice. Africans are so conditioned to the western culture that it became part of them so much so that they hate their own. “Endhina ekogidho” is an Oshiwambo lexical expression which loosely translates as “a name serves as a link” between people. This saying is strongly rooted in African traditional systems of name giving particularly in Oshiwambo language because names are believed not only to link behaviour with personalities because name giving are sacred rituals that connect generations together. Those born will be named after the current people, for the current were named after the ancestors, so in that way the spiritual interaction between the living, the dead and those yet to come, becomes an imaginative reality. African real dreams, interactions and social imaginations but more often speaks of Africa’s pure knowledge and ancestral venerations – by that way it instils pride in realising self-identity as far as the ancestral historical values are concerned. Despite the invasion of Europeans who left their signatures through apartheid colonialism and Christianisation, Africans still realise the value of the naming systems and its relevance in today’s world because of the meaning and tone of lexical expressions found in African languages. Africa is experiencing the death of the original African anthroponymic system such as the use of cultural names, hereditary names, praise names and clan names that give the meaningful To be African today means to have both African and European cultural naming elements and systems other than embracing the original naming systems which give us a true meaning, identity, of self. In Oshiwambo, for example, the birth of a typical girl in the early morning results in a name ‘Nangula’ meaning ‘morning’ meaning at birth. A name such as ‘Akwenye’ means born in spring, ‘Mhingana’ born after someone had died are rarely practised in urban areas of Africa. meaning in the new context of globalization since the concept of globalization means dissolving African culture as a whole into European culture. Many African people dream to give birth in Europe and give their children European names but a typical Chinese can travel and live in Nigeria for 20 years, make a family, but all their children will have Chinese names, not even a mixture of Chinese and Igbo. That’s how submissive Africans are to the west. Like in any culture, the conservation of African naming systems is the social gift of cultural intelligence of a cultural society. Despite globalization in the digital age which results in different interactions everyday, African anthroponymic systems should stand unique of their own history and should be documented by means of literature by Africans so that the next generation will feed from the cultural intelligence and onomastic of their own ancestors. This is also part of the decolonial thinking to save Africans from the tyranny of a western naming spree that will soon get Africans to name their children after the popular “Coca-Cola” drink. * Shivute Kaapanda is a Namibian critical theorist and writer.
NEW ERA NMC introduces medical insurance for the youth… the Jade option Page 15 INSIDE USINESS This news is your business Rent a Plant manager said to insult workers Cross-border cooperation… Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Bernard Esau (left) with Seafo Commission chairperson Dielobaka Ndomele from Angola at the opening of the 14th annual meeting of the Seafo Commission in Swakopmund. sau asks private sector or help to fish beyond amibian waters SWAKOPMUND The private sector is requested to avail resources to enable Namibia to utilise jurisdiction. This refers to an area in the South East Namibia, South Africa, South Korea, Japan, make up Seafo. research. Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernhard Esau made the Commission in Swakopmund. Esau said six entitled members of the other resources. “It is a concern to us, and I have been us to catch more from outside and process it at home to create jobs.” the total allowable catches. If this can be said, then it will contribute to economic plan to expand the Seafo Secretariat, which is based in Swakopmund. He said in order as headquarters need to be build. from elsewhere as the membership fees to About 30 representatives of the activities, the projects for 2018 and how to improve administration and research activities. – Nampa WALVIS BAY These claims were made in a petition handed peaceful demonstration. specialises in plant equipment and tools such supervisor. and recommend actions to Rent a Plant, but A shop steward who was dismissed, approached the Metal and Allied Namibian the new owners. took note of the issues and we will address them. I have no further comments”. the event that demonstrations are effective, “We should not think petitions are useless; – Nampa Neighbourhood milk couple… Otto Amalwa (left) and Martha Katjavivi have been selling unpasteurised milk in Okahandja’s Oshetu informal settlement for about four years now. The couple, who receives the milk from a farm about 90km outside Okahandja, sells two litres for N. According to Amalwa, the business is going well as they are able to sell about 26 litres every two days. Call for nominations! “Women Who Impacted 2017”. Question: Which Namibian woman made a positive change this year and how? Send the name of your nominee and a short summary of her accomplishment to firstname.lastname@example.org Closing Date: 30 November 2017 We want to hear from you! Contact Desie Heita Tel: +264 61 208 0800 for enquiries