A Call for Freedom in Namibia

Published: February 25, 2011

In an open letter to Namibians, Ali Shikongo writes, "As a young Namibian gay man, I fear that I am not a free Namibian in my own country." It is time to have an open-minded, tolerant conversation about the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intesex (LGBTI) persons in Namibian society.

    AS a Namibian child I grew up being taught by my parents to respect all people from different tribes (races) and all walks of life (irrespective of their colour, age, race, sex, social class).

    I was also taught to respect their views, opinions and ways of life even though I did not necessarily agree with or share those views.

    I was lucky enough to have been given this valuable lesson over 21 years in a loving home, but my parents were not as lucky. They learned this valuable lesson through suffering at the hands of the then South African Apartheid Government. They were discriminated against, punished with brutality and regarded as less than human in their own homeland.

    Today, I’m proud to be a young Namibian man with a bright future. But this future is overshadowed by the same if not worse discrimination and injustice that my parents had faced under apartheid.

    I revealed my homosexuality to my family and friends at the age of 20 last year. My parents accept and tolerate me for who I am and this even though they do not understand me.

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