Friday, September 16, 2011

Jeff da Plumber Going to Namibia, Africa

As I am heading out on this journey of epic proportions, I just want to share with you, my followers, some of the history and facts of the place I will be going and working in. I will try to take pictures and videos that I can show afterwards and for the rest of my life.




It is important that we always work as a team. The bible teaches in (Leviticus 26:8) that "Five of you will chase a hundred, and it hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you".

When we are united in God's plan and purpose, we are an accomplishing force to be reckoned with. Remember the Lord is a Lord of order ... not chaos and so while we never try to confine our I.ora, we do make ourselves accountable to each other in the task ahead. In addition to the work required to build the steel structure frame for the new church and to be witnesses to the Lord's goodness, there are some specific responsibilities that will also need to be covered on a daily basis. To this end, we have a promising ministry team outlined in this update ...



Short History

The country was first settled by the Germans. After the First World War, Germany was defeated and IN
1923 South Africa was given full administration of the country by the United Nations. This continued
through until the late 1980's.

The country was torn apart by the presence of South African Military (at that time the strongest in the
southern hemisphere) and a movement called SWAPD (South West African Peoples Organization) with
Sam Nujomo, being the leader of SWAPO.

The primary war area was along the northern borders where we will be travelling. The reason for this
was that war torn Angola was the best refuge for SWAPD soldiers. The main people of SWAPD were the
Ovambos, the pradorntnant Namibian nation by far. Sam Nujomo was an Dvambo. The conflict spread
into civilian areas and there were many tragic losses on both sides. One of the ways used to intimidate
was tying a small trip wire to a hand grenade and then tying the other end to a ten dollar note. This
would be left on the main rural path used by children walking to and from school. When the children
saw the money, they would run and grab it without thinking and however many children were together
at that time would be blown up.

Eventually an agreement was reached between SWAPD and South Africa and soldiers came from all over
the world under the authority of UNTAG (United Nations Transitional Assistance Group). They were
sent to maintain a presence during agreed on elections but had strict instructions not to engage. It was a
similar situation to Ruwanda with the United Nations providing a presence only ... do not engage the
locals regardless of what you see.

This conflict came to an end when South Africa withdrew its military and SWAPD was elected to run the
country. There are many unfortunate and tragic stories on both sides and the victims were all the people
of Namibia. Mike and Julie Shalley served as missionaries during this time as did Kevin and June. Their
children grew up in a very tense conflict environment.

Because of the conflict and non acceptance of anyone political leader .other countries used Namibia for
their own purposes. Eastern Block countries sent large fishing vessels into Namibian territorial waters
together with factory ships to process the catch. Large, almost vacuum pipes were lowered Into the sea
and the sea was sucked clean of its fishing resources. Whenever anyone would complain, it was pointed
out by these countries that there was no legal government and 50 there was no authority to speak on
behalf of the country. The ships would anchor just a few hundred yards from the Namibian shores and
nothing could be done to remove them. Eventually the waters were so thinned out by their large scale
fishing that locals could no longer make a living from fishing. Stories of grenades being dropped into the
sea to kill fish and then nets lowered to pull everything from the surface became common place.

Cuba had sent 60,000 troops into Angola and these soldiers began to affect Namibia too. Angola had
been a Portuguese colony and so many of the locals spoke Portuguese and even had Portuguese names.
Ovambo land (the north) and the Caprivi (the long strip of land that ran along the northern border) were
the hottest war zones while the rest of the country groaned under insurgent attacks and constant
military presence.

After President Nujomo took office, the war scaled down but the economy had been ravaged and there
was an unemployment rate that exceeded 50%. Namibia has slowly tried to come back as a country but
it has been very difficult without sufficient resources.

While the conflict is over it will take a number of generations to
completely remove all the anger and pain of a very long war, It is a
nation in healing and sensitivity should be practiced even today.

While the country was home to many Germans and the German language was heard throughout the
country, the Ovambo people were the main ethnic presence and the South Africans (particularly
Afrikaners) had been involved in its history. All sides believed they had been deprived of what was
rightfully theirs and so there still remains some animosity between these peoples.

The current President of Namibia. Lucas Pohamba, studied politics in the
old Soviet Union. During the time he held the office of Minister of Lands.
he initiated the same type of land expropriation from white farmers as
was first done by Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Everyone is strongly
urged to listen if spoken to but it is ill advised to offer political opinions.

In Africa it is common to find people of the same ethnic origins making up their own communities.
African people are proud of their ethnicities and embrace them with passion while holding to the
knowledge that while we are different, everyone is equal & none are better than another.
The main people of Namibia are ...


The Ovambos ... predomlnant Namibian nation found mainly in the north.

They are a black nation with well defined facial features. They are intelligent people looking for
educational opportunities that might advance their life positions. They continue to maintain some
strong feelings about their past history and have a national pride that makes them appear as poised.
They are largely considered westernized in their dress and attitude but stiff hold to some strong ethnic
traditions. During the last presidential elections, the Ovambo people helped the current President
Pohamba win with 75% of the nations vote. The nearest political opponent came in second with about
3%. They have their own language which is also spoken by many others because of their large national
influence. The people have learnt to live with meager provisions ... Their religion is either Christian
(Lutheran & Catholic) or Animist. During the Namibian war, many Ovambo Christians embraced the
teaching of Liberation Theology.

