September 9, 2006, all eyes will be on plucky Namibia as nearly 45,000 people gather in Sam Nujoma stadium and attempt to make history with the World's Biggest Braai (barbecue). Over five miles of boerewors or farmer sausage, 2,337 gallons of Coke, and at least 44,159 bread rolls will be doled out to participants paying a 14 cent entrance fee. Judging from press coverage in the state owned New Era newspaper, this is the single most consuming issue on the minds of nearly 2 million Namibians since there was serious discussion over whether the birth of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's baby earlier this year should be honored with a national holiday.
“'This particular event is very special, not only because it unites the whole of Namibia to show the world that we can come together to achieve a common goal in raising our national profile, but also to support worthwhile charities and help less fortunate Namibians,' said Uschi Ramakhutla, Meatco Namibia Corporate Communications Manager."
Casting this event as a demonstration of national pride and unity sounds a bit disingenuous coming from Meatco, the sponsor of the event and the donor of the afore mentioned 5 miles of sausage. The idea came from its advertising agency (meat being one of the few products produced for export in this arid country twice the size of California). The quest for the World's Biggest Braai is in fact a promotion celebrating the corporation's 20th anniversary. A handful of no doubt deserving charities are the intended beneficiaries of this event, although the fine print on an order form for those wishing to own one of the barbeques that (hopefully) will break the record at about $715 states that the majority of these funds are to be donated to charity as advertised. What about the other 49%, I wonder?
No matter. Namibians love meat and anybody who is anybody in that country is sure to attend. President Pohamba is expected to consume the record breaking sausage. The previous Guinness World Record Barbecue belongs to Australia, but while their event included beer and steaks rather than sausage, only the number of participants counts. Others have tried and failed to best the Aussies, and on September 9th, the hopes of a nation and a meat company are in the hands (and stomachs), of 45,000 hungry Namibians. Might as well say, "Let them eat boerewors!"