Namibia: Health, education top youth’s budget wish list

Paheja Siririka

Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein is tabling the 2018/2019 national budget in the National Assembly this afternoon. Some youths weigh in what they think the government should spend more on this financial year.

Josephine Ileka
The government must increase more money to the Ministry of Health and Social Services. They cannot stop the tea and coffee break for hospital patients. If the issue is money then the government should allocate more money.

Selma Nangolo
I think money should be spend on the education sector with regards to the recruitment of new teachers as well as the implementation of the new curriculum. I also feel more money should be spend on the health sector because we need more medical personnel and more medical equipment. More hospitals and clinics are needed, especially in rural areas.

Fillemon Hamoolongo
I want the budget for this year to go to the education sector because we have a lot of complaints about the facilities that are not enough and with the parents complaining that there are no funds to buy books, to pay for the children’s accommodation, to those that are in the hostels and because of the curriculum that has changed, parents are finding it hard to adjust. More money should be allocated to the education sector to address the scarcity of materials in schools.

I feel, as much as more money goes to education, more should be allocated to that. Education must be a priority. I have children and they come home without textbooks or learners sharing textbooks. I feel health should also get a huge chunk of the budget, if we have sick people in our country they won’t be able to work and if they can’t work that affects the economy in a bad way. The servicing of land is another element that should be budgeted for, we need homes, plots, etc. Security is important in Namibia. Those are the four things I would expect the government to spend on more this year.

Source NEL

Namibia: Bowls team selected for SA youth tourney

Four young and very promising lawn bowls players have been selected to compete in an Under 20s tourney, to be hosted by Bowls South Africa in Bloemfontein, from 25 to 29 of this month.

The quartet are Ronan Olivier (skip), JP Fouche (third), AJ Visser (second) and Ané Olivier (lead). JP and Ané are from Eros Bowling Club in Windhoek, while Ronan and AJ are members of Namib Park Bowling Club in Walvis Bay.

Ronan’s brother Cabous has represented Namibia in the past and will do so again when the national team travels to Cardiff, Wales, to participate in the Atlantic Championships in May this year.
Lesley Vermeulen, who has played for Namibia on numerous occasions, accompanies the under 20’s as team manager.

The youngest player in the squad, Ané Olivier, 12, has been playing for a year now and says she likes to stay active and does karate also for which she was awarded national colours in 2017. JP Fouche, who incidentally is also Ané’s coach, is the oldest player in the team at the age of 17.

He has been playing bowls for five years and is a fully qualified coach. He states that bowls is very sociable, fun, addictive as well as competitive and requires significant concentration.

Ronan Olivier, who is 14 and has been playing for about four years, was in the winning under 20 side representing he Free State at the same tourney last year. AJ Visser is 16 years old andl attends high school in Walvis Bay. He has been playing bowls for three years.

The tourney has attracted a total of 34 teams – 33 from provinces all over South Africa and one team from Namibia.

Teams are divided into six sections. The tourney will be played in a league format within sections with the six top finishers from each group and the the two runner-ups in their section accumulating the highest scores advancing to the quarterfinals.

The winning four teams will play each other in the semi-finals before contesting the final with both losing semi-finalists vying for the bronze medal.

When asked how they felt about representing their native land, Ané commented: “I can’t wait to take part in my first international game and can’t wait to meet the other teams as well. It’s my first time going to Bloemfontein.” JP remarked that he felt truly honoured to represent his country,

“This is the perfect opportunity for us to showcase our talents against tough opponents and [to show] just how lawn bowls as a sport is changing [because of all the young people now playing].”

Source NEL

Namibia: Student urges youth to contribute to development


Mental independence is the basis of independent thinking, independent decision-making, and leads to independent actions and behaviour, says youth activist and a student at the University of Namibia (Unam) Alexis Wimmerth.

