There is an image posted to one of the social media platforms, a picture claiming to be showing the “structure” or organizing committee of the Otjiwarongo Youth Expo 2020.

I don’t know if the faces and names of the people displayed in the image are real. But what I know is that this Otjiwarongo Youth Expo, from 29 July to 1st August 2020, is a real idea, an idea with significant value if properly implemented.

And so if this picture is real and it is showing us the faces of people who will organize and run the Otjiwarongo Youth Expo which will take place for the first time this year, then there is something wrong. This something which is wrong is that all the eleven (11) people on this committee speak the same language – that is to say they come from the same tribe.

Namibia has 10 languages (tribes).

So that it would be a strange thing that just one tribe would be solely represented on a committee tasked with organizing an event of national significance. Some people are saying there is no problem here because it is a private event.

But I believe any event that claims to represent or to work for the good of the youth of Otjiwarongo, or any town for that matter, is a public thing, so that it must be inclusive and all people from different backgrounds must be involved and engaged.

A town like Otjiwarongo is a national town, just like Windhoek, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Tsumeb, and Keetmanshoop. Even Oshakati is also a national town. So that any event which is meant to uplift the residents of such a town must be representative and reflect the diverse faces of the people who live there.

There is no excuse.

Of course some people condemn tribalism by saying tribalism is bad. But I believe tribalism is not bad. Tribalism is a good thing actually – as long as it operates at the village level.

Tribalism is not bad because charity begins at home. And it is such a good thing when we speak our home languages and we interact with people of our cultures in our villages.

But tribalism must end there. When tribalism rises up to the national level, that is when it becomes a bad thing.

Otjiwarongo must show the example and exhibit the characteristics of a national town. A town where all who live in it sit at the same table and do their things together.