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Land - our heritage and pride

By Sioni Aluta Iileka
The father of the Namibian Nation and the leader of the Namibian Revolution sing: "handi ya yoongamba kuna oshilongo, shu u dha no sha udhilila uuyamba" - describing Namibia's abundant natural resources". As I am writing this article, I draw inspiration from this militant song sung by a true revolutionary and compatriot who inspired Namibian people to fight and liberate Namibia.

Of course the fight was for nothing else, but for our land and its resources. We all know that Namibians have crossed many rivers of blood and sweats in search for freedom and independence. When you listen to most if not all the liberation songs that inspired our brothers and sisters, of course young people in the bush that time, there is always a mention of our resources and the land.

Our land and resources are nobody else property, but our own wealth. We must be inspired by Samuel Maharero, who gave instruction that: "if those white settlers want the land, take the containers, put the sand in and give them". In the same vein, Iipumbu ha Tshirongo told the apartheid whites of South Africa when they were arresting him that: "nando mu kwate ndje po, oohinina taye ya tshito ye mutse otshiti" ("even if you are taking me away, young people will come show you"). Further the youthful Mandume Ndemufayo bravery said: "he will fight until his last bullet is spent".

The valor and fortitude of our forbearers must encourage us to wage the second war of economic emancipation. It is undisputable that land is the source of everything. We cannot claim to be independent after 23 years of independence and we have our people thrown in farm corridors by one section of our society. We cannot be proud to be independent while all proper means of productions are in the hands of settlers and a handful blacks who claim to be well connected.

I know some will try to accuse me of inciting violence, or not penning this article in the spirit of reconciliation. I must hasten to mention that, reconciliation cannot be used to conceal real issues facing us. How can it be reconciliation if it is only black Namibians being thrown in the corridors of the farm?

How come only blacks are in the street corners looking for jobs? How come only blacks are being transported in the bakkies of some of their white employers while such employers sit in front with their dogs? Is this really what reconciliation is all about? Is this really what we fought for? Definitely NOT! Reconciliation will only be effective if those who forcefully took our land come to reality and start to give back some of their farm.

How come we have white Germans living in Germany, but have five to six farms in Namibia? Do we have Namibians who own land, or even small gardens in Germany?

I was dismayed and shocked in 2011 when some Germans who think they own Swakopmund were demonstrating because of the development of a hotel which will absorb some of our unemployed youth roaming the streets of Swakopmund into employment; apparently they want a walk-way for themselves and their dogs.

What an insult! But this is not enough, blacks are discriminating other blacks too. It has been 23 years of independence, the political power has not gone back to whites, but has remained with us blacks and in particular our Mighty SWAPO Party, with 2/3 majority. In 1991, we made promises on land, and in 2013 we are still making promises on land. Let us act, and talk less.

Time for crying is over and time to act is now, those same black leaders who were in office in 1990 have an obligation to right the wrong of the past. If we are seriously concerned about the land issues in Namibia, we need to be radical and unapologetic in our approach, more so when some black elite are also land owners and business partners of white settlers.

Why are we still operating on laws that were enacted by our colonizers? Time to revoke those laws and all deals that were not signed by us is now. President Hifikepunye Pohamba has been on record time and again that if there are laws that impede the development and delivery of services to our people, they must be done away with and new laws be enacted.

This is the reason why the Law Reform was created and a young person who was part of the SPYL leadership was appointed to head such a very crucial body of government. I hope the urgency of this state of affair will be recognized very soon if not yet by the Law Reform.

We are a rich country, we just need to do a simple thing and everything will change. GET BACK THE LAND TO THE RIGHTFUL OWNERS, AS SIMPLE AS THAT. Why should our government have to buy the land from the settlers who came with nothing, but the guns to kill us? I therefore advocating for indigenous beneficiations. We have all what we need to address the injustices caused by the colonizers. It is high time we live by the true sense of equitable distribution of our resources.

I appeal to our government to fast track the programme of "willing seller, willing buyers", because people are getting tired of waiting, and it appears, there is only a willing buyers, but no welling sellers. Instead, I am hearing farmers forming cooperatives and even conservancies - abusing the policy of Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM).

We must never compromise and betray those that died, and spent many years fighting for this country's independence. Young people of Namibia will take up arms of knowledge and skills to emancipate our country, of course the second face of our struggle is very challenging, but unequivocally we are shouting "we will fight till we completely take charge of our economical destine. I once again want to emphasize the need for us young people to please study and empower ourselves with knowledge, because the fight which we are engaging in is not with bazookas and AK47, but our empowered brains are the only weapons.

African Youth Sioni Aluta Iikela writes from Lake Oponona in Oshana Region


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