In an interview Wimmerth spoke about mental independence, highlighting the role it plays in achieving economic independence and eventually political independence. “Twenty-nine years of independence, as a Namibian country and a nation that is how far we have come. We are proud of our nation and proud of our achievements thus far on all different levels. The way we are using our time and on what we are focusing our minds will determine the future of this country,” says Wimmerth. She says Namibian students and youths have to invest in all things that will advance the country towards prosperity. “This is regardless of our political affiliations – the focus right now is bigger. It is on the Namibian nation. It is bigger than our ethnicity and our tribes, it is bigger than our upbringing and our culture, and it is about the development of this country.”

Wimmerth adds that for young people to be independent thinkers, they need a high level of self-sufficiency, meaning that they have to regulate their actions and own thoughts. “We have to think for ourselves and no one can claim on how we have to think, what we have to think and how we have to do it. It’s important to try to question why we think about certain things and act in certain ways,” she explains.

She also said that behavioral independence is based on mental independence, because it’s only after one can think independently that one can make independent choices in life. “We need to guide our values and our actions, and accept that we might make mistakes. If we are intellectually independent we will contribute to the social economic development of this country. Independence of thought can lead to incredible discoveries and innovations; such innovations can not only help us and our sense of self-confidence, but can also further the state of our Namibian nation.”

According to her, mental independence is the place of continuous recreation and innovation so, when youth have an idea, they should not sit on that idea. “We need to use it towards the development of this independent Namibia for us to reach economic development. Volunteer to bring a change at an old age home, volunteer to help out at a health centre, visit an orphanage and see the day-to-day activities, every small contribution will add towards a better developed Namibia,” she advises the

Source NEL

Namibia: Youth uses sport to preach voluntary circumcision


A young man is combining his love for sport and activism to raise awareness on Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision (VMMC) in the Kavango East and West regions.

VMMC is a biomedical intervention in HIV prevention and is part of the Ministry of Health and Social Services’ combination prevention strategy.

The 31-year old Stephan Mungongi, an ambassador of the VMMC campaign in the two Kavango regions is the founder of the Mungongi Foundation which gives out information on HIV/AIDS through awareness campaigns to communities mainly through soccer and netball.

Mungongi is also a 2018 alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship and is affiliated to the Embassy of the United States of America (USA) in Namibia’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFRAR) programme which is the single biggest commitment by a government to fighting HIV/AIDS.

Mungongi uses sport to bring the message of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision closer to youths in the two regions.

“The Ministry of Health and Social Services appointed me as a local ambassador to promote their programmes of the VMMC and HIV/AIDS testing and this was done after I successfully implemented my project of the first ever Rundu Community Wellness Day in October last year that was funded by the U.S. Embassy after I came back home from the Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme in August,” Mungongi said.

“I took initiative to use sport and so far it has paid dividends and the Ministry of Health and Social Services’ VMMC campaign coordinator and other stakeholders such as the Walvis Bay Corridor Group were very excited about the results on the day. If granted funding by PEPFAR, for which I applied for my foundation to do this very same work, I pledge to continue to take this fight against this deadly pandemic to a whole new level,” Mungongi added.

He further explained that he has established a firm network with all stakeholders who are involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS and many young people are eager to work with him as they are seeing the impact of his initiative.

“The local authority of the Namibia Football Association in Kavango West (NFA) based in Nkurenkuru have communicated to me that the grassroots soccer leagues will be starting soon and that I should get my constituency teams ready for the new season and they have encouraged me to continue to implement this programme of motivating young men to get circumcised and to practice living a healthy lifestyle through my soccer league,” he said.

He further explained: “We are set to begin in mid-April with the soccer league, it is comprising of 360 young men aged 15 to 35. We are planning to work closely with the Ministry of Health and Social Services as well as other stakeholders to implement these programmes as soon as the league starts and until it ends in November.”

Mungongi also added that the same trend would continue next year “but it will be much easier if we get funding because what hinders us now are just resources and financial constraints to take this initiative forward”.

Last month, World Aids Day was celebrated in Kavango West on February 15. The event which is normally celebrated on December 1, was held on that day and saw a number of youths attending.

