his excellent article in Informanté (24 - 30 May 2012) is very instructive. It gives us the picture of a true female freedom fighter, her sufferings under two autocratic regimes and an insight into her mind-set ever since she started to think for herself. This ‘I am still Swapo, despite everything’ gives us also an answer on so many questions we so often ask today – and that is the most important thing we all can learn from the article.
How many times did we not ask why the majority of our population still votes for Swapo, a party that fails us on almost every front? How many times did we not understand why this voting majority, still pitifully poor after 22 year of Independence under Swapo rule, is still voting for the very party that installed poverty as a ‘sustainable condition’ of Namibian life.
The people are completely neglected and hungry, they are deeply disappointed and almost without any hope – but refrain to look for political alternatives; they even refrain from establishing an alternative political party amongst themselves. And if we now contemplate this situation anew with the above-mentioned article in mind, it dawns on us all how terrible these people suffered from Apartheid. Wounds that were inflicted on our brown and black compatriots since the arrival of the white man on the shores of southern Africa cannot heal overnight, it is impossible. The image of the coloniser in the mind of the colonised is still a horrible image – and the image of the colonised in the mind of the descendents of the colonisers is, of course, not much better – they suffered, too.
Yes, both sides suffered. And because of that, reconciliation, the very process we so urgently need to succeed today, is so extremely difficult and still not completed. During the time since 1652, many generations saw the light of the African sun day after day – and most of the time these South Africans/South-West-Africans lived close together and, at the same time, nevertheless still wide apart and they inflicted wounds on each other. Racism in its conscious and unconscious form was the order of the day and this brought about misery over southern Africa for hundreds of years. Oh yes, it is still with us!
The story of Mrs. Ida Hofmann could, and should be, a revelation for all of us. Her history is able to show us clearly one of the basic wrong ideas of humankind. Racism is a cancer. We should not try to ‘heal’ it, we should, all together, cut it out of our thinking, out of our image of our world. Only then, we will be able to look for alternatives in regard to our government. Only then, we will be able to think in the terms of ‘we’ and ‘us’ and not in terms of ‘them’ and ‘us’ any longer. Only then will we see our neighbour in his true image, we will see that he is not different from us! Then we tear down the wall and barriers that separated us for too long and we can all work and live together as human beings.