The Namibian Home Front Survivors’ League

Photo: Contributed.

This Monday, I was seated at a table waiting for my food when I overheard a fascinating conversation.

That’s where I learned about the Namibian Home Front Survivors’ League (NHSL) for the first time.

Apparently this new organisation aims to represent those who weren’t fortunate enough to be born in some far-off country during the liberation struggle. It’s for those who weathered the storm right here at home, amid the chaos and turmoil of colonial rule.

They were five, seated behind a pillar, but I was close enough to hear everything. They sat there with only mineral water bottles – nothing else – as if they were strictly there for business.

They were whispering, but I could catch everything. Truskot!

From what I gathered, the ‘remainees’ are tired of seeing their exiled counterparts getting all the attention.

Apparently the NHSL aims to give credit where credit is due to those who endured the hardships and trials of the Namibian home front without the comfort of foreign soil beneath their feet.

One of the women at that table went on a rampage right there.

“This Neka is starting to sound less like a noble cause and more like a membership club with a lifetime supply of free money,” she said.

“Don’t get me wrong, exile was no walk in the park. But is it grounds for a lifetime supply of government handouts and first dibs on every prime job opening?” she continued softer, probably realising she was being loud.

“Those born and raised here in Namibia are starting to feel like chopped liver, compared to these ‘exile kids’,’” she whispered even softer.

“Most of these so-called kids haven’t seen a real struggle since their Angolan internet went down.”

I almost laughed out loud right there. That was funny. Truskot! This is a true story.

The motley crew at that table were talking about the kids who dodged apartheid bullets on their way to school, the ones who learned calculus while dodging curfews, and the masters of the ‘art’ of being together but not together to avoid arrests.

I pretended to go to the restroom just past them to get a glimpse of their faces, but something else caught my attention: the documents on the table.

Spilling the beans here, truskot!

One of the papers displayed the name and slogan: ‘The Namibian Home Front Survivors’ League (NHSL)’ and the slogan … wait for it … ‘Because Home is Where the Struggle was Real’.

Membership requirements seemed straightforward based on what I could glimpse while walking by.

It would be open to individuals who were born, raised in, or actively participated in the resistance against colonial rule within Namibia’s borders.

Members would need to provide evidence of their involvement in home front activities, such as protests, community organising or resistance efforts.

The one with grey hair all over said something like: “Age is not a factor. Neka has grandfathers and grandmothers too.”

I almost bumped into the waitress trying to steal a glance of those papers. I couldn’t hold back my laughter when I closed the bathroom door behind me.

I hurried back to my table to avoid missing anything. Back there, they moved on to topics such as the organisation’s planned activities. The one with neat dreadlocks clearly didn’t know how to whisper. The fellow was loud, etse.

“Exile was tough, we get it. But so was growing up under the constant threat of violence and oppression. We, the Namibian homegrown heroes, deserve recognition too,” he said while looking at the lady in the ndelela dress.

“Shanties, my brother, we were the ones holding down the fort back home, dodging bullets and dreaming of a free Namibia,” she replied in a soft but stern whisper.

“This will work, Ndakala, trust me,” the dreadlock guy replied.

We now know the names of two of the organisers: Ndakala and Shanties. The other three rarely spoke, and one of them was too busy taking notes.

Xnus! True!

They even touched on fundraising for their activities, mentioning the National Youth Council (NYC).

One of the silent ones made a sound like “mxm”, as if she were about to spit on someone, and muttered something about the whole NYC burning in hell.

Look, dear reader, I’m not saying I support this, but it sounds interesting, right?

I was just sitting there, minding my own business, and overheard it all.

This is the Namibia we know, full of passionate people, isn’t it? Everyone’s screaming left and right “it is our time!”, or “we are still kids; we just look older because of exile!”.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re curious about joining the NHSL, right?

Well, let’s wait and see. I had to leave after enjoying my delicious steak and can’t provide more details at this point.

But I hope that some day, the ‘returnees’ and ‘remainees’ will play a game of ‘amagoes’, and we’ll see who can truly dodge that ball like a survivor.

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