Black consciousness versus education This is my reaction to an interview in New Era, 25 November 2011 titled, “Introducing Namibia’s Malcolm X”.
I must admit that I admire brother Job Amupanda Shipululo’s stance and tenacity to take on issues such as Black Consciousness and the Black Radicals of Namibia (BRN).
Upon reading the interview on Friday, I opted to comprehend and internalize the would-be repercussions on the ideology of Black Radicals, in a volatile and yet plural society of Namibia. This piece of writing reflects my disagreement with some of the issues alluded to in the interview.
The issue of inferiority complex among blacks in this country to me is indeed very imperative. I will not in this limited space entertain it entirely. What is critical to me at this point in time is how to address it appropriately without stepping on the comfort of others, denting the peace we enjoy in this country.
In fact, Martin Luther King (Jnr) once said, “You can allow somebody to ride on your back only when you bend down, but if you walk straight, the person will not ride on your back”.
The loss of culture among young black males and females is valid. It is prevalent in the society we live in today. Needless to say, I want Brother Job to understand that the world rotates and evolves at every ounce of time.
This natural phenomenon of revolution and rotation, inevitably bring along extreme influences on all spheres of life. No matter how much we may opt to remain stagnant, go to bed and dream about sucking milk from a cow’s udder and wish it could still be that way, things have changed and will inevitably continue to change.
Even cows have evolved and would kick or retaliate once touched inappropriately. Brother Job and all young Namibians should take cognizance of the fact that black culture will not and never be restored through waging war (cold or warm) against white/European influence.
The repercussions are unimaginable. I suggest that the BRN devise an appropriate strategy to reclaim the lost values of presumably a decayed black culture.
The argument of ‘one race substantially living in Katutura and black bourgeois going home asking for a pizza, while the rest of the population goes back to their shacks staring at poverty’ is indeed true but very controversial in nature. It reminds me of listening to Tupac Amaru Shakur in 1987 saying, “I think black people should live like white people and white people should live like black people, and they should change every week”. Such, is an ideal world but very surreal. Poverty is a reality in Namibia but let this debate not turn into an unproductive discourse comparable to an argument between blacks and Jews talking about what was worse – slavery or the holocaust.
In a competitive economic framework like the one we have in Namibia, we cannot ask (black) people to recline, sit back and merely wait for a sudden exchange of lifestyle as wished by the late Tupac Shakur. It is practically not possible.
My advice to Brother Job and the BRN is to begin to realize that the best arsenal against economic inequalities is to capacitate the people through education.
I wish to inform the BRN of the essence of the African Resurgence Through Education (ARTE).
We believe in the psychology and culture of learning as the greatest equalizer. Let me, at this point in time refer the BRN to an article in The Namibian daily, November 24, 2011 “Learning Capability as a Precondition for Development”. In this article the journalist referred to Lundvail (1992) on his contribution to the book titled “National Innovation System: Towards a Theory of Innovation and Learning” in which Lundvail states “… the most fundamental resource in the modern economy is knowledge and accordingly, the most important process is learning”. Brother Job and the BRN should cease to cascade the notion that a layman (black) without any amount of learning, will one day remove a white CEO and take over the position.
Africa, Namibia in particular, is endowed with abundant natural resources and minerals that the good lord left in our soil. Without learning, without knowledge and skills, these resources will remain intact until other people will come and tap them for their own benefits.
Poverty is by all intent and purposes, the consequence of the deprivation of basic capabilities. The article ‘Learning Capability as a Precondition for Development’ emphasises the fact that when a nation is capacitated through learning, that nation is able to define the condition under which that nation wishes to live.
The BRN should embrace the notion alluded to in this article that “If Namibian citizens were capable of exploiting our resources (marine resources, minerals, land, sunshine), Namibia would not be afflicted by poverty, malnutrition and other social and economic deprivations. Namibia’s socio-economic condition is a result of capability deprivation”.
This is the kind of debate young people need to canvas, comprehend, internalize and preoccupy themselves with.
The issue of glorifying our founding fathers, the likes of Kwame Nkurumah, Amika Kabral, Sam Nuyoma, Robert Mugabe and so on cannot be condoned. It is history, which never repeats itself.
One Algerian revolutionary leader wrote a book titled “The Regent of the Earth”. In this book, he argues that the problem of Africa after independence has to do with the young revolutionaries and the political elite, because they refuse to move beyond the political struggle.
They continue for many years to blame all ills on colonialism. This revolutionary leader argues that the political elite suffer consequently of what he calls ‘intellectual laziness’ and ‘spiritual bankruptcy’.
I want the BRN to know that we cannot afford, in this day and age, to beseech the mind of young Namibians to continue dancing to the tune of the political elite who embrace the tombstone culture that celebrate the past and the dead. We need young people to preoccupy their minds with the future.
A French philosopher once said, “Not even God can change the past, the past is gone. We cannot do much about it.”
The BRN should understand that some of the ways we tend to articulate ourselves as revolutionaries or activists can be detrimental to societal peace and national building.
Even the born-frees in this country are fully aware of what recently happened in Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. The BRN supporting Honourable Kazenambo Kazenambo’s desire to put the constitution aside and grab land from the whites, is politically immature and unorthodox.
As a nation we cannot encourage our youth taking this country through such rough patches that has severe repercussions. I admire and revere a lot of our political leaders in Namibia but the moment they subject themselves to the politics of bread and butter and unproductive incidents that has severe damage on the reasoning and capacity of the youth, which has the potential to give birth to miscalculated political rebellion, that admiration ceases to exist.
In a nutshell, I want to alert the BRN to fully explore more progressive and peaceful avenues and examine the repercussions of their ideology, especially when it lands in the ears and minds of not well-informed hungry men.
On account of Professor Josef Diescho’s thesis “Until Africans determine for themselves what their challenges and difficulties are and devise processes, systems and mechanisms to lead them towards some resolutions of those problems and challenges, we can only depend upon other people.”
Professor Diescho is alerting me and you brother Job, that what is of significant importance now is to encourage brothers and sisters to be where you are now (University of Stellenbosch), go to varsities and come back with knowledge, attitudes and skills to pursue the development of our country without stepping on other people’s toes in order to look tall or feel victorious. Young Namibians should be made to understand that the future and destiny of this country depends on them and only when they study and capacitate themselves fully.
The pursuit of knowledge and skills is the struggle of the ‘African Resurgence Through Education’. Let the debate and dialogue begin and I rest my case.
• Markus Munenge is a representative of African Resurgence Through Education (ARTE), based in Khorixas.
Powered by ScribeFire.