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Anuwa? - Part 45

By M'kwanailya wa Mweuta
Patriotism is, defined as cultural attachment or devotion to one's country. Allegiance on the other hand is described as the duty which a subject or citizen is widely expected to owe to the state to which he belongs.

Recently I travelled to Europe, Germany to be specific and I encountered both allegiance and patriotism in action.

I visited three towns with different academics as tour guides but the consistency among my hosts was visible in how they all praise their forefathers and various wars fought and significant of each building in relation to a war fought and the purpose it served during that era. I was astonished and green with envy when people I met proudly discuss their blood relative's involvement in various wars which eventually shaped their country. Dating back to AD 9 when German was known as Germania which the Roman Empire failed to conquer. It is now almost 70 years ago since the last war was fought in Germany but while interacting with locals I have observed that almost every second sentence is "during the war this building and that place use to be used for that and this".

My interpretations of the mentioning of the wars are not that the Germans glorify war. It was an indication that they value their history and appreciate their forefather's contribution to the flourishing society they are living in today.

If one turns the table around and compare to the situation in Namibia, where people who fought the liberation of the country in various fronts are still alive, just a mere mention of their contribution already makes people uncomfortable. Often one hears arguments such as "we can no longer live on the credentials of being liberators. Really? We can continue to live on the liberation credential for the next 2000 in parallel with our economic struggle and build our country to flourish like Germany.

True, that one will never know the future if the past was not considered.

Another significant eye catching figure in the towns and villages I visited was the statues of prominent figures in the Germany history. Fine, we can demand that our artist carve the sculptures but it is really a high time that we are greeted by the statues of Jacob Marengo and Nehale lyaMpingana when entering the towns of Vaalgras and Ondangwa respectively. Just to mention a few.

In one town, I took a picture alongside the statue of Adam Opel the grandfather of Opel Automobile. At a bridge across the Rheine River I stroked a sculpture of a beautiful village lady who was found bathing along the river and caused the capsizing of a boat as sailors abandoned their duties and stared at her. That showed the diversity and various innovative ways of preserving history.

It is indeed cool to honour our legends, heroes, kings, queens, presidents, and artists with whatever permanent symbol. As the bible states, cursed be he who removes his neighbor's landmark!

And for Namibia, as Drew, Bettina said we should be mindful that the preservation of our past reminds us of timeless human truths and allows for the perpetuation of cultural traditions that can be nourishing; it contains examples of mistakes to avoid, preserves the memory of alternatives ways of doing things, and is the basis for self-understanding."


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