Patrick Sam Shares His Journey of Hope and Changing Narratives
Season four, episode two of the MYD Africa Show features Patrick Sam, a Namibian who has done so much for both social activism in the arts and cultural sectors in Namibia. The Chairperson of the National Arts Council of Namibia, a broadcast journalist, poet and writer amongst many other titles, Patrick shares his journey of hope and how he has changed the narrative of what a black boy from Katutura could achieve in life.
MYD: Tell us about your childhood, what were some of your defining moments?
My childhood was very interesting in the fact that I was one of the first black children to go to an all white school right after Independence. Because Independence was on a Saturday, by Wednesday I was in an all white school and the reality was still that I lived in Katutura, and I think the spectrum that you are provided in terms of coming from a place which is highly violent, and at the same time having extreme community sense, and extreme love, and then moving every day into another space that is a lot safer.
MYD: And that disconnect?
I think for me my childhood’s defining moment is the fact that, even in Windhoek I’m one of the only few people that know how to navigate the whole Katutura or the whole town area, so I think people don’t cross those barriers. And so breaking these things down and emerging into a space where you now are completely accepted, so there’s almost a paradox within breaking barriers becoming normal.
MYD: Let’s talk about the social transformation activist that you are?
I’ve been very privileged so I have to rewrite the narrative. That’s really my strong pillar in understanding that if I want something that I’ve never had, and I will say if we want things that we’ve never had, we have to do things that we’ve never done. At a time like in Grade 12 I got to go and finish high school in the United States with kids from 80 different countries, and with the narrative that “boys from Damara lokasie” don’t go there.
MYD: What do you think of the statement, “community collaboration is the only true way to create for change”?
Seeds only grow in soil, so as much as we can talk about “oh I’m a good seed, I’m a bad seed, you’re an okay seed”, the fact is that seeds only grow in soil, so a good seed doesn’t grow in bad soil. So when I think of community, I think of the soil, and it’s not like the seeds aren’t important, they are secondary, and I think that’s a humility that’s required in people in order for them to realise that the planet, people and prosperity are ideals that are bigger than us.
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