Editorialising on the bloody and fatal week that Namibia has suffered just before the Easter holiday is a daunting task. But such loss of life must have meaning as a wake-up call or else it is just frightening carnage and gore.
We go into this holiday weekend accepting that there have been two more workplace murders, suicides for various reasons and yet another spousal murder by someone who should have been locked up for child abuse (the family of the abused school child did not press charges).
Sadly, we know that after the holiday, we will read headlines about accidents on the roads, deaths, injuries and destruction of property. Just stating this reality in Namibia is painful and we feel helpless to do anything to stop this inevitability. Far too many selfish, impatient and unskilled drivers are on the roads in un-serviced vehicles, driving at top speeds, weaving in and out of lanes - and a few of them will fill Charon’s boat on the river Styx.
There is always big talk about doing something to slow people down on the road and limit the fatal and horrific accidents and yet, that’s all our leaders do, talk big. Having flags, banners and bored police officers in new uniforms at road check-points for 3-4 days at holidays is not the solution, and yet, that’s the extent of the imagination of our decision-makers. Avbob and Jarman stand ready to increase their business.
Namibians use holidays meant to celebrate particular things, just to take time off work, lounge around the house or farm, eat, sleep and party. People spend more time drinking beer on Easter weekend than decorating eggs or eating Easter chocolate.
In many places around the world, including Namibia, Easter is celebrated only through sales at shops, half-price clothing, food items (Shoprite has 1.5 kgs of chicken for N$49.99), deals on new cars, specials on massages and facials, and nearly expired cosmetics on sales tables that are decorated with Easter eggs, little yellow chicks, and pink bunnies.
Given the distracted attitudes that are rife in Namibia these days during this economic disaster, it makes sense that people care more about being apathetic regarding the election year or former Ministers announcing hilarious plans to build bullet trains, than about the meanings of Easter.
Most people do not know that the Easter bunny is a prominent symbol of Christianity’s most important holiday. Rabbits, known to be prolific procreators, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. People used to make Easter baskets and fancy decorated boiled eggs (hidden all around the house) to be found by the young children on Easter morning and placed in the Easter basket. There are supposed to be chocolates of all kinds, jelly beans in all colours, marshmallow shaped chicks, bunny-babies and birds and lots of great stuff at Eastertime.
For those who don’t like the whole Easter bunny shtick, then what about going to church and celebrating the whole Christian bit? (Our Jewish citizens have Passover to deal with.)
How many of those stuffing their faces at the Braai this weekend even know the religious side of Easter? How many of those who go to church to show off their new clothes, shoes and Easter bonnets will spend this important annual holiday remembering that Jesus was arrested by the Roman authorities, was sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate, and was crucified on Good Friday, and was resurrected on the third day to show that he was the Saviour and Lamb of God, sacrificed in fulfilment of the promises made to mankind.
Who in all of Namibia is having a concert of Händel’s Messiah featuring the Hallelujah Chorus that celebrates the resurrection of Christ instead of jammin’ to Nipsey Hussle’s Racks in the Middle or NBA Young Boy rappin’ Freeddawg?
How many will choose to go hunting, sun bathe at the beach, or be lazy this long weekend instead of actually sitting down and talking to their young adult family members about suicide, repressed feelings, respect of women and girls or the importance of showing love to one another. How many adults will spend this holiday just (non-judgmentally) listening to whatever their kids want to express.
Holidays are typically the time where people who are depressed fall faster into their inner darkness. Things look worse when others around them seem to be happy and celebrating. Pay attention to your friends and neighbours who may be suffering in silence. We need to stop acting as if suicide is someone else’s problem, when we are supposed to be our brother (or sister’s) keeper. [Lifeline/Childline Namibia (Toll free for youth): 116, Lifeline/Childline Namibia (SMS Line for adults): 0811400222.]
We hesitate to wish you a happy Easter as we do not believe it will be if people don’t wake up and smell the coffee and change their ways.