Nanso president among 100 influential Africans

Namibia National Students Organisation’s president, Ester Simon has been voted among the top 100 list of the most influential young Africans for 2018, a list compiled by Africa Youth Awards.


Simon has been ranked in the same fold as Botswana’s minister of Investment Trade and Industry Bogolo Kenewendo and South Africa’s outspoken Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi of the Economic Freedom Fighters and Uganda’s rubble rouser and fierce opposition leader, Kyagulanyi Ssentamu also known as Bobi Wine.


The list includes Egypt’s football sensation, Mohammed Salah, Nigeria’s musical wonder-boy Davido and South Africa’s trendy model Bonang Matheba and Casper Nyovest.


Speaking to The Villager on her latest continental recognition for her work within the country and without, Simon said she was humbled.


“It’s indeed an honour especially when you’re chosen among very influential people that I have been looking up to, the likes of the youngest minister of Botswana. It’s humbling that Africa sees me  to be able to sit on the same table with people like her.”


“It is even more pleasing, the fact that I can represent not only young people but the entire country as a whole. So when I look at it, it is not just an individual victory but for us as Namibian young people,” she said.


Simon says she has managed to navigate well through power-corridors dominated by male counterparts by foremost, seeing herself not as a woman, but an able professional who should be seen in the light of her abilities.


“You know if I take you back to last year when I was elected (Nanso president) I keep repeating that as women, when we rise to leadership roles, it’s not on the basis of our gender but your credibility and the fact that you’re able to deliver in specific areas,” said the one-time journalism apprentice.


Nanso has showered praises on her and remarked in a statement that she continues to demonstrate that on her shoulders, the hopes and dreams of Namibian students and learners are kept alive.


Simon has engaged the Namibian Students Financial Assistant Fund with an unflinching eye, supported by her leadership team and is on record lashing out against the police for allegations of brutality when they beat up students during a peaceful demo.


She has risen to the helm of representing the nation’s young minds on a continental level and is at the centre of a team that will host an upcoming youth summit to deliberate on Agenda 2063 among other things.


As she continues to soar the pinnacles of authority, some are beginning to whisper that she has her eye set in politics.


Her response to this was at first subtle and later direct.


Said she, “Student leadership is often associated with gunning for political office due to the affiliations made during the term. This is a misconception as well because it’s an elected position, the role is multi-dimensional but not political.”


“I think there is a need for genuine empowerment of women in all spheres, at all levels. However, my space belongs in the academic sphere as it is a reflection of society. Do I have political aspirations? The simple answer is no. I am not a politician.”