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Nothing much to smile about ahead of International Youth Day

by Kelvin Chiringa

As young people joined by the ministry of youth brace for the celebration of the International Youth Day scheduled for tomorrow, the Namibian youth still remain disempowered and outside the circles of decision making.

These were the views of some of the leading young voices that spoke to this publication ahead of the big day set for the 12th of August but will be celebrated two days before in Namibia.

Father for the city of Windhoek, Muesee Kazapua, Executive Chairperson for National Youth Council Mandela Kapere and Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Erastus Utoni have been listed as main speakers. 

However, outspoken activist for the Affirmative Repositioning, Dimbulukeni Nauyoma said the day comes at a time when the state support institutions have failed young people who find themselves more like orphans while a few have morphed into a black elite comprising of a few.

“What is there to celebrate? Namibian youth are like orphans as every support system has failed to work for them. May be they will be there to clap hands for the elite,” he said in an exclusive interview with The Villager.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, this year’s event takes place under the theme “Safe Spaces for Youth”.

“The availability and accessibility of civic, public, digital and physical spaces enhance young people’s potential by providing common ground and opportunities for innovation and creativity. It can help the youth to feel valued as they participate in decision- making processes and extend their cognitive, social and emotional skills as they transition into adulthood,” said Unicef.  

Youthful Landless People’s Movement (LPM) mobiliser Utaara Uti Moota said young people have not found their way right in the inner circle of vital decision making while unemployment continue to hit them hard.

“Right now I am on my way to a demonstration where we are saying the education minister must retire. Young people have not been empowered and institutions like NSFAF have failed to support students. Well there is something to celebrate and that is being youth. Other than that there is nothing,” she said.

The youth representative of LPM Duminga Ndala has said the only way out of the sticky situation young people find themselves trapped in is to squeeze their way right at the centre of things and make their voices heard. 

The United Nations General Assembly declared 12 August as the International Youth Day through its resolution 54/120 adopted in 1999 and it serves as an international observance to draw attention to the important role of young women and men as imperative partners in change.

Furthermore, it is an opportunity to shed light on the challenges that the youth are facing these days and to find respective solutions. 

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and specifically Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) provide a strong basis for safe urban spaces towards inclusive and sustainable urbanisation.