Worker’s Day– Braai, Break Stuff, Repeat

Photo: Contributed.

Hold your horses! Workers Day came and went, as always, and I saw just how Namibians actually celebrate Workers Day.

It did lead me to questioning whether it is a commemoration, a celebration or political campaign, but let’s not get into all that right now.

Buckle up, because compared to the pamphlets promising poolside cocktails and ‘reflection on your labour’, it was about as glamorous as a babelas Monday morning in a taxi to work.

First off, let’s dissect the fantasy.

Workers Day brochures paint a picture of wonderful relaxation, picnics in the park, kicking back with a braai, maybe even indulging in convos about the nature of work. It sounds nice, right?

Here’s the reality: workers were at work, working and complaining that it is their day and they should have been at home. It made me question why a worker would celebrate a Workers Day by not working.

Isn’t that the day you should be doing what you are celebrating by actually arriving at work on time for once, working a little harder and skipping your lunch because, well, it is Workers Day?

That thought almost got me beaten up, because the workers I spoke to didn’t think it was funny at all.

One tate came running with a shovel shouting “fusek, fusek!” and I had to dash out of there. Some jokes will get you killed, for sure.

Some had a good time, though.

The lucky ones were really off, because by 08h00, families were eating ice cream and taking pictures under the trees at the Zoo Park.

Some were at home, preparing for a little braai featuring brisket chops, while papa bear was standing in a line trying to pay for a discounted bottle of Oros at Shoprite.

And as for pondering the meaning of work?

Let’s be honest, most folks were too intoxicated to even bother thinking.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there was definitely a celebratory vibe.

There was music thumping from car stereos, all the shebeens were as loud as ever and the kids kicked the tennis ball in the middle of the road as usual.

Oh, and then there was the NBC trying to force feed people speeches broadcasting from the Workers Day rallies that became election campaign opportunities.

Do you remember your uncle who always manages to break something at every family gathering?

Yeah, he was there helping to put up the gazebo and ended up snapping a pole in half.

Then there’s your grandma, who insists on bringing enough potato salad to feed a small army, even though the last time everybody only ate the meat and left the salad for the dogs.

Fashion on Workers Day is a glorious clash of cultures and political party colours.

Back in the days, workers would come out with fancy outfits from mail-order catalogues like Mahomedy’s, and then slap a mineworker’s hard hat on.

Now, it is political party colours from the top to bottom.

Of course, you would still see those good old leopard-print vests on some of the old-school gents.

That’s the beauty of it, isn’t it?

Workers Day is a melting pot of ‘Namibianness’.

It’s catching up with long-lost relatives you only see once a year, arguing good-naturedly about who brought the best braai meat and dodging the hyperactive toddlers wielding plastic batons.

It’s about celebrating the fact that we all suffer the daily grind, even if our idea of relaxation involves a crowded park, questionable music choices and lukewarm potato salad.

Of course, there are some who truly embrace the spirit of the day.

The braai masters become grill geniuses, expertly flipping boerewors and charring veggies to perfection.

The music aficionados curate playlists that get everyone moving, from oldies such as Kapitol K ‘Mate Mate’ to the latest Namibian jams.

And the chatterboxes? Well, they spin tales that would make any professional storyteller jealous. Everyone had a larger-than-life story similar to how ‘my boss is nothing without me’.

Unfortunately, Nambia had to go to bed early because, well, Thursday was a real workers’ day since they all had to work. Net so!

So, there you have it.

Workers Day in Namibia – a day of delicious chaos, questionable fashion choices and a whole lot of camaraderie.

It might not be picture-perfect relaxation, but it’s ours and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Besides, where else would you get to witness your uncle break a gazebo pole and argue politics with your grandma over a plate of dry potato salad with very little mayonnaise and too much sugar and vinegar?

That, my friend, is pure Namibian magic.

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