The Grand Buffet– Eating on the Run for 34 years

Photo: Contributed.

Ah, Independence Day in Namibia! A time for celebration, reflection and, apparently, a crash course in feeding chaos.

After 34 years of practising the fine art of national festivities, one would think we’d have mastered the simple act of feeding people. Alas, it seems we’re still stuck in the culinary dark ages, serving up confusion and discontent faster than you can say “buffalo meat buffet”.

A number of government ministries, a whole regional council, the president’s office, the tender parasites who got the contracts, N$9 million and the other auxiliary funds that no one will account for, and yet, thousands have to run after trucks for a little meal. I know that is a long sentence, but that’s exactly how long we have been waiting for order and a little respect.

Oh, I almost forgot about their qualifications. All these divisions are headed by people with doctorates, MBAs, degrees, diplomas, certificates and party membership cards, and none of them could come up with a plan on how to feed people in an orderly manner?

There is another long sentence full of nothing. That’s bokdrol in native Afrikaans.

Picture this: the sun beating down, Katima Mulilo’s moist, thick and hot air filled with anticipation, and hungry citizens eagerly awaiting their patriotic plate of sustenance after a speech marathon.

But wait, what’s this? Instead of orderly queues and efficient serving, we have a chaotic scene reminiscent of a wildebeest stampede. People chasing after food trucks like it’s the last meal on earth, while VIPs lounge in the shade, savouring their seafood delicacies in serene splendour.

It’s enough to make you wonder if we’re celebrating independence or participating in a twisted game of ‘Here Comes the Truck’.

One person manning an ice cream truck would have fed the people at Katima Mulilo better. Shem!

But hey, if how we behave at the dinner table is indeed a reflection of our entire lives, then we’re doomed. It’s like the minister’s office has air conditioning while the clerk’s office has a window – talk about inequality served with a side of stale vetkoek.

And don’t even get me started on the accommodation disparity. VIPs snug in plush hotel rooms, while the common folk get cozy on school hostel floors, counting imaginary sheep to fall asleep.

What? It’s not true? Well then, issue a statement where you explain yourselves! That’s the least you can do, right?

Let me put it this way. How the hell do you run a country when you can’t prepare a feeding strategy for an event at one town? Where are the skills, the care, the supervision and the integrity of those involved?

In fact, why give a tender to a caterer who can barely put a meal together, let alone prepare a plan on how to serve it. Are you all mad there?

You see, this was supposed to be a satire piece but there is nothing funny about this mess. I can’t pull sarcasm out of barbarism. I can’t pull funny out of dummy.

And let’s not forget our esteemed leaders’ response, or lack thereof, to this culinary catastrophe. Not a single word of apology or embarrassment from the presidential podium.

Thirty-odd years of the same soggy sandwiches and lukewarm Oros, and not a peep of protest. It’s as if they’re saying, “Let them eat buffalo meat, if they can catch it, that is”.

This is not a story about Katima Mulilo so don’t pretend you have done it better elsewhere.

So, here’s a thought: maybe it’s time for our leaders to step up to the plate – pun intended – and address the buffet blunder head-on.

Tate Mbumbiso, we’re looking at you. Let the fourth president be the first president to say something about the thirty-fourth mess of a meal.

Cheers to another year of independence, Namibia.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News