A Love Letter to Namibia

Happy birthday to you, ‘Land of the Brave’.

I hope this letter finds you well.

I could say: “Can you believe it has already been 34 years?”

But I’m almost 10 years younger, so I think that would be inappropriate.

I have not always been your proud daughter, but I have honoured the history of my ancestors and have accepted the teachings of my elders.

As young girl, I was taught about the liberation struggle and told stories of your brave sons and daughters who went to hell and back to ensure my right to even call you my home.

To me their sacrifice can never be matched.

But I was born free, protected and received as a symbol of the future.

I was born free to be nurtured and properly educated.

I was schooled to never forget my past as I work towards the future.

I have to admit though that I have let you down a few times, and I’m sorry.

Your resilience has inspired me to tell the beautiful story of survival, growth and unity of my people the best way I know how to, without any fear of being judged, because equality, stability and democracy was achieved for me by those who loved me enough to lay their lives down before they even knew me.

I know that days aren’t always remembered and that hardship is bound to give birth to resentment, but I also know you have loved me properly, you have opened doors and handed me opportunities I didn’t always deserve.

You have loved me fully, encouraged me to develop opinions, speak up and express myself without the fear of prosecution.

I know that you have held me, through common struggles of the youth, unemployment and poverty.

Unfortunately I also know you hold tonnes of trauma yet to be unearthed, decades-long inequalities, and wounds of daily struggles to be healed, but you have been a beautiful journey and destination – all at the same time.

You have done well for yourself. You may not be where you want to be, but you are not where you started either.
Every bit of your effort counts.

You are better off today than you were yesterday. You have faced challenges and overcome obstacles.

Be proud of yourself, you are strong and capable.

Tomorrow I may need to fight you again, I may get frustrated with your service delivery, lack of job opportunities, or inflation.

Tomorrow I may talk back at you, raise my voice and defend myself.

But today I want you to know I still love you, and I’m grateful for everything you have done for me.

So, here is to 34 years of good education.

Here is to 34 years of progress.

Growth is a journey, not a destination.

Faces will come and go, seasons will fade into each other, dreams will be shaped and reshaped, but in the end they will still belong to you.

Turcky Hishikushitya

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