“The day was held to top off the Valentines week testing programmes that we conducted in Rundu in the Kavango East Region. We were in Rundu as from February 11 to 15 in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Services’ testing teams who operate from the Rundu State Hospital to carry out voluntary HIV testing and Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision. We also targeted institutions of higher learning in Rundu, including the University of Namibia and the International University of Management in Nkurenkuru where we reached out to young people aged 15 to 35. Many were tested and circumcised throughout the week, building towards the 15th of February,” Mungongi revealed.

And on February 15 at Musese village where they held the official World Aids Day for the Kavango West Region, more than 400 people attended, consisting mainly of schoolchildren, church leaders, traditional authority leaders, councillors, chief councillor. Some people came from across the river in neighbouring Angola to attend the event.

“As local ambassador for the health ministry’s programmes, my role is to create demand and awareness for this event (World Aids Day), spread the word and market it before the actual day (on which it is commemorated) so that many people attend. My role is to furthermore encourage young people, especially young men, to partake and eventually to make use of the free health services that the health ministry was providing,” Mungongi explained.

With soccer as a tool, Mungongi managed to motivate young men and women to attend the main event held on 15 February and organised a small soccer tournament that took place at the sports field just after the proceedings.

Source NEL

Namibia: Higher Education must work closely with tertiary institutions

Swanu of Namibia is appealing to the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation to work with all tertiary education institutions closely to ensure that graduates graduate in employment, rather than graduating in debts and in unemployment.

“The Development of Namibia is solely not serving its purpose; the bank needs to avail grants not loans for graduates or the youth to enter into the business environment for the development of Namibia. Where does the bank expect a graduate to get collateral from if they just graduated? We request the bank to use a graduate qualification as a requirement of obtaining a business loan,” says the league’s President, Brian Ngutjinazo, in a media statement.

He accuses the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development of having failed in controlling the foreign investors who come in the country with their own employees and abandon the qualified youth in Namibia who graduates from vocational schools, University of Namibia (Unam), Namibian University of Science and Technology (Nust) and many others. Ngutjinazo is asking why the ministry is silent about the number of foreign employees brought into the country overlooking Namibians’ needs to work for such companies to gain experience and skills. “We are therefore asking the Ministry of Trade and Industry together with the Ministry of Labour to set up a Commission of Enquiry to investigate the number of Namibians who work for [foreign companies] compared to foreign employees and release their finding by end of May 2019.”

He says the National Youth Service (NYS) is supposed to facilitate employment opportunity for the Namibian youth “however they have staged a form of competition with the vocational schools by offering vocational courses.” The Swanu Youth League is therefore asking the NYS to create platforms for employment of graduates instead of competing with VTCs, Unam, or Nust.
Ngutjinazo further maintains that the Namibian youth is demanding the government to unfreeze all frozen positions such as those of nurses, teaching post, police force, defence force and use the loans that government obtains from Germany and other nations to sustain civil servants, instead of pumping billions of dollars on airports and other infrastructures that needs no expensive renovation.

Source NEL

Namibia: 19 Year Old Girl Inspires, Changes Lives Through Poetry

By Aletta Shikololo

Lydia Festus, socially known as Lydia October, is not just your regular teenage girl having at the age of 19 years already made herself a brand and knows what it takes to be successful.

She is a poet, MC and the founder of the non-governmental organisation (NGO), October Foundation. To her, poetry is real and intimate and it means exposing very dark, hidden parts of her life that she wouldn’t really talk about with even the closest people in her life. “Poetry has been with me, my whole life I figured. Anyone who knows or has been around me for a while would know how much I love English, literature, I meant that as literally,” she says. “Before I became a poet, I was an MC, I still am, and it all began in high school. My friends and I went to crowd cheering for our matriculants and I received a call from one of our teachers, asking if I would love to host the school’s matric party,” she adds.

