Do you have to die to be a hero?

August 3, 2015, 8:14am

Open Cards: Do you have to die to be a hero?

One of Africa’s most renowned Jazz musicians who in the past has fallen in love with Windhoek Oliver Mutukudzi once sang a song titled what is a hero. In his rich lyrical content Mutukudzi raises questions about what makes an African Hero.
Even so Mutukudzi asks whether one has to die for their heroic exploits to be recognised by society. He also asks in through his lyrics a pretty difficult question that not so many with the responsibility to answer can answer. Mutukudzi in his lyrics sings, what is a hero, do you have to die to be a hero, what is a hero
While this might be viewed as a simple song that has ability to evoke emotions of happiness, joy and even make a human being want to swerve their body in a way that brings smiles to the viewers, it relates much to the modern day living. In fact the song sees many approach the dance floor whether they have the ability to dance or not and that is one credit many have to give to the legendary musician he knows how to make people dance and also digs deep into their thoughts.
If we are to listen to the song with a deeper meaning the song is not a simple emotional evoking tune but a significant portrayal of reality in any African country including Namibia. To date we are still to ascertain what exactly makes a modern day hero. Does the person bestowed with the hero status have to be a an acclaimed liberation struggle icon, does he or she have to die on the battle front to be given the recognition?, should this person wear a camouflage and survive a battle to be recognised as a hero?
Far from it in modern day situation there’s many unsung heroes that have done their part to contribute to the well-being of the Namibian human being. These are unsung heroes and heroines known to very few in their life time. Someone if asked today who their hero is they would say their hero is their mother or father. Rightly so I guess there is something that ties you to that person you view as your hero.
As we approach the heroes month one would not ignore the plight of those unknown soldiers still living today who contributed immensely to the well-being of Namibia today. There are so many more Namibian women and men who did all they could to make sure the country is what it is today. One wonders though whether those that are supposed to make sure these unsung heroes and heroines are taken care in a manner befitting to the hero.
There are also those modern day heroes that have done tremendously well to improve the life of Namibians today. One cannot live in modern day Namibia without mentioning the name of Frankie Fredirecks or the name of Johanna Benson. They might not have managed to have the mighty it takes to hold the gun and go into the bush to fight for their country but in their little way they have managed to lift the spirit of the Namibian people to a level unimaginable.
It is also difficult to live a life without mentioning the names of the likes of Erma Tuahepa who has done tremendously well to instil a sense of confidence and positivity to those that are living with the HIV virus. She in her little way has contributed to instilling a sense of belief and perseverance to those that might have though getting a disease is the end of life.
Dr Helena Ndume has done her part to contribute to the well-being of a Namibia nation and will never be forgotten by anyone who is right thinking and respects the work of others. Perhaps it takes much more than just holding the barrel in your hands and defeating those that want to oppress you to be a hero. One ought to look deeper and wider to society in general and ask themselves what really makes a hero.
Not openly has Dr Ndume received the Nelson Mandela award for her exploits in helping many Namibians gain their eyesight but she needs to be appreciated at home than abroad. The old saying goes charity begins at home. This means Dr Ndume’s exploits have to be celebrated at home first before the world joins in the fray.
In this August one wishes all those that are worthy their contribution to Namibia are celebrated in the most befitting way and are given the all the praise they deserve.

By Tiri Masawi