By Benjamin Wickham
WINDHOEK, March 17 — The Namibian government recently came under fire for its plans to serve extra dishes, such as Greek salad, to VIPs during the upcoming Independence Day celebrations. The event, which marks 33 years of independence, is set to take place in Outapi, the capital of the northern region of Omusati, next Tuesday.
The criticism began after a letter was leaked to Omusati Governor Erginus Endjala, who is the chair of the committee organising the celebrations, outlining the proposed menu. The letter stated that caterers would be instructed to prepare extra dishes, including Greek salad, steamed carrots, maize pap, mahangu pap, baked fish, and game stew, for VIPs such as foreign dignitaries. Meanwhile, the public menu would include potato salad, butternut, rice, fried beef, and fish.
The reaction on social media was swift, with many users expressing their outrage at what they perceived as the government’s “elitist tendencies.” The Namibian Sun summed up the sentiment in its headline on Wednesday: “U-turn on ‘lords and peasants’ independence menu.”
In response to the backlash, Mr Endjala clarified that the proposed menu had only been suggestions and that the public would now have more food than the VIPs. “We have realized that the proposal was far-fetched from reality,” he told the paper.
Despite the controversy, the government remains committed to celebrating Independence Day. According to Audrin Mathe, a senior officer in the information ministry, the government will be spending less than $134,000 for this year’s celebrations.
The incident highlights the power of social media to hold those in power accountable. In today’s digital age, it is easier than ever for citizens to voice their opinions and influence public discourse. The Namibian government’s decision to revise the menu in response to public outcry is a testament to the power of social media to effect change.
It also underscores the importance of inclusivity in public events. Independence Day celebrations are meant to bring people together to commemorate a shared history and culture. By dividing the menu into “public” and “VIP” categories, the government inadvertently created a sense of division and elitism that was incompatible with the spirit of the event.
In the future, organizers of public events should strive to create menus and programs that are inclusive and accessible to all attendees. By doing so, they can ensure that everyone feels valued and respected and that the event truly reflects the values of the community it represents.
In conclusion, the Namibian government’s decision to revise its Independence Day menu in response to social media criticism serves as a reminder of the power of public opinion in shaping policy and events. Going forward, organizers of public events should strive to create inclusive and accessible programs that bring people together and celebrate our shared humanity. – Namibia Daily News