Rays of hope

17 September 2018 | Columns

Yanna Erasmus - My mother, much like many pensioners in this country, both white and black, has no medical aid. She has developed cataracts and needs surgery as her vision is beginning to decline. I did a lot of research and was advised to take her to the clinic in Okahandja, where we live, to get her a green health passport and a referral to the eye clinic at Windhoek's Central Hospital.

We arrived at the clinic at 07:00 sharp in a bid to avoid long queues. We took our place along the wall, behind possibly ten or so others. As we waited, the line grew longer. But we stood there, waiting our turn.

The clinic opened at 08:20 and what happened thereafter, took my breath away. All of those in front of us turned around to my mother and nudged her gently by the shoulder, passing her from person to person, saying, “Ouma, gaan voor”.

We were more than willing to wait our turn but these people, also cold and in need of medical care, would not allow my mother who is 72, to stand a minute longer than she had already stood.

A young man pushed in past my mother and he was immediately castigated in Ovaherero to step aside. He did, even if it was begrudgingly.

I did a social media post on how I felt and shared my gratitude and my love for this country. The post had over 60 comments and most of them, bearing the exact same testimony, adding pregnant women to the list of those pushed forward in queues.

Respect for the elderly is an old-school value and it comes from our younger and middle-aged countrymen and -women.

And it is not aligned to race at all.

Here I thought things were falling apart in Namibia.

What I witnessed that Friday morning at that clinic, does not gel with the words uttered by many of our leaders – whether in government, opposition parties or simply community leaders. It also does not gel with many social media posts from ordinary citizens who often spew hatred towards white Namibians.

What I found under that tree was that the grassroots in this country cares. What I found is that there is in fact a community in this country, spread all over, that offers love and respect to each other. This is something I thought this country had lost.

This is the Namibia I grew up with. This is how I know my fellow countrymen and -women. I see that nothing has changed and I am humbled and grateful.

I am so very proud to be a Namibian because this is how we are as a people and a nation.

I had become quite depressed about my future and that of my son's in this country but all of that changed on that cold and windy Friday morning.

We do not have to nation-build. We are already one.

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