Poetry occurred to her that moment when she heard her inner voice telling her how the ignorant naysayers would constantly hate her “loud mouth”, which pushed her to that point. “I agreed on hosting the event and to be honest it was one of the best experiences in my life. From that day onwards, I became the school’s mistress of ceremony. I would host beauty pageants, public holiday events at school and so eventually I grew some exposure and soon other schools around town would ask me to host,” explains she.

Festus describes herself as someone who would always look at life in a more colorful way even through dark times, and she writes about almost everything she finds poetic and her poetry became more exposed when she started attending the Open Mic poetry sessions hosted by poet and MC, Ashywn Mberi, and it became a priority to attend and when she feared performing her poetry. She says her last year of high school was one of the most interesting and intense years in her life as in Grade 12 she had built a platform for hosting events and voice-over skills. “As a learner in high school, at some point I lost interest in the whole idea of being a learner, nothing was going my way and I just stopped doing anything about it. I had been pressured so much into the idea of not failing, I stopped focusing on working hard towards not failing by studying hard but instead I focused more on poetry for some reason,” Festus explains.

Also an author, she has written a book titled Tales of an open mind, yet to be published. “I spent so much of my study time expressing myself and how confusing life is as a teenager through poetry and had completely derailed my focus on the physics and chemistry exams that I had to study for,” she adds.

She chose to focus on building herself as a brand because she knew already the outcomes of her results and she decided to drive to Windhoek for voice-over auditions at NBC, a week before the exams officially started. Even though she didn’t make it in Grade 12, she didn’t just stay home but went to the College of Arts where she was admitted as a radio production student, even though it was hard to convince her mother to let her pursue her dream at the college.

Festus’s journey was not just a walk in the park, it was also filled with challenges and one of the biggest challenges that she faced was being robbed of her personal computer, which had her poetry book in it and most of her business ideas. “I remember crying myself to sleep, just thinking how much time and effort I have put in writing it, just to have it gone before I could even back it up,” she reflects sadly.

But all that is now water under the bridge and life goes on. Her personal goal is to at least have a solid empire in terms of art, business and entertainment by 21 years old, and she is chasing it with all she has got, through God’s grace and by her parent’s lifelong lessons. “I look back into my life and just seeing how much I have experienced and accomplished at 19 is what keeps me going. I look up to my mom a lot, I never saw myself being so business-minded but now it all makes sense, I am walking in her footsteps and I appreciate how she and my dad have raised me to always humble myself and always respect the ones who came before me,” Festus adds.

She currently has dropped out of college because of financial difficulties year and she thus decided to take a gap year and raise money to pay for her studies. “I recently partnered with Namibian actor, Carlos Leonard, who recently returned from Hollywood, for film and theatre training at the Beverly Hills Play House Acting School – he and I are now helping expose the Leonard Talent Management Agency cc (LTM) to the Namibian market as we would like to start managing Namibian actors, musicians, models and dancers,” she says.

Festus is looking forward to publishing her poetry books in the near future, as well as becoming an actress within the Namibian industry and later on the international platform.

Festus advises the youth to start investing in their personal growth by discovering themselves, and where it is they feel they belong best in life. “Dropping out of school will never be an option if you don’t have a plan worked out to back such decisions up – it will all lead to regret, trust me on that. Nobody can tell you otherwise to what God has already given you. Focus on your own race with your own battles at your own pace. Every day you wake up is do or die, swim or drown, so grab every opportunity with both arms and do everything right by giving it your all the first time around; it’s rare for opportunities to come around twice believe me.”

In her free time she gives back to the community through her foundation and at the moment she is mentoring young girls on teenage pregnancy, importance of business, arts and education. She also loves giving feedback to upcoming artists on their music.

Source New Era Live

Namibia Youth must go for what they believe in.

By Staff Reporter

There has been a lot of complaints about youth unemployment in Namibia and it has become a widely talked about issue. The unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labour force.

