One of the last bastions of culture now a bastion of Christianity?

YOURS Truly Ideologically cannot say that he was necessarily surprised and/or dumbstruck.

But a recent announcement by the Mayor of the town of Opuwo, a capital that is supposed to be the last bastion of culture, if not only for the Ovahimba and/or Otjihimba but for Otjiherero and Otjimbanderu cultures, was being decorated with Xmas lights. The Kunene region, and its capital, Opuwo, being the cradle of Otjiherero and Otjimbanderu culture, and its last bastion, the supposed changed times notwithstanding struck Yours Truly as odd if not outlandish. Making him doubt, if perhaps he may not be the one out of times as well as behind times. In view of the fact it is sometime back that he was in Opuwo, 2011 to be exact, a good 12 years. A time during Opuwo could not have been expected to have been stagnant but much developed. That comes Xmas it is on par with other towns boasting with Xmas lights. Also not forgetting that this is not actually the Ohopoho of yesteryears, then known as the capital of one of the countries cultural meccas. But that times in many aspects and respects have changed. Although a
s may be said that the more things change the more they remain the same. But one cannot expect that despite things remaining the same how much they change, the epitome such of unchanging change would be the Xmas lights. Granted that Opuwo may be by modern standards of its own a cosmopolitan town in its own right. For today it is the capital of the region of Kunene, with the region itself in one way or another, especially culturally diverse as it can and could be. Likewise Opuwo is today resident to many cultural groups. But given its cultural diversity and cosmopolitan nature notwithstanding, it cannot, mindful even of its faith orientation, be it Xmas or not, be defined by Xmas trees only, least not its development.

Yes by the times of today, and their superficial craze, Xmas trees, are no more and no less nothing but the opiums of capitalism asare many other things. Which are there to hypnotise and mesmerise the people into thinking that they cannot have it better than Xmas trees, and thus should not strive and fight for anything better than Xmas trees and all the materially meaningless trappings of a decadent capitalist society. Luring them into a false sense of prosperity and progress. A transient one for that matter. Because once Xmas is over, is back to the reality many are being indoctrinated into to the level of being not only being blind to such realities but also pacified not bring change for the better. Such realities being poverty, ignorance and all ills that go along with a presumably affluent capitalist society but in which and where affluence is the exclusive domain abrogated by the ruling and economic elite to themselves and their cronies.

Kaokoland and Ohopoho, whether one wishes it or not, at this point in time, unless one is becoming an accomplice in the sustenance and continuation of the retarding status quo, of oneself, is no longer home to the Ovahimba and related cultural sub-clans and other clans. But to a bigger family of the wretched of capitalist Namibia. Where abject poverty and inequality isn the hallmark.

For Yours Truly Ideologically Xmas lights epitomise nothing but capitalist decadence. To the remote Kunene region, and Opuwo its capital, decadence that for now they can only dream about and as much be envious about. Meaning Xmas and attendant Xmas lights are no more than copious opulence and decadence currently enjoyed by few seemingly affluent cities and towns in Namibia. But with little meaning other than hollow and imaginary wellness and wellbeing whether economically, culturally, and otherwise. The reality is more than anything else towns like Opuwo, are hitchhikers, if not copycats of the imaginary affluence most of the relatively affluent town and cities and their residents in Namibia enjoy.

Thus, there’s nothing materially meaningful in the mothers and fathers of the town lighting Xmas trees in the town. To symbolise what other than perhaps illuminating the town’s poverty and destituteness, if at all such Xmas lights would at any point serve this purpose at all while they are on. Whether the Xmas lights are on or off, Opuwo shall remain in its permanent state of seeming neglect, if not real neglect, and the greater Kunene. Which is an euphemism to refer to the region and its people as great other than in their determination and resolve to soldier on subsisting through their traditional means of subsistence, foremost their animals.

As well as pride in their culture, which despite the region being one of the meccas of culture, and cultural tourism, if not the mecca of both, has never been dampened and their culture remains as strong as ever, despite the challenges of development. It is ironic that the very development, which is supposed to be the motive power of progress and cultural enrichment and renaissance in the region, has often seem the harbinger of the region’s and its peoples decline, and ultimately its extinction one day. These day being not a long way off from the looks of things. Epitomised, among others, by nothing else then the Xmas lights. Which in the eyes of some may be seen as progress and development but in reality being what they are. Illusion and imagination of modernity and development. It is really any wonder how many of the people in Opuwo would be delighted by the Xmas lights, let alone if any would ever notice them at all. Without taking anything away from the mothers and fathers of the town in their decision t
o light the town with Xmas lights, surely the little however meagre it is and may have been, could go somewhere a long way. Nor realistically can mere Xmas lights assuage and appease the residents of the town amidts the ever perpetual distress of hunger, unemployment, and all the ills associated with an impoverished and destitute community.

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