Marson Sharpley writes:
WELL done people of Namibia, my fellow countrymen and women! We have to be proud of the manner in which we voted and behaved during the voting period. It is this that makes one proud to be Namibian!
Having said that, I want to advance an argument that I hope will become part of the future debates of our population as we strive to find the best-suited leadership in the political, economic and social sectors of our society. I believe that we need to examine and interrogate the demarcations we have accepted in terms of the roles that people are supposed to be filling in our society.
The Oxford dictionary describes or at least defines politics as the art and science of government or activities concerned with the acquisition or exercise of authority or government. The first point I would like to make and attempt to clarify is the fact that when we speak about “church”, “politics” and/or “society”, we tend to refer to these entities in the third person as though we who are referring to them are not part of them.
Church is the people, politics is the people and society is the people! The idea of addressing these entities as some nebulous concept detached from us is, in my opinion erroneous! I am a human being, a son to my biological parents, a brother to my siblings, a husband to my wife and a father to my children and then I am a Pastor of my ministry as ordained by God.
As a human being who ascribes Christianity as the foundational basis of my world view and philosophy of life, I am ordained to be a leader by God who instructs man to “take dominion” over creation. Making us all leaders in one-way or another. I must be frank at this point and make reference to my mixed raceness, my colouredness in our context. With all that I went through during apartheid in both South Africa and Namibia and after my direct confrontation of racism, I have come to the conclusion that prejudice, tribalism and even racism continue to batter my life like the angry unabated waves of the ocean against the rocks. It is this sense of marginalization that forces me to trace my existence and roots way beyond the physical anthropological stigmatization to the spiritual genesis of who I am.
Both science and the Bible inform me that as molecular and physically visible as I am, I was sound before that, and I was light before being sound and I was thought before being light and before thought you and I and everything were spirit. This then brings me to the realization and conclusion that I owe my existence to none other than God who created me.
The sense of socio-political marginalization and the existence of an invisible ceiling because of being “Coloured” or “mixed race” in Namibia in this day and age makes me, together with other like-minded intellectuals who ascribe to the Bible, come to the conclusion that there is no other recourse but to organize all “Coloured” or “mixed race” people in this country into an entity that cannot and will not be ignored just as the Hereros, Namas, Owambos, Afrikaners, Chinese and Damaras etc are doing right before our very eyes.
This is one of a myriad of reasons why I intend to vigorously campaign for the formation of a Coalition of Political Church Leaders. Oh yes, I voted as a resident of Windhoek rural and my vote remains influenced and informed by my revolutionary mileage and credentials.
However, I realize that my kind both racially and religiously are marginalized because of belly politics. Any church leader who does not have a political impact will have missed the plot because Christianity is about the establishment of the Kingdom of God that is in itself a political exercise. What is happening in our country for “Coloureds” is that we are being informed without it being said that we are so useless that we are unable to be a Governor, a Permanent Secretary, an Ambassador, a Deputy Minister, a Minister etc. I do not see the need to grovel and beg to be given a position in Government just because I am “Coloured”.
Oh yes, you must believe me when I say that I have a patriotism to Namibia that is well known and respected in both political and church circles. Why, I even encourage my pastors and congregations to sing the national anthem at the end of a church service. However, when I meditate and look and examine the modus operandi of the political sphere of Namibia, I realize that with all my eccentric patriotism, I belong to a group of people who are socially, politically and economically marginalized.
Forming a Coalition of Political Church Leaders is going to work at developing a socio-political culture that will truly celebrate and utilize the tribal and ethnic diversity of all participants and transcend all prejudices. As a Pan-Africanist I am clear of my political homes in every African nation I come to, but that does not make me blind and stupid not to see that as a “Coloured” in my home country, I am not taken seriously.
Besides being unfair, unrighteous and wicked, it is a devilish state of affairs that is no longer acceptable and calls for a serious response from my people, the “Coloureds”! Someone had the audacity and temerity to inform me the other day that “Coloureds” were not meant to be. As if they are a mistake.
Now if that is the thinking in certain circles, then I believe the time has come to address such rubbish and begin to make it clear to all and sundry that actually we are not a walkover of drunks, hooligans and whores! I am actually wondering why the Colored community is not realizing and responding to the injustice that is being perpetrated against us. I really and truly never ever thought that I would find myself having to speak up as a “Coloured”.
Having to write like this is to me an indictment against our democracy and what the constitution of the Republic of Namibia stands for! My only recourse as a political church leader is to stand on the Word of God, the Bible and to demand equality and full representation for Coloured people in Government.
Coloured people on the other hand have to realize that as a community, leaders need to be identified and they must take responsibility to organize the “Coloured” community so that we are not taken for granted as is currently the case.
The fact of the matter is that all the other races and ethnic groups in this country have clear leaders on both the political and traditional fronts of our society. Being Coloured is not being a sub-culture that is less African than any other African-born group of people, being Coloured is not a disgrace or a mistake, being Coloured does not mean being viewed as stupid and not caring!
Being Coloured is being a human being created in the image of God with aspirations, dreams and ambitions like all other African tribes, races and ethnic groups in Namibia and the African continent at large. It is this state of affairs that now warrants that I as a Coloured church leader should begin to address this matter as Esther in the Bible had to do for her people the Jews.
I am a loyal member of this society and of my political party! I together with many other worthy Coloured leaders need to be respected and recognized nationally in our nation instead of being made to feel like second-class citizens. I also realize that this stance I am taking will not please many people, but honestly, I am quite tired of pleasing people who are happy with me as long as I remain a good “house nigger”! Rubbish!
This is one debate I am prepared to die for so that my children do not despise who they are to the point of urinating on my grave one day because I did nothing when I should have. Yes, to you who have married or have offspring across ethnic and colour lines, your children will one day find themselves at a place they did not expect because they will be viewed as “coloured” and thus be treated as second class. Looking at the political party lists really was depressing because Coloureds have been clearly lost in the maze of it all!
However I must also add that many Coloured people’s world view has been tarnished and contaminated by the racism of apartheid. This is something that the Coloured community cannot deny as it needs to be addressed! It comes from the fact that the custodians of apartheid indoctrinated the mixed race people that they were superior to the Black people, but lower than the White.
Who am I? Am I a drawer of water and a hewer of wood? Am I just the filling in a sandwich? Am I a pen pusher who’s task it is to advance the comforts of the petty bourgeoisie? Who am I? Who are we?