Windhoek – Namibians on Sunday observed the country’s 31st Independence Day differently as a precautionary measure amid spiralling confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Namibia has so far recorded 42,203 confirmed cases, a drastic increase from three COVID-19 cases confirmed at its 30th Independence in March 2020.
The Namibian Government did not host a 31st Independence celebration mass event as a health precaution. Contrary to the traditional mass gathering, Namibian President Hage Geingob delivered his message at an exclusive media conference live-streamed virtually on social media platforms.
Locals also resorted to other unique ways to observe the day.
In the past, David Johannes, based in the capital Windhoek, would attend the event and commemorate the day with the masses. This year, his family went to a museum instead.
“That way, in the absence of a gathering, we still pay homage to heroes of the liberation struggle while the children learn more about the country’s history,” Johannes said Sunday.
Besides, he followed the proceedings of the President’s message virtually via Facebook.
He is not the only one. Elly Matias listened to music related to the liberation struggle, peace and property, some of the visions and hope for the country pronounced by the country’s President.
“We also cooked some traditional food and feasted,” Matias said.
While David Namaseb maximised independence themed-decoration at local shopping centers and took photos, he updated his status across the various social media pages and accounts. Various shopping centers also set up independence themed decoration, camouflaged by Namibian flag.
Moreover, corporate companies also shared independence messages on social media, while employees wore traditional outfits.
“The wearing of traditional outfits aimed to demonstrate cultural diversity and promote unity in observance of the day,” said Anna Silas, an official at a local company in the coastal town of Walvis Bay.
The unique observances were not limited to urban settings. For elderly Agatus Timoteus, from a village in the Oshana region in the northern part of Namibia, following proceedings on the local indigenous radio station served as a moment of reflection while keeping safe at home amid COVID-19 pandemic.
“Listening to stories aired on radio enabled me to reflect on pre-independent Namibia and how far we have progressed as a country,” said the 87-year-old.
Despite progress made, Timoteus hopes that the country’s leadership and institutions would fill the gaps of inequality and eradicate poverty endured by many rural dwellers.
Namibian President Geingob said Sunday the country should endeavour to do what is best for Namibia to build nationhood and win the fight against COVID-19.
“We are in the midst of a war against COVID-19. Although the pandemic has tempered our celebrations, our spirits remain high because no unwelcome visitor can ever diminish the pride and love that we share for Namibia. Let us, therefore, review our patriotism, sense of solidarity and our love for our country,” President Geingob said.