Haufiku unleashes race battle

South African musician Steve Hofmeyr was among those who replied to a tweet from former health minister Dr Bernhard Haufiku that went viral on Family Day.

30 December 2019 | Local News

Former health minister Dr Bernard Haufiku dropped a proverbial bombshell on Family Day when he claimed that the 99.99% white dominance in Henties Bay is a painful reminder of economic apartheid in Namibia.

Haufiku's tweet went viral and by yesterday had collected 453 likes, 145 retweets and 249 replies, including one from controversial Afrikaans singer and South African rightwing activist Steve Hofmeyr.

Adding fuel to the fire was an allegation by deputy information minister Engel Nawatiseb that he was confronted in Henties Bay for using his government vehicle to store fish he had caught at the town on Friday.

However, it was Haufiku's tweet that landed the first blow.

According to him white dominance has been aggravated by systemic and high-level corruption in Namibia and it seems as if “whites” have created their own economic and social ecosystems.

Ohlthaver & List (O&L) CEO Wessie van der Westhuizen replied to Haufiku's tweet by saying the gathering the former minister was referring to is called the Henties Bay Fishing Bonanza, which is open to each and every single person in the world.

Van der Westhuizen urged people not make the bonanza into something it is not, while adding that all Namibians should be against corruption, as it deprives Namibia of economic and social growth. It was then pointed by another person who responded that the event is “racially monolithic”, which points to a failure of corporate leadership, adding that as O&L head, Van der Westhuizen should proactively seek out ways to be more racially inclusive.

Van der Westhuizen then responded that he agrees with these sentiments.

“That's why we sponsor the Brave Warriors, classroom projects, orphanages, breast milk banks etc. etc. I'm not picking a fight with you guys, I'm just saying don't make something out of a simple fishing bonanza,” Van der Westhuizen wrote.

Political analyst Henning Melber responded that free choices require financial prerequisites to be able to afford what people would like to do.

“Most Namibians have not the means to fish for fun at a coastal town where they do not live. It's a class-based privilege to spend time there,” Melber tweeted.

He added that those who can afford to participate in such events in one of the most unequal societies in the world should show some awareness that they belong to the privileged ones, and not take it for granted that it's only a matter of free choice.

Political commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah said yesterday to Namibian Sun that while there is some truth in Haufiku's white privilege remarks, the reality is that Namibia's economic apartheid is no longer based on colour lines, but on elitism.

“I am sure we still think white people thrive economically, which is true to some extent, but if we do an audit we will see that some of the black political elite have joined that group and created further divisions - one side is thriving and another side is struggling,” said Kamwanyah.

Another person who responded to Haufiku on Twitter said groups naturally form “their own economic and social ecosystems” worldwide to varying extents, to which Hofmeyr responded that this is not what Haufiku wants to hear.

“Don't say that. Not what he wants to hear. It means he can't lay claim to other people's income and freedom to gravitate to places of choice,” Hofmeyr tweeted, who is infamous for singing the apartheid national anthem 'Die Stem' at his concerts and is often invited to Namibia to perform.

Nawatiseb wants police protection

In a letter written to the Henties Bay police, Nawatiseb requested for protection against possible harm and further embarrassment from white operators and a certain Paul Smith at the town.

In the letter, he alleged that he and his family has been exposed to ongoing harassment by an unidentified white person who had instigated hate speech towards the Nawatiseb family.

“The oppression by fellow white people against black Namibians is still fresh in our minds, particular some of us who were directly exposed to white brutality; hence any provocation of this magnitude has the ability to open up wounds of historical suppression, oppression, brutality, hate, racism and all the vices that are counterproductive towards nation-building,” he wrote.

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