‘Going native’ with Lazarus Jacobs

Businessman, motivational speaker, broadcaster and comedian Lazarus Jacobs recently launched his book ‘Gone Native.’

12 March 2021 | Art and Entertainment

MICHAEL KAYUNDE

WINDHOEK

Lazarus Jacobs should be no stranger to you. He has for long played a notable role in Namibian broadcasting and print media and his impact has been and continues to be felt one way or another.

He has just released a self-published book that he describes as “a selection from the highly popular newspaper columns Ekse Kuume and Gone Native.”

tjil was keen to meet up with Lazarus to pluck some pearls of wisdom from this seasoned writer, and so he graced us with this conversation.

On what stirred him to publish this book, the author says he has three children and wanted to gift them with a history and information that is tangible and paints a picture of post-colonial era in Namibia. “Moreover, Ekse Kuume was a popular political satire column and readers from my generation have always encouraged me to package those columns in this manner. So it is also a retrospective piece of text for most people from my generation,” Jacobs explained.

Topical

The genre of his columns veers towards political and social satire. He says although his columns date back to the 90s and 2000s, and touch on social and political issues, he used to write about issues that remain relevant today.

“Today’s topical subjects like Gender-Based Violence (GBV), the fight for black economic empowerment and the LGBTQ+ community not being embraced in our societies are not new to Namibia.

“This is an indication of how we haven’t addressed some of these pertinent issues and as a result, we haven’t quite progressed at the pace we are supposed to as a country,” he said.

He added that it is disappointing that political satire, one of his specialities at the time, is a dying art form in Namibia.

“We have the same political columnists who at most write about the same subjects and target the same person or group of people. If used correctly, satire can be effective and can help inform and caution policymakers to make decisions that are in the best interest of Namibian people.”

Love of reading

His target market for ‘Gone Native’ is mainly the youth, Jacobs said.

However, it worries him that the culture of reading among young people is dying or limited to 280 characters.

Jacobs attributes his love for reading to his mother, praising her for a trait she passed down to her children.

From reading, the writing bug bit him.

He says today his writing draws inspiration from books about the civil rights movement, a social justice struggle that took place mainly during the “1950s and 1960s for black Americans to gain equal rights under the law in the United States. To a certain extent Namibia shares similar struggles and ‘Gone Native’ is the book that highlights this relation,” Jacob noted.

He pointed out that his goal is not to for this book to be a bestseller, but if it does reach many it would be a bonus.

“Reading is important. Most of the role models that young people look up to read a lot. To have a role model means you apply lifestyle habits of that role model, including reading.

“I interact with a lot of young people. Some have launched book clubs and are authors themselves – this book is a reference for them on Namibia’s timelines post-apartheid regime.”

Meet & read

Jacobs launched the book in Windhoek a few weeks ago and recently introduced it to the coast.

He told tjil that the launch at the coast was a success. Next, he plans to take the book around the country on a national book tour, which is one of his priorities for 2021.

“A lot of planning goes into these types of activities but people can anticipate me to bring this book to their towns and regions.”

‘Gone Native’ is available for purchase in Windhoek at one of his establishments, the Edge Café & Bistro.

PHOTOS: CONTRIBUTED

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