Today, Namibia joins the rest of the continent in celebrating Africa Day, roughly a commemoration of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (now known as the African Union), but does it hold any meaning for the new generation that finds itself absent from the inner-circle of the politically active?
The central feature of the day is the emphasised moral obligation to espouse and foster continental unity as much as Africans ought to reminisce on the revolutionary efforts of celebrated Pan-Africanist architects.
Yet the day undeniably comes at a time when the rest of the continent finds itself at a precarious moment as far as economic growth and political stability is concerned.
Threats to globalization, a tide upon which Namibia’s economy has risen continue to linger around, this added with mixed emotions around the hovering Chinese presence puts question marks to the certainty of growth.
Regional economies have seen themselves within Intensive Care Unit while integration for ease of trade and travel continue to be a challenge for the continent as a whole.
Although real output growth is said to have increased by 3.6 percent in 2017 and projected to accelerate to 4.1 percent this year and 2019 there has not been much of job creation and the rigours of poverty continue to bite in.
Economic diversification, prudent macro-economic efforts and massive investments have been prescribed by the African Development Bank (ADB) as to be the only way out of the catch-22 situation the continental economy finds itself in.
However, the day has also to do with retracing of African roots and what it means to be African as much as it seeks to touch on youth empowerment.
“The day reminds us of the solidarity that we have as Africans. Our forefathers had a generational fight and now as Africans what is our fight? As young Africans we have to identify our generational fight,” says African Union Youth Club president, Ester Simon.
The day is underlined by the urgency to “Remember where we come from,” says youthful researcher for the Swapo research and advisory committee, Hionel Apollus.
“I think we should remind young people what is the agenda of Africa and we should empower them towards realising that vision,” he adds.
As Africa struggles to heal herself from poverty, hunger and the ever lacerated cancer of corruption, being African and a part of the collective whole seems to be slowly losing its meaning with young people who are exposed to the outside world.
And so how does the continental leadership save the day from passing as a mere ritualistic sabbatical devoid of ideological substance?
“The sense of the day should be reiterated,” submits Apollus, “A lot of young Africans and Namibians are becoming disinterested in politics and our question should be why? Find a root course to this disinterest. I it because we have a lack of leadership or is it because we have a lack of inspiration? What is it? And I think a day like Africa Day should be used to ask this question,” he says.
For Sylas Mangoba, a personal assistant in the ministry of trade, the best way to celebrate the day is to light the fire of patriotism within the self as well as reaffirm one’s sense of duty.
“The President has also called on all of us Namibians to join the clean up campaign. So this is also a form of patriotism towards our own nation which is the spirit of Ubuntu. Africanism can be portrayed in many ways.”
“The President has not only called on Namibians but he said and the visitors who are also in Namibia should join the Namibians. Let us join hands, Africans are calling for a clean Africa and this is how we are going to celebrate Africa Day,” he says.