Mall-talk: Tattoos and body-piercing

24 May 2019
Author   Ismael K & Eliakim NS

The Windhoek Observer sent its intern reporters to Grove Mall in Windhoek to get random views about the fast growing tattoo and body piercing trend.  

Tattoos have now become acceptable in the wider part of society. What used to be a negative thing has become a more acceptable ‘fashion’; body art has become more respectable. But is it really? Are people getting ‘tats’ to be cool or as a sign of inner self-expression?  Are people going over-board on tattoos and body piercing to hide or permanently deface themselves?  
There is no doubt that people need to make solid decisions about tattoos before they get one (where it should go, what picture/name is depicted).  Those seeking tats must make sure they go to an experienced and hygienic tattoo artist!  Ghastly infections can be spread by someone wrongly applying tattoos with unsanitary equipment. 
Those we spoke to feel that tattoos and body piercings are ok.  They mostly felt that behind every tattoo and every piercing there is a sensitive and personal story.  Still there were those few who we spoke to who don’t support the idea of tattoos and body piercing as it is against their culture and religion.  A couple of people said that overt tattoos could hurt your chances of getting certain jobs.  
Speaking to Windhoek Observer, Angelo Angus, stated that having tattoos and body piercing is a personal choice. “Some tattoos have different meanings like traditional meanings, gang-related or to praise somebody special. 
“From my personal point of view every tattoo that I have, has a meaning; it’s a life’s journey for me. For example the tattoos on my arms represent tribal wings and the meaning behind it; I have been through a lot of things and I have learned to let go of a lot of things. 
“In a lot of ways, having tattoos is like a confidence booster. 
Angus went on to note that there are people get tattoos from gangs or from being in prison.  These are more negative tattoos, but it still reflects who that person is.  
Lucia Sheya, feels that having a tattoo is an individual choice and it varies from person to person. 
“From personal point my tattoo is very important as it has some memories behind it. My father passed on, so I got a tattoo of his name.  Every time I look at it reminds me of the good moments we had and it keeps me strong during the dark days.  Regarding body piercing, people are pierced to look attractive and sexy. But, I think that they should be careful of piercing or tattooing their faces when later in life they may different things in life than they want now.”
Aj Blaauw says that tattoos are a mark that represents something to the person involved. “My tattoo represents a hurtful breakup I experienced and this was just my way of having a new beginning, a new start for me and a way for me to remember what happened.  This gave me the strength to move on.  If you have a meaningful reason for getting a tattoo, go for it! It’s your life and you only live once.”
Another person who preferred to anonymous, believes having a tattoo or piercing made with a right reason and right emotion can truly be a masterpiece of artwork on your body. “I have a few body piercings and tattoos.  I have faced mixed reactions for my tattoos.  My father’s name is written at my front wrist and people generally ask me if it is my boyfriend’s name (as if he ‘owns’ me with a tat tag) and others like my tats. So let people say what they want.  To those wanting tattoos I say:  just follow your heart.”
Kyle Farrer says tattoos are a good way of having a memory of someone. “My tattoo symbolises adulthood, I got it right after I was done with high school; to me it’s like freedom. Tattoos are supposed to be a special thing and not something to be played with as it’s a permanent thing. So I don’t like the concept of having one just because you can get one”.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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