Nanso Comes Under Scathing Criticism

Some former Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) members do not have kind words for the student movement’s current leadership.

They accuse the leadership of being pre-occupied with tribalism and ethnicity instead of focusing on educational development.

Nanso, which was founded in 1984 as a non-racial, democratic and independent student organisation held a public lecture on Tuesday in celebration of its 30th anniversary where renowned former members were invited to talk about the history of the movement.

Since its formation the organisation has organized itself along the lines of aocating that education responds to the needs of the country and its people.

Nanso was a necessary formation in the struggle of the Namibian people against colonialism and foreign domination. One guest speaker was former Nanso member Professor Joseph Diescho, who said the Nanso of today “is not the same” as that of pre-independent Namibia.

“Nanso was a humble organisation. It was not organised by donors or political parties. Namibian youth were not aware of tribes and ethnicity. The only thing we knew were church songs,” reminisced Diescho. He said he was disturbed by today’s Namibian youth thinking along tribal and ethnic lines.

“We were worthy young people. We were thinking about how we can contribute to independence. We were not even thinking about going into exile. We felt our terrains were here. Our inclination was the liberation movement,” he said.

He said because of the political situation at the time, Nanso’s leadership found it difficult to welcome “white students” in joining the movement because it was tricky to know whether they were genuine or sent by the enemy. He said the issue of “trusting white students” was discussed openly and it was later agreed that students were welcome to join irrespective of race.

“It was never about ‘us’ like nowadays whereby you are a youth member because you want to get a call from State House. We didn’t know those things. We had fights that made relevance. Even when someone got suspended we never held press conferences. It was about the country and for us who were literate having the responsibility to educate others. We smuggled in books and brought in freedom songs from South Africa and translated them. We got support from the churches. They played a cardinal role through consciousness,” Diescho narrated.

He lashed out at the current leadership, saying: “Nanso of yesterday is not Nanso of today. You think about yourselves … please re-invent yourselves.”

George Mayumbelo the founding Nanso secretary for information and publicity urged the current leadership to do away with the organisation’s old slogan of ‘United We Stand, Divided We Fall’ and instead find a slogan that suits the current political situation.

He also aised them to look critically at issues affecting learners.

“I think you must find a voice on critical issues. I don’t know what is happening in schools now. But you can look how schools are built – do they inspire learners? We are worried that we are reversing what has been achieved. We are becoming involved with ethnicity. We already fought against ethnic administration where schools were demarcated according to tribes. It divided people. We were taught to be proud of ethnic groups and had national anthems. But we rejected it because it did not empower us,” said Mayumbelo.

Source : New Era

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