Gradually we are emerging from the turn-off weather
By Natasja Beyleveld, Managing Director of Namibia Media Monitoring (NaMedia).
For the first time in weeks (nay, months) I ‘peek-a-boo’ at the national news, and I’m surprised. Good stories, hope, an atmosphere of expectation and revival. Just when I was going to give up (do we ever), I saw the sun rise again. Picking up my daughter’s books from school this morning, I see people that look and ‘feel’ like me, but we still encourage each other.
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, the mind the achiever of your goals – then our nation has started to pick up momentum again. There is a sense of camaraderie and ‘zula-me-now’ in the atmosphere. I was talking to three men at my car yesterday, one was the car guard, one the store packer, and the other a street vendor. An older Afrikaner quickly sneered at us asking bluntly if the men were bothering me. A kind smile and a shake of my head to him were all that was needed to calm him.
Prejudice is almost like a pre-justice. It’s what hinders anyone from seeking the collective good, instead opting to stay ‘safe’ in the well-known and the ‘comfortable’. I recall I got annoyed with hours and hours of diversity seminars as a student leader at the University of Stellenbosch, and I now know why. It’s about breaking through across ‘human barriers’ to encourage and enlighten the entrapped to become colour/tribe/ethnicity blind. To put aside differences and not to try change people before introspecting your own objectives.
It is a constant negotiation of state-of-mind; at times you’re wrong, at times your opponent needs the breakthrough. During times of stress, effectively communicating becomes somewhat of a developed skill set we have had to invest in over the years. The “blokkop” (blockhead) approach of the Mr and Mrs in lead, will perhaps manipulate or create fear or distance, but it will not get you a supportive network of go-getters and go-doers in your journey.
As we start to feel hopeful again, even amidst the opportunity to see the ‘bad’ above the ‘good’, let us consider, decide, and embody the change we wish to see in our fellow countrymen. Insecurities and vulnerabilities are what tie us together, and this (the lockdown) was a good exercise to realise this if not knowing it already.
Support local business, big and small. Buy your socks, tomatoes, vetkoeke and meat from the locals that have worked hard to be seen (early evening at shopping centres), or building a social media profile based on the experience of ‘I have no choice now’.
Let’s recognize courage in the face of fear, and then use this as a means to change and impact where it matters. Sow your seeds well, they might just fall on fertile soil.