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Offbeat 16 December 2016

I hope you have a happy Christmas, with some kind of spirituality. If it doesn’t rain in a dam, I hope it rains on you.

Normally I ask Santa for rain over Christmas. I naturally picture rain over my house when I ask for that. Given his abysmal underperformance on that score for the last few years, I won’t bother to ask too hard for it this year.

If, however, he does decide to pack his bag with soggy clouds, I would prefer it if he dropped my gift off in some or other dam. I can cope with the desk fan and closed curtains as a substitute for the gift of water in taps.

The spirit of Christmas is not under threat from my atheist acquaintances and friends. In spite of their weird anger at my imaginary friends, I know they will also spend time gorging themselves and spend money on useless tat that will be redundant or broken before the next season arrives. So much for atheism, and consider the bizarre psychopathology of getting upset at someone’s imaginary friend. Or perhaps it is a subconscious recognition of their own residual beliefs.

Still on the topic of Christmas, Santa’s evil buddy, Krampus is going stronger than ever. The pick of this year’s videos features a Krampus procession made up of dressed up members of an industrial band drumming on car parts in a procession through some or other small Alpine town.

If you haven’t yet heard of the Krampus, he was a figure who took away naughty children in a sack, before the concept of Santa got revised, and the old man started delivering coal to the mischief makers.

Perhaps this year, Krampus can take people who still waste water on their pools and gardens.

I’m not going to ask for toys this year. I have about everything I could want in my mobile phone (mainly books) and a couple of games that I will replay in the off days.

Instead, I am going to ask Santa to give the vast majority of Namibians a common identity. The one thing that has emerged this year is tribalism, at least I have been seeing it in my sphere. It seems that if you don’t have enough or are unhappy about something, the fallback response is to attack someone from a different tribe. It’s right up there with the best of the conspiracy theorists.

Think David Icke’s theory that reptilian humanoids are dominating the earth as its ruling class. There are people who actually believe that, just like there are so many Namibians who believe that other tribes are the source of their woes. I want a rapid end to tribalism. Maybe we can blame David Icke’s reptilians instead. At least that route won’t have an impact on Namibians.

I also want a break for the people who dig through rubbish bins to survive.

My street started a neighbourhood watch. The paranoia is reaching the same levels found in people who believe in the ascendancy of Icke’s lizards or that other tribes are the source of their problems. A large part of the paranoia is directed at people who search the bins for food and bottles when the bins are put out. Some members of the neighbourhood chase them away

I am not sure about the motivation. It must be that the people who search the bins are strangers, but I cannot discount the fact that people either believe that the contents of their bins hold some value that is worth preserving until the truck comes, or that the contents of their bins are embarrassing.

I have been tempted to ask on the watch group about whether or not its members are Christian, or not? If yes, then denial of that one small relief from poverty is atrocious, and perhaps some form of giving would be better for the soul of the neighbourhood.

For myself, I want a few people to give to, wicked gifts, chosen with some mild kind of mischief in mind. It is far too easy to give the usual stuff away. I looked through a couple of Christmas catalogues, and saw nothing but boredom. The best gifts are unique to the person, and if they challenge the person slightly. That’s great as well. It underscores the idea that it is better to give than to receive.

I hope you have a happy Christmas, with some kind of spirituality. If it doesn’t rain in a dam, I hope it rains on you.

About The Author

Pierre Maré

Pierre Maré is a multi-awarded Namibian advertising strategist and copy writer. From 2004 to 2016 he wrote a weekly tongue-in-cheek column for the Namibia Economist, eventually amassing an impressive 590 articles over the almost 12-year period. This series of Offbeat is a digital rerun of his pieces that received the highest reader acclaim. - Ed.