Article 21, fundamental freedoms, Whatsapp, fb, Messenger and SMS

An incident involving a very prominent Namibian citizen occupying high and visible office prompted this writing. During the rugby match played at Keetmanshoop in the 1980's, a (white) opponent of our very learned person, had a mouthful to utter.

As the devil will have it, the young and brashful opponent had to appear before the Keetmanshoop Magistrate's Court and the prosecutor was a certain John Walters. I will leave the rest of the story to the very fertile imagination of our esteemed readers � a bit of that later in the article.

Today, anyone with a Chinese and a Samsung import can access virtually any social media platform and let rip. Even those currently residing very comfortably in Namibia have a lot to say regarding Julius Malema and co. To say the fb's contribution borders on hate speech, is putting it mildly.

Then comes our football experts with one-liners, summing up 120 minutes worth of English Premier League (EPL) football, technical expertise and solutions for the failures and ageing foreign coaches.

Next in line is my favourite: The rugby expert. Kyk, vandag k@k daai All Blacks, met hulle supporters en al ! Needless to say the most vitriolic, hateful, racist and shameful posts spew forth.

Now, I'm also not too innocent when it comes to verbal jousting, but heaven knows, there are limits. I recall in 1990 or soon thereafter, we had unification talks and the new government acknowledged one unified rugby body.

So, we had to talk to each other and this was the then Suidwes Afrika Rugby Unie (SWARU) and the Namibia National Rugby Union (NANRU), which had to bury the hatchet.

I vividly recall Oom Gert Muller, the president of SWARU. Being an advocate and somewhat of a grump korrelkop he could be at times extremely difficult. John Walters on the other hand was the president of NANRU and spearheaded the negotiations.

During a break, we had to retreat to the Northern Stand fondly known as the hoenderhok or Oom Boesman Pavilion, referring to the Ombudsman, as this is his favourite seat in the house! No other option for our caucus was provided.

Remember, we were just visitors and for the record, there was one unified body established, the Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) but I doubt any unification took place up to this day, 28 years of democracy � this is just in passing, more to follow in the article.

Then comes the travelling sportsperson, a la blase � Constantinople and Cape Town are regular pop-up points, with the accompanying selfies after three hours of grooming! The Blesser is doing a good job. Period. Prophet Bushiri has his followers and the market out there is huge.

Whatsapp groups, now this is the most interesting section as far as I'm concerned. A group for family, one for fishing, one for church, one for the farm, one for customers, one for the board, one for theand so it goes on.

Never underestimate the power of persuasion on these groups. Very easily, when people run into a pile of poo, the same Article 21 is bandied, notwithstanding the abuse, crap and holier than though attitude that was presented.

Then they cry Freedom of speech or ''ons is 28 jaar onafhanklik''! think about all the other freedoms and privileges we enjoy.

Political will and even basic understanding of the socio-political landscape, by our leaders, are non-existent or they simply don't care. I think the mantra and old song of let us have peace and tranquillity is paramount.

How can we have even peace of mind when we are all bombarded daily with unrepentant drivel and abuse?

The same type of people like our young rugby player in the beginning of the peace process still carrying on today as 30 years ago! In sport, it is so evident like daylight.

In the private sector, the economic blackmail and bullying go on unabated whilst politically, the same is happening. Socially and spiritually are we on the edge of the gutter perhaps? Pray tell.

Well, I'm damn happily embracing social media with its many traps and pitfalls and hope to be more responsible in what I post, lest I trample on somebody's Article 21. I rest my case!

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia