Growing up in the land of the brave

by Brownie

17 Small Namibians

Being born in the 80’s in a country torn with Apartheid, I am truly privileged to not have felt any of these derogatory movements that were taking place at the time. It is reported that soldiers were sent to Angola, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Zambia to be trained to fight for freedom from the South African rule which brought along with it the Apartheid regime. Namibians were imprisoned in Angola and tortured and killed in their thousands.

However for a young, mixed race girl like me, ignorance was bliss having known only ‘Middleplaas’ (Middle farm), where I spent most of my childhood years. This was a family sanctuary, with up to ten houses accommodating my father’s extended family; life was true bliss without a care in the world.

Not because we did not suffer under this regime, we kept ourselves out of the way. Middleplaas is situated between Rehoboth and Kalkrand, two small townships predominately occupied by mix race people. Thinking back going into town wasn’t an issue for us, and this made us unawares to what other fellow Namibian’s were going through.

Being born into a family of four, and residing in the middle of nowhere did not mean that I had nothing to do. Boredom was not a word we knew. If not for chores to do, errands to run for the elders, we always had self-invented enticing games to keep us busy with, like ‘fire house’.

This is a game where you draw your dream house in the sand, as big as you want. We would then furnish the house from the junk our families threw out. The best bit was the food we sneaked out of mom’s kitchen. Using old tin cans as pans, we would prepare meat and potatoes on an open fire and have a delightful lunch after our hard work of the morning building our house. There was excitement in the air when we had lunch; it was an achievement we celebrated. I was between 5 and 7 years of age at the time, and was only allowed to play with our older cousins.