What does Independence Day mean to you? For Namibians pre-March 21st 1990, Independence Day means overcoming the impossible and moving into a freedom that many thought impossible. As for those post-Independence; that answer can be a bit tricky.

*Not their real name

Independence celebrations have become more intricate and elaborate as the years went by. As the millennials grew older, they began questioning why so much money was being spent on Independence Day celebrations. Many began to buy into the notion that maybe the money could be channelled into improving the living standards of those in underdeveloped areas.
Perhaps this is what birthed the #itsup2us movement. On February 24th, Namibian musician Eric Sell (aka Ees) made a video  asking the Namibian government to divert funds that would be used for Independence Day celebrations into something more impactful: a clean-up campaign.

Pic source:informante.web.na

Pic source:informante.web.na

The video was met with mixed reviews. Some Namibians were outraged; asking how a Namibian of German descent can tell a free Namibia how to celebrate its Independence Day.

“Don’t let white people use “corruption”, “excessive spending” and “cost-saving” as tools to belittle and take away the true essence of what Independence celebrations are about. We will celebrate our Independence how we want! It should be THE BIGGEST FESTIVAL in this country!” – Jane*

“Independence is celebrated worldwide. What makes him think that it is the perfect day to clean? He can campaign for a cleaning day on any other day. Who is he to decide that the money we spend on independence is going to waste? Governemnt spends millions through the municipalities to keep the country clean and I’m guessing that’s why he is using filthy images of other countries.” – Mark*

“If it wasn’t for German colonialism and Apartheid we wouldn’t have to celebrate our independence. So, on 21 March (a) Encourage white Namibians to go to the stadium (b) Encourage Germany to recognize the genocide against Ovaherero and the Namas” – John*

Pic source: eesy-ess.com

Pic source: eesy-ess.com

However not everyone was angered by the video. Many individuals like the idea of celebrating the freedom of Namibia by preserving its beauty.

“Eish, what do you call a person that is always complaining even when there is nothing to complain about??? A NAMIBIA!
I don’t see what the problem is to be honest. I like his movement. I for one am considering going out there with a group of people and setting an example. When you travel to “real African” countries, you will understand where this guy is coming from. Bruh!” – Samantha*

“Namibians have a way of making the most trivial ideas colonial. I agree that celebration of independence is important. What’s wrong with celebrating it while helping your country become better.” – Max*

“I think the guy’s initiative is a good one. And personally, I feel independence celebrations are overrated and a waste of money that could be diverted to better things, especially in the economic state we in.
Cleaning our country won’t cost so much, as the independence celebrations. But it’s a national achievement, so it could be done simultaneously.” – Maggie*

So where do you stand? Should Independence Day celebrations be forgone to plough the money back into the community? Or should elaborate celebrations continue to mark our freedom?

By: Ros Limbo