Feature

The odd way we celebrate Christmas

The week's news at a glance.

Namibia

Anna IngwafaNew Era

For young Namibians, Christmas means a trip back to the village, said Anna Ingwafa in the Windhoek New Era. Young people who have been studying or working in the city head back home for the annual visit to the parents. But our parents barely get to see us. They know "they have to slaughter the goat the day we arrive," because we're going to be spending every subsequent evening catching up with old friends, and certainly won't be feasting at home. Reunited with our friends, "we have to show each other that we were not wasting time where we were for the whole year—by buying loads of beer" in a display of wealth and conviviality. When it's time to leave, the cash that we gave our parents as a Christmas gift will be ruefully borrowed back, for bus fare to the city. We always promise to deposit it into their account upon arrival in Windhoek, but they well know that's "an empty promise that never gets fulfilled." Why is it, again, that our parents are so happy to see us?

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