Here Come the Holidays, Roadblocks and Grocery Compos

Photo: Contributed.

Here come the joys of heading back to the village for the holidays, navigating roadblocks, dodging awkward questions and trying not to offend the entire clan with your lack of food packs.

It’s a true Namibian adventure, and I’m here to guide you through the intricacies of this annual pilgrimage.

So, picture this: You’re cruising down the road, eager to escape the urban jungle’s smell of tar and exhaust fumes.

But wait, what’s that? A roadblock, complete with officers armed with questions that baffle the most seasoned travellers.

“Where are you headed?” they ask, as if your holiday plans are crucial information for national security.

Now, let’s be real. Do these officers really care if you’re off to snuggle with someone in Osona? Probably not.

They’re just doing their job, and it’s best to keep the interaction as smooth as possible.

But here’s a suggestion for our law-enforcement friends: Focus on checking tyre treads and lights, and maybe ask for a cooldrink, as usual.

Because honestly, in a free country, our holiday plans are our business.

I mean, why should we disclose our destination? It’s not like we’re master criminals on the run.

And if anyone should be answering location-related queries, it’s Sacky Shanghala, navigating the high-stakes journey between the cell and the chow hall.

Finally you head on towards your destination, your roots and pride. Your child suddenly looks to the left and sees a lone oryx staring into the open plains as if to pose for a picture.

Your child taps you on your shoulder and shouts: “Daddy, look, it’s Jameela!”

“Yes, my child, that is the pride of the nation until they make another one wear a hippo costume. Then we switch,” you reply.

But let’s not get too distracted by such roadblocks; there’s a more pressing issue at hand – the grocery compo.
You may think you can sneak into the village unnoticed, but oh no, my friend.

The uncles, aunties and even the neighbours expect a piece of the urban pie you’ve supposedly been feasting on all year.

And here’s the catch – you better have those five separate packages for each relative.

Forget that you’ve been living on a tight budget – rural Namibians are convinced that city dwellers swim in pools of money and harvest cash from imaginary urban money trees.

So, unless you arrive with proof that you’re empty-handed, the love and warmth of the village may be in short supply.
Now, let’s delve into the contents of these mandatory care packages.

The neighbour’s bundle is a carefully curated mix – a small pack of maize meal, Joko tea, sugar, solo and Black & White tobacco.

Because nothing says “I’m a successful city slicker” like the gift of tea and tobacco, right?

But fear not, dear traveller.

Even if you forgot the combo, a well-timed bottle of booze hidden under your car seat may just save the day.

A temporary ceasefire will ensue as laughter echoes through the air, and you’ll be momentarily embraced by the warmth of the village.

However, reality sets in when you reach your humble abode – a hut that hasn’t seen your presence in a year.

You open the door to find an anthill on your bed, a friendly reminder that you forgot to delegate the annual hut cleaning duty.

And so you spend your first night back in your luxurious car, contemplating the choices that led you to this moment.

I am sure you’ve seen the picture of a stick hut leaning on one side and a beautiful Mercedes under a little tree that has not been watered for ages.

That’s you.

But hey, fear not, weary traveller.

I’m on your side in this absurd journey through the holiday rituals of rural Namibia.

Please buckle up, bring the cooldrink, and may your roadblocks be short and your anthills easily conquered.

The road safety slogan for this holiday season is ‘Don’t Think or Drink and Drive!’.

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