The week in a capsule

WINDHOEK, Nov. 11 – Africa’s culture dictates that when a child misbehave outside its own household, a question needs to be asked as to the identity of the parents and extended clan/family.

Another inquiry would be the identity of the friends and others with whom this particular child is associated with. These questions can appear to be simplistic and irrelevant to people foreign to the African culture of Ubuntu.

However, as for Africans themselves, these questions are key indicators which reveal the sources and thus the causal factors to this particular child’s mean and odd behavior.

This is so because it is expected that an African child and let alone a girl child is first and foremost moulded into becoming a well-groomed and disciplined member of the community by its parents, the extended family, clan and the community at large.

The cohorts also play a big role in shaping the character and personality of what an African child can become. Thus, in order to prevent their children from going astray, parents and family members are responsible to make sure that their own children associate themselves with children of the same ethos and values as themselves.

For the girl child, there were even more stricter rules that tried to protect the girl child from ‘male vultures’ such as the unscrupulous ‘sugar daddies’ who would pretend to show her love and affection, whereas their main interest was to gain access to her ‘private garden’ with blossoming flowers.

This African principle of raising a child was premised on the saying ‘birds of the same feathers flock together’ and that ‘an apple does not fall far from its mother tree’.

Even in today’s world, we thus not to fail in analyzing the background and surrounding environment whenever an African child is found in a situation of possessing so much confidence which she/he uses to insult and disrespect the elders, old enough to be his/her own parents.

Positive confidence to challenge socio-economic and political issues affecting the youth is one thing commendable that an African child must be encouraged to possess. However, negative confidence based on social ills such as tribalism, racism, utter disrespect for the elders, exaggerated self-importance, money first than anything else attitude must be discouraged and condemned by all well-meaning members of the larger African Ubuntu community.

It must be a principle taught to all African children that when caught in a situation of conflict between itself and an older member of an African Society, the younger member must exercise self-restraint as this line of behaviour adds value and honour to his/her name, family and clan and to the larger community where he/she was raised.

An African child must also be cautioned against being used as cannon fodder by angry elders and ‘sugar daddies’ who have unresolved political points to settle against fellow elders who themselves will not dare to say those unsavoury words to their opponent. This is because elders are more likely to find a common ground to reconcile their differences because of their long-shared common past, the insult of the young person to an African elder can hardly be ever condoned or forgotten even for generations to come.

It is our view that the right of an African youth to participate in the socio-economic and political affairs of his/her country must be guaranteed as per our democratic constitutions. Thus, if the elders in power are seen to be curtailing these rights, for example, preventing young people to blossom among others their musical, political, sports careers etc, then there must be a genuine cause to start a respectable engagement with each other in order to rectify the situation.

Constructive criticism either coming from a young person to an African adult must be welcomed because it leads to the building of a nation but name-calling based on tribalism must be rejected with the contempt it deserves. Principled young people with principle ideas must not be scared to socialize and engage the elders of their society to find common grounds and solutions to their problems but those with retrogressive tendencies and poisoned tribalistic minds must be shunned and rebuked by all.

It must be pointed out, the Namibian youth are among the luckiest in the world because its leadership since independence has always been pro-youth it terms of its conduct and policies. This is more true, for the founding Prime Minister and third President of the Republic, Dr. Hage Geingob who has never been shy to attend youth events, such as sporting events, social events such as music shows where he would even be seen on national television dancing with some of these youth.

It our view, that this trait and accommodating personality by our President must not be exploited for a weakness but should be welcomed as a gesture of his social and political maturity. Such leadership and political maturity by President Hage Geingob so amenable to the youth must be encouraged to continue rather than creating a fear to further associate himself with the youth due to the reckless behaviour of the few. We can therefore loudly acclaim, Forward with President Hage Geingob’s political maturity! Forward with Harambee Prosperity Plan! Down with tribalism! – Shampapi Shiremo