Exactly nine years ago, in May 2009, the first piece of Ondjirio appeared in the Windhoek Observer. In that piece, I explained how Nghumbilemo ya Ndakomani (colonially known as Lazarus Jacobs)
and I met when both of us were working for the Department of Water Affairs in the early 1990s.
Ndakomani and I became great friends, primarily because of our shared interest in the American Civil Rights struggle, particularly our admiration for Malcolm X and Dr Martin Luther King Jr. So when Paragon bought the Windhoek Observer in 2009, following the death of its previous owner and editor, Hannes Smith, Ndakomani asked me to write a weekly column; this is how Ondjirio was born, and I have been at it now for nine years.
Sadly, this is my last piece as I am taking time off to take care of some academic commitments. Whether I shall make a comeback in the near future or not, remains to be seen; for now I am writing this piece to say goodbye, perhaps farewell. There is a saying In Otjiherero that “Tjitji hajanda tjihuna”, literally meaning that everything must come to an end.
The Good Book also teaches us that “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). So I guess that my season with the Windhoek Observer is done, until further notice. Ondjirio’s season has thus come to an end.
I enjoyed writing all those pieces over the past nine years, and I am glad that many people have been reading and appreciating my column, based on the comments they made directly to me or to the editors. As you all know, I have been writing about a variety of topics, ranging from serious political analysis and commentary, to light-hearted articles that got many people in stitches. I also had a fair sprinkling of lyrics from my favourite songs to spice up the writing.
Many readers asked me if I have plans to publish a selection of my articles in a book, and my answer is in the affirmative. God willing, I have plans to do so soon after completing my academic assignment. I have already started with the selection of articles which I think capture the essence of my writings. It is my intention to approach some persons to write introductory remarks as a preface to the book. So watch this space.
What pleases me the most is the fact that there has been a steady increase in the number of newspaper columns written by indigenous Namibians. There was a time, not so long ago, when veteran journalist, Gwen Lister, was the only person writing a weekly column focusing on topical issues. But now we find many weekly columns in almost all the local newspapers, as well as some vibrant debates in the opinion and letters pages of newspapers. This is very exciting, and I pray that this will continue.
My sister Hilda Basson-Namudjebo followed the honourable example of Paragon’s Ndakomani and Desmond Hamunyela when she launched the weekly newspaper “The Patriot”. Congratulations! It remains my conviction that Namibians must write their own stories, and manage the media narratives. We must own the means of information, especially in this information age. Thus, I applaud the Windhoek Observer and The Patriot, as private newspapers owned by indigenous Namibians, for their excellent pioneering work in this regard.
It is my mother’s 80th birthday tomorrow, 25 May 2018, on Africa Day. I thus dedicate this farewell piece to my dear mother, Hilda Inaahi Kujambera-Kaumbi, who, together with my father, planted the seeds of the love for reading and writing in me at an early age. Happy birthday, Mommy.