Love is in the air… or is it?
TODAY is Valentine’s Day. And as is customary every year, the day will no doubt be filled with the clichéd red and white outfits, stuffed animals, chocolates, red roses and heart shaped cutouts dangling from the roofs of super markets and shops. There might even be promises and hopes for renewed and every lasting love, and if you are the President and First Lady, there will be a celebration of yet another wedding anniversary.
With February being the month of love, Namibians should take the time to do serious introspection and investigate whether or not we are really a nation of lovers, where love for our fellow countrymen is not just expressed every day, but shows in our daily interactions, or if our intolerance for one another is still dividing us nearly three decades after gaining independence.
Self-reflection should particularly focus on the social ill that is tribalism.
Complaints about tribalism typically fall into two distinct categories. On one hand is the idea that Namibians are divided into tribes, which also include racial, religious and sexual identities.
On the other hand, the anti-tribalists warn against escalating tension between political parties, Namibia’s supposed mega-tribes. The political parties demonise each other with rhetorically vicious language that embitters politics and sometimes flares into violence.
Just this week, Swapo Party’s regional coordinator for
//Kharas, Matheus Mumbala was quoted saying that the ruling party will expel all members who have openly defected the party in his region.
“You cannot be a Swapo member and yet continue to sympathise with either new or old political parties based on personal or even blood relationship. If it is your boyfriend or wife, leave them or divorce them, you cannot think with them,” Mumbala said at a Swapo Party Youth League regional executive committee meeting held on Saturday.
His statement, which seems to place more importance on a love for a political party over the love for our country and each other, is fundamentally what is still wrong with our society today.
For the month of February, and hopefully beyond, demonstrate the power of love by showing small and large acts of kindness.
Show love to women and the girl child who continue to suffer oppression and violence in a patriarchal society. Show love to hardworking men who wake up early mornings during the current tough economic downturn to hustle and feed their families. Show love to the LGBT community who are brave enough to be themselves. Show love to communities, such as the disabled and impoverished, who have slipped through the cracks of our brains and have been left to fend for themselves. Show love to members of opposition political parties who dare to have differences in opinions and equally, give the same love to your neighbours, colleagues, family, friends and even perfect strangers.
Together, we can write a true love story.
Happy Valentine’s Day!