According to the “Status of the Namibian Economy’’ document, Namibia’s labour market looks more vulnerable with unemployment increasing over the years and employment decreasing. The working age population has increased by 55 593 new entrants into the labour market. A significant share of the youth population is unemployed at 43.4 percent (aged 15-34 years), which is an increase of 4.4 percent from 2014, and almost 12 percent difference between males and females.

This heavily affects the youth as they are the most in the country and are considered the leaders of tomorrow. But as much as we are crying for many unemployed youths in Namibia, and trying to come up with new ways of creating jobs, we ought to be proud of the fact that there are Namibian youths abroad that are working day in and day out to make a living and more importantly to represent the country.

Paheja Siririka (PS) caught up with second respondent who is not a stranger to some in Namibia. A University of Namibia (Unam) alumnus with a BA in Journalism and a former radio presenter. He is currently studying Mandarin (Chinese language) and doing a degree in International Relations and Politics at the University of Johannesburg. This is Berneth Koopman (29), who has been employed there as an administrator for two years now.
What took you there in the first place?
Studies and the media world.

What is the biggest challenge of working in a foreign country as a Namibian?

Not having your support system at your disposal, but as time goes by you eventually get things cracking and a new support system is formed. For me thus far it has been smooth sailing as I had friends that lived here and a few family members so, I was quite settled.

For many Namibians I have encountered in my years in the big city, its always difficult finding a job or paper work and this forces them to go back home.

What are the chances of you coming back home?

Slim, very, very, very slim. I have made a life over here and I call the big city of Johannesburg home. It’s never easy to adjust in Johannesburg but once you find your vibe and your tribe you ought to be settled.

If you had the opportunity to amend and enact something that would create a platform for youth employment in Namibia, what would it be?

Our business mindset, stop copying and pasting because eventually it won’t work out. If by any chance you see something that someone else is doing, tweak it in a way that suits you and your clientele and run with it. If it fails, adjust it and start again. The objective is not to give up but to put something in place that eventually works and would last.

Anyone who is aspiring to work abroad, what tips do you have for her/him?

It’s going to be damn hard, nothing great has ever been easy, you will have a lot of bad days and you would feel lost many times. There will be broke, broke days. You will have days with no food, no shelter but this comes back to your tribe you meet along the way. Let those hard times be a motivation as it only results into damn amazing years ahead. You will lose friendships along the way as they might have been your way out and you used them to get through these bad days. Lies and pride will get you nowhere. If it is difficult for you to open up you’d be stuck and miserable and let your dreams and reason for coming abroad fade away in a blink of an eye. Be very open-minded and vigilant at all times and don’t let a quick fix be your way out. I have been offered cocaine and was asked to sleep my way up but I took the opposite route of hard work pays off and the nice things [in life] are always temporary as hard work pays for so much better. Stand your ground, be true to yourself ALWAYS.

What advice do you have to the youth?

To go for what they believe is a great idea and put it into working. There is never a stupid or unrealistic idea. In Johannesburg, you could literally buy a new life on the streets, LOL. Put your ideas out there, there will eventually be someone that buys into your idea, and all this time you could be sitting on gold.

Source New Era Live

Namibia: Shanghala calls for ageing politicians to pave way for youth


Minister of Justice, Sacky Shanghala, has heeded the call of the youth for ageing politicians and individuals in key leadership positions to pave the way for young Namibians to take over.

Opening the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) Regional Executive Committee meeting in Omusati over the weekend, Shanghala pleaded with ageing politicians to prepare the young and let go of positions in the party. In the same vein, he challenged the youth to stand for party positions at district, branch and section levels, as 70 and 80-year-olds can no longer continue to hold positions.

“I do not think there is anyone born knowing that they will be the president of any country. No one was sent to minister school to become minister of justice. Yet here we are. Are we wrecking the country? I challenge any one on that score,” Shanghala stressed.

