Beyond the Born Frees

In this election season, we are making a lot of the Born Free generation. They are the first crop of voters born after independence, and have the potential over the next decades to reshape what it means to be Namibian. But, what about other generations? Is there a way to characterise them? Any society is made up of youth, adults and elders. All of us over the past 19 years have watched a country go from infant to adult, how might we now be characterised? Let me offer a few brief ideas.

Namibians who are now mid 50s and older. Adults back in 1990, approaching or in middle age. Independence was an achievement after many years of work and worry. This group now has adult children and grandchildren. They may grumble from time to time that the youth of today do not appreciate how far the country has come from the years of apartheid. Colonial Namibia is something now taught in school, not the visceral memories of upbringing.

Middle aged Namibians – those now 40 to their mid 50s. Back in 1990, the promise of a new Namibia ran in parallel with the promise of youth. Nineteen years later there are children, marriages, goals and dreams achieved, goals and dreams abandoned. Middle Age, with all its contradictions is upon them.

New adults. They were of school age in 1990. Now aged from their mid 20s to late 30s. They won't be as celebrated as the Born Frees, with whom they are likely to share many views. A lot of young Turks will emerge from this group.

What will be the dynamics of each generation on Namibia? Will they view and respond to political and social issues differently? Could be fun to think about. Something we should definitely add to political analysis.

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