Jackie Wilson Asheeke
This is my last Shout-Out column.
In life, all things change. To live with everything the same, would make our minds and spirits go numb. Change is scary but exciting at the same time. I began writing my signature column ‘shout out’ in March 2009, nearly 12 years ago. It has been a fantastic ride!
My journey from writing that first column to becoming Senior Editor at the Windhoek Observer is a personal and professional triumph. From as far back as 2004, I have edited or written over 5,000 articles, columns, proposals and research pieces. I have done numerous skills transfer workshops and training sessions. I have travelled all over beautiful Namibia and visited over 40 different countries. So far, my life has been a journey of learning, patience, fast-paced work, tension, resolution, deadlines, emotions, and fun. I have been blessed to meet so many interesting and memorable people.
I must give a nod of love and thanks to my three children who inspire me: Toivo (Dr Asheeke!) is a college professor in New York. Mweneni works with children in France. And my youngest, Martha, is a top online language trainer all over the world. Seeing your children thrive makes all the pain and joy it took to raise them, worth it.
I lost my mom three weeks ago. Her love, support, and encouragement made me who I am today. I sent her everything I ever wrote. Over the years, she made comments for and against my points! Momma did not half-step.
The other day, I re-read some of my earliest Windhoek Observer pieces. When my column first launched, while I was still working as the CEO of Fenata. I wrote lighter stories about diverse subjects. I had fun! At heart, I am a giddy creative writer with a raging imagination.
I wrote stories about all aspects of human nature and the funny things people do and say. I laughed ‘til I cried when I reread some of those pieces. I also noticed how my writing skills drastically improved from 2009 to now. Wow!
The reactions from my readers about my many book, restaurant, movie and play were always encouraging. Thank you to those out there who repeated some of my recipes, corrected me on facts or sent me your stories about the featured recipes.
My column focus changed in 2016. The Lifestyle section began featuring a column called “Confessions of a Couch Cat.” My warm and fuzzy articles now had a better home. I then released the beast of my political and challenging opinions in my “Shout-Out” column.
I thank my Editor-in-Chief and Company Directors for never once standing in my way of keepin’ it real. No one ever told me NOT to write about a subject or a person. I think that freedom and respect are essential.
My readers know that some of my terminologies is straight “outta’ da hood” and I have written snippets about growin’ up black in the USA. I will never apologize for where I come from even when it gets me into trouble.
Back in 2011, I was fired from the NWR Board by then tourism minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah because I used the term, “bullshit” during a one-on-one conversation. Using this term is normal where I come from. It accurately described the lies, waste and theft that was going on back then. I will not apologize for being who I am when I speak and write.
Ain’t gonna let nobody, turn me round,
I just keep on a-walkin’, keep on a-talkin’,
Marching on to freedom land.
That’s how I roll.
Hanging with friends and family in the ‘hood is where I developed my ‘in yo’ face’ fearlessness to fight against injustice, racism, sexism and stupidity. That fire inside of me brought me into the US anti-apartheid movement. I worked in Namibia or on Namibian issues for 40 years beginning in my undergrad days.
Alleluia! I have finished my first mega-novel. Its first volume in the 3-book series is now with a professional editor and then on to a publisher. Check my Facebook page in about four months for eBook information. A bio book will come much later; my story still has chapters left to write, God-willing.
Thanks to all my interns over the years who have inspired me and listened to the lessons I tried to teach. Thanks to all whose work supported mine whether at Fenata, Grandma’s Cookies, my many consultancies, or at the Windhoek Observer. I am grateful.
All print media houses face challenges in the new normal. I am confident that the Windhoek Observer will adapt and survive.
For everyone, have hope as I do: when God closes a door, He opens a window.