“Therefore, we should be given the opportunity to stand [for] positions in the party and in society at large and from there, prepare ourselves for the next responsibilities in society, gradually. Truly, how can we be competent if we are not prepared? Give us the opportunity. Yet it is also incumbent upon us to make distinction between child’s play and serious work,” he said.
Speaking fondly about youth empowerment, Shanghala said it is also time that government starts to fund students without expecting payment in return, pointing out that payment should only apply to students specialising in courses deemed not important and those studying abroad for courses offered at Namibian institutions.

“I want to agree with you that it should be the last time that we have issues about paying for young Namibians to study. If we can do one thing to ensure that we prepare the future appropriately, it is to ensure that resources are mobilised, and those students who have passed are paid for to study their preferred courses,” determines Shanghala.

The focus now, according to Shanghala, should be to restructure the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF).
Regarding the upcoming elections, the minister called on Swapo Party members to go out and mobilise people to go to the polls and vote right by voting for Swapo.

He joined the call against factionalism, and asked party members to unite and fight for a common cause to win the upcoming national elections slated for November.

Source New Era Live

Namibia: Youth Must Turn to Blue Collar Jobs

By Staff Reporter

There is a popular saying in Oshiwambo that translate to “hard work never kills”. Something that the elders in the north constantly tell the youth, especially the lazy ones when it comes to work. I like that saying and the meaning behind it. No one ever dies from working hard, if that was the case then our forefathers wouldn’t have lived to give birth to our parents.

Our history and country is built on sweat, blood and tears of those before us. They did it through a lot of hard work, the hard way, the old fashioned way, they built it through blue collar work and jobs, the backbone of anything physically valuable. Today most of the youth come out of colleges and universities with degrees and diplomas where they learn valuable skills and are armed with knowledge and information in their designated fields. The only thing is that they unanimously complain about a lack of employment with their qualifications. All the hard work and hours put into tests, assignments and exams only to make it out and get rejected by the market. It’s becoming extremely difficult to find employment with degrees and diplomas only.

Blue collar work will never go out of fashion, just as the country will never run out of strong and energetic youths. Jobs like that of miners, plumbers and builders are being forsaken in the market for office work, in the process killing industries that have existed for decades and helped build this country, physically and economically. The majority of the higher education budget was sent to the three big educational institutions, University of Namibia (Unam), Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) and the International University of Management (IUM). While the less recognised institutions like the Vocational Training Centre (VTC), which produce the bulk of ‘qualified’ blue collar workers, cannot afford such help.

There is a young man who built a plane in the north out of car parts and other material. He is self-taught in all the work that he needed to know, from wielding to cutting metal and putting it back together. He did it all without ever getting any tertiary education. He is a beautiful example that the youth are more than capable to do great things that could be valuable to the economy, should blue collar jobs be given the necessary attention and assistance, the youth will rise up to the challenge.

After all this is the Land of the Braves and hard work never scared us!

Source New Era

Namibia: Deepening democracy in Sadc: A youth perspective

President Geingob has had a busy start to the year 2019, seized with matters of national development and regional peace and security in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).

On 19 and 24 January 2019, respectively, Namibia celebrated alongside the People of Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as they inaugurated their democratically elected leaders and fashioned a relatively peaceful transition of power.

Fairly credible elections were conducted and in both cases, peace hung in the balance, as voting outcomes were challenged in the courts. It was a defining moment to witness the deepening of democracy in these two nations that have been characterised by coups d’etats.

For the DRC to have held elections is a success in itself, while the attendance of all former Presidents of Madagascar at the inauguration sends good signals. For Sadc, the political pendulum has swung in favour of peace, stability and constitutional democracy and this is a milestone.

As Sadc Chair tasked to steer regional development, President Geingob provided steadfast leadership to the collective effort to bring parties together, to agree on the development and implementation of an electoral calendar and electoral roadmap, which facilitated the holding of national elections in the DRC in December 2018.

In his consultative nature, President Geingob called a Double Troika Summit on 17 January 2019 to consult on the political and security situation in the DRC. (A Double Troika is a meeting of incumbent, former and incoming Chair of Sadc, and incumbent, former and incoming Chair of the Organ on Politics, Security and Defense).

