In Africa there was a tree that refused to die
The world said die! But Grace said no, it is a lie
In Africa there was a story that refused to end
The world said end! But the story closed her eyes and just for a while she played pretend
In the darkness and all alone
She was trying to find her way back home
Our truth and our story, to a miracle comparative
In the end, what is your suffering and triump’s narrative?
- Gys Joubert
The passed twenty months brought with it, many new and unknown encounters. These encounters to most of us - particularly the Millennials and Gen Z’s - were strange and foreign. Suddenly, we needed to follow new rules and take on new habits. And new journeys ensued.
One particular new experience was the concept of “Lock Down”. Something to understand about Namibian people; we are the most social of butterflies and we cannot go that long without being outside. So, Lock Down, for us was a strange new villain (as it was across many other countries) and this villain, we certainly did not want to acknowledge, engage with or even consider. Denial. That was our version of Lock Down.
Another term that became prevalent throughout the very-many lockdowns, was the phrase “corona babies” or “lock down babies”. Some couples had children, other households gained fur-babies, but here in the Gondwana Family – our “lock down baby” developed into The Narrative Namibia.
Finally, after months of research, learning and experimenting, on 6 November 2020, The Narrative Namibia entered the world. Joined with popcorn, slushies and an overcrowded exhibition cubicle, The Narrative Namibia came kicking and screaming into the forefront of the Gondwana world.
And as with all new parents, we were nervous. What if we do something wrong? What if we drop it on its head? Or worse?! And so, we started as all parents do, with baby steps. Our first product launch went out that December in the form of handmade Christmas ornaments and ... with the help of Gondwanians and local crafters, we created the look and feel that we thought best represented the Namibian way of life.
Our tiny steps grew firmer and steadier as time progressed and more helping hands came into the fold. Our little bundle of joy became more steadfast as new products were introduced, including a brand-new line of Gondwana fitness wear. Or the next step from there and probably our most successful product ever, the Quiver Tree Adoption program.
And just like that, our little “Lock Down” baby went from kicking and screaming, to a semblance of wobbly stability as we reach its first birthday. And as all new parents do, we have learned so much over the past twelve months…
We have learned that not all advice is good, or even relevant, but that there is a lot we can learn any way. We have learned that it truly does take a village to raise a child and the many hands who have added to the development of our little Narrative are truly appreciated. Importantly, we have also learned not to get too lost in the details of the moment, but to look up and forward. To dream and aspire and think of the big, beautiful future that is available to our Narrative.
And so, we do. We dream and we plan. We should probably start applying to pre-schools now to ensure we get a spot by the time Narrative is old enough. Yikes. For now, we are focusing on the “terrible twos” that await us. The wobbly steps that will turn into a steady run soon enough. The occasional - hopefully not frequent - temper tantrums and chaotic endeavors as we develop new projects and engage new artists and contributors. And we will dream of the days when our little bundle is old enough to have more independence and freedom, but for now we will keep holding our baby steady and as we move forward, we will be there to support them and guide them into a - hopefully - yielding direction.
As it enjoys its first sip of life, right at this moment, we will be popping bubbly and eating cake, because our little baby just turned 1 year old.
Written by: Jescey Bekker