The Hereros ... pockets of this ethnic group are scattered over the country north of Windhoek. They
are a black nation with tremendous pride. Their women can be identified by their long dresses and
unusual head dress. They have their own language which is quite complex. Their religion is either
Christian or Animist. The Himba people have come out of this nation.

The Bushman type peoples ... these consist of desert and semi desert peoples. A few nations
Namara and Damara, still live in conditions that are very harsh. They could be considered a close relative
of the San of North Eastern Namibia and Botswana. Their language is similar to that of the bushman in
that it consists of clicks and is again very difficult to learn.

The Colored people - mainly in the cities and towns. They come from mixed race parents. They are
generally light brown in color ... not as dark as the Ovambo or Herero - their language is either Afrikaans
or English. They have their own communities and are a very strong presence in the city of Windhoek.
They are known to be very colorful, very warm and artistic. They are often very musically talented. Their
religion is either Christian or Muslim. Some of their cultural traditions would be unusual to most of us.
Many women pull their upper teeth out as they believe it makes them attractive. On the coast of
Namibia a large number of the men work as fishermen. This is quite a vocation as very few are able to
swim and as a result the fishermen are regularly drowned when they fall over board.
Unfortunately they are generally identified as an ethnic group with strong drinking tendencies.
Their colorful lifestyles have been known to take church board members who disagree outside the
meeting room to solve the issue with a good fist fight to see who prevails

The Bastars ... people found in an enclave south of Windhoek. They are descendents from mixed
races. They separated as a people in 1868 and headed north from the Cape Colony to settle their own
land where they could have their own form of biblical government. While they have sought
independence from Namibia since the very beginning, it has never been achieved. They are similar to
the Colored folk except they insist on keeping to themselves in an area around a town called Rehoboth.
They have their own Kaptein (local leader) and they speak mainly Afrikaans. They have embraced

Covenantal Theology and are an honorable Christian people. Christian Church life in their communities is
central and highly regarded. The basis for their existence in Rehoboth as a people is based on Genesis 26

v 22:
"...for now the lord hath made room for us and we shall be fruitful in the land"

It is nearly impossible to settle in this area if you are not a Bastar. Bastar comes from the word Bastard
but does not carry the same connotation as offered by the dictionary. To Rehoboth locals being a Bastar
has nothing to do with illegitimacy and simply identifies people with a brave group of settlers that made
their way north many years ago while standing against very powerful odds.

The Afrikaaners ... people who originally emigrated from South Arica. They are a Caucasian nation
speaking the Afrikaans language. Their ethnic roots take them back to the days when the Boers settled
southern Africa after coming out from Holland. These people governed South Africa after 1948 and
attempted to create the homeland solution for different ethnic groups. It did not work and Nelson
Mandela eventually took over the leadership from Prime Minister De Klerk. It was primarily the South
African Afrikaaners that Administered Namibia from 1923 (after the end of the First World War) until
Sam Nujomo took leadership. They are a very religious ethnic culture with a strong history of Gods
involvement in their destiny. Their Christian faith is probably one ofthe strongest "Covenant
Theologies" seen in Christianity. While in office, they promulgated laws that outlawed any form of
gambling, prostitution, pornography, abortion and rape was punishable by death. Christian holidays
were established as National holidays. Large stores and non essential businesses were prohibited from
being open to the public on Sundays and alcohol could not be sold on Sundays either. Small 711 type
stores were permitted to remain open on Sundays to provide essentials like bread, milk etc.

All of these laws were repealed in South Africa when Nelson Mandela took office as President and the
same occurred in Namibia when Sam Nujoma took office. The reason for this was really simple, the
Afrikaaners had lived with the strong Christian ways of the Dutch for centuries and had established
Christian standards as 'the standard'. The Local ethnic nations of Southern Africa had not been exposed
to these biblical behavioral boundaries and hence their repeal when political power changed.

The Germans .... generally descendants from early German settlers. They were present in Namibia
during the Second World War and many supported Hitler. It was possible to purchase Swastikas and
pictures of Adolf Hitler in the town of Swakopmund into the 1990's. To this day strong German schools
educate the descendants of the settlers in their own language and with a focus on traditional German
culture. German bakeries remain popular and the economy has the support of many German
businesses. It is common place to hear German being spoken in public areas all over Namibia.

It is important to remember that while there is tremendous ethnic divergence ... and also
great ethnic pride ... the people of Namibia consider themselves as Namibians living with other

If you get a chance try the African creme soda or ginger beer floats. They are very good. Remember that
African creme soda is green and not brown as in America. A rock shandy is also a refreshing non
alcoholic drink. It is available at hotels and restaurants but not generally at stores and gas stations.

We are all different but none are better ...

God Bless you as you reach out to "make disciples of all nations ... "

This is "Jeff da Plumber" saying until next time stay blessed,,, OUT

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