An outcome of this facilitated dialogue was the Sadc common position, which observed the principles of subsidiarity, national sovereignty and respecting the constitution and territorial integrity of the DRC.

One of the ranging consultation methods employed by President Geingob is quiet diplomacy. His credentials as a freedom fighter, diplomat, international civil servant, skilled negotiator, administrator, consensus builder and respected statesman, have garnered him rapport among his peers and he has, in a short period of time, cemented brotherly bonds with a number of counterparts in the region, continent and world.

This camaraderie has served the President well, as he consults colleagues via direct line, in the wake of a crisis. President Geingob believes strongly in consultation and building consensus, as an avenue for decision-making and building trust.
As young Africans emanating from Namibia, it is vital to take note of the Sadc Chair’s principled argument in the case of the DRC, which aimed to defend and not compromise on the principles of sovereignty, democracy and governance, in a time of crisis.

President Geingob postulates that credible processes, systems and institutions are fundamental for effective governance and once endorsed, processes should be permitted to run their course. Where found wanting, these processes, systems or institutions should be strengthened, rather than undermined.

These convictions should come as no surprise considering President Geingob was Swapo Director of Elections (1989), Chairman of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the Constitution of our Republic and founding Prime Minister of a transitioning government, tasked to establish Namibia’s governance architecture.

He is a leader whose entire youth, adult and intellectual life has been predicated on the design of nation building and effective governance. Building “an inclusive, united and prosperous Namibian House”, within the context of a regional Sadc neighbourhood, has been and remains his single-minded mission.

The emerging cohort of youth leaders can imbibe from President Geingob’s vision of ‘A New Africa’ where more countries embrace democracy with its culture of free and fair elections, respect for fundamental human rights, good governance and political tolerance.

A New Africa where there are no more coups and other unconstitutional changes of government. A New Africa where the African Union plays a more dynamic role in solving African problems and is at the forefront of pushing the African youth development agenda. A New Africa where former Presidents retire with dignity. Namibia, a harbinger of modern democratic systems, has embraced the concept of a New Africa.

President Geingob has befittingly declared 2019 the ‘Year of Accountability’, as Namibia will face elections later in the year, as will South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique and Malawi. With Madagascar and DRC successfully behind us, seeming post-electoral conflict in Zimbabwe has undone the very gains made following their unprecedentedly peaceful 2017 elections. It is an appropriate moment to reflect on progress made and prospects for the future.

Twenty-eight years into democracy, our country has gained ample experience in its political, social, economic and constitutional life. We have achieved a great deal – freedom, peace, stability, social cohesion and greater prosperity.

Since independence government has lifted 600,000 (NSA, 2016) Namibians out of poverty. Not least among our challenges is the stubbornly high level of unemployment, which entrenches poverty and inequality. The peaceful transfer of power is therefore essential for socio-economic development. The war against poverty, in pursuit of economic transformation and prosperity for, is hinged on the prevailing peace and stability, while recognizing that peace cannot be sustained where inequalities persist.

In Namibia, the legacy continues. The generation of liberators who ushered in the present era is still among us, providing leadership to navigate the complexities of geopolitics and transferring to the youth the fundamentals for effective governance. This is the legacy we are now beneficiaries of and we should understand it, so that we can build upon it, or risk recklessly rubbishing it.

In Sadc, democracy is deepening, but work must continue to strengthen and safeguard democratic political institutions and processes at all levels, so as to accountably and efficiently deliver public services and build trust. Every democracy requires a healthy dose of scrutiny and discourse, to hold elected leaders accountable and in this regard a young demographic majority has a meaningful role to play. It is incumbent on the youth to assume a participatory role and responsibility, by holding elected leaders accountable and by contributing knowledge and expertise towards the consolidation and strengthening of our democracies. Tomorrow does not just happen, it must be designed and now is the time to build on these fundamentals and construct: The Africa We

Source New Era