JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 56

Protests and falling dominoes

24 August 2012

BY now we have all heard about the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) employees going on strike from midnight last Wednesday.
As a reporter and someone who loves being wherever the very dramatic action is, I was really disappointed at the way the strike played out.

On Thursday morning I stood in the street that leads to the NBC studios with my camera shutter ready and waiting for the words: “Come on guerrilla, hey, hey, hey!” to turn into “Amandla . . . Ngawethu!!!” or something like that.
When I first got to the NBC premises, I looked around for smoke and perhaps burning tyres, a cordon-off barbed wire fence erected in front of the premises guarded by the special field forces (SFF), an ambulance on standby with the crew ready to sprint anyone injured in action to hospital.
I thought I would see women in sneakers and men in track suits – all primed up for action.
I thought I would at least be greeted by a sight of cars with the words: ‘Albertus Pay Us Now’ painted on the windscreens.
Or men like Boli Moetseng, Kazembire Zemburuka charging towards the SFF men to challenge and taunt them before running away from arrest (a tactical retreat), while Tonateni Shidhudhu and Blanche Gorases stand in front of the One Africa Television camera being interviewed with a live “war zone” in the background.
To my disappointment, that was not the case. The women wore high heels and lethal stilettos while men were in their suits and smart shirts.
Cars neatly parked in front of the gate with their tyres still attached instead of fuelling fires. And to add to that, there was a group that played a game of dominoes to while up the time.
But the very (un)happy NBC employees sang songs that took me back to my youth.
Happy songs which made me question whether this was a demonstration from discontented employees or a parade of many charades believed to be a sunrise to sunset outdoor boot camp.
In an attempt to inflict a bit of drama myself, I unknowingly and subconsciously found myself standing in the middle of the road and waiting for the group of protestors to strike me to the ground with their posters and hopefully all headlines would read “One woman injured - NBC strike turns nasty,” even if it would happen by accident.
. . . And while I stood in the middle of the street in the northern industrial area busy tinkering with the settings on my camera in order to take the best pictures of the up-to-now sedentary demonstration, a stampede erupted right in front of me.
As if they knew where to draw the line, the demonstrators split with some going to my left, others to my right and I stood flanked in the middle of the column . . . Untouched and unharmed.
It is true that Namibia is a very peaceful country. If this had happened in one of our neighbouring countries, there would be burning tyres, a cordon fence in front of the gates to prevent forced entry, an ambulance and the special field force in action.
What this strike presented was quite the opposite. And not just any opposite, it was an opposite in exaggeration.
I say exaggeration because; some of the employees brought their camping chairs, others dominoes while some brought a whole new meaning to “chilling at the dam”.
On the lighter side of this graceful strike, I could not help but think that for every domino that fell to the table, a board member was panicking just staring at a blank television screen that had his corporation’s logo on it and nothing more.
I can imagine the loss thereof and the image it gives off on a global scale and market. But look on the bright side, where one domino falls, another hand will always be there to pick it up.
And even though salary increments are slower than the time it would take to cure tuberculosis, we ought to be grateful that protests, demonstrations or strikes are done peacefully.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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.

Contact Us

Windhoek Observer House
c/o John Meinert & Rossini Street
Windhoek West
Tel: +264 61 411 800
Fax: +264 61 226 098