On August 22 2011, in this paper, I wrote a formulation titled “Towards a New National Youth Manifesto” in which I introduced a raison d’être of a National Youth Manifesto (NYM); what the youth want - how to get such - why such is needed - and who to do it.
That formulation further directed that, “The first meeting of the Representative Council must discuss the NYM … The Representative Council must adopt two important resolutions: One, is the adoption of the NYM to be implemented by the leadership of the NYC and defended by all its structures - it is the direction for all Namibian youth. The second important resolution is one that calls for an annual special session of the Representative Council to review the progress made on the NYM...”
Before that, I had written an article, in Prime Focus magazine wherein I discussed the lucid youth hypocrisy arresting youth organisations. That article could not resist an observation that, “The status of the youth in Namibia is shameful and public youth intellectuals must surely be ashamed of the youth’s hypocrisy as evidenced in our conduct and activities. Let’s find the due date to ‘Youth Hypocrisy’, for it is not sustainable and it will forever curtail our progress and legitimacy.”
The proposal for the NYM remains intact as an instrument for a cohesive vision for the Namibian youth in the absence of alternatives.
We are yet to see a proposal countering the NYM. In the absence of such, delegates to the Representative Council must go ahead and adopt a resolution on the NYM. All these formulation and suggestion centers around one key truth; the deplorable condition of the youth in this capitalist state. The condition that has been created has been left unabated and supervised by national leadership.
If analysed closely, the youth crisis originates from the indecisiveness of political managers and the design of the state.
I am tempted to share an extract from a letter I wrote to a senior State leader; “of all 21 Chapters and 148 articles of the Namibian constitution, none is dedicated or deals substantially with the age group called youth. Of all National Assembly committees, none is dedicated to the youth.
It is doubtful whether youth are/have been considered when six presidential appointees to the National Assembly are allotted. It may be easy to believe if one would be told that Cabinet does not have a committee dedicated to the youth. The National Youth Policy is nothing but an ambiguous and toothless 10-page document. It is no surprise that it took Namibia more that 10 years to establish the National Youth Service. Who is shocked that the National Youth Council (NYC) receives less than N$10m from the National Budget? And people wonder why unemployment is high among the youth?
The above suggests that the design of the State may be anti-youth and that the youth exists only as an appendix in the matters of State.”
Further, let’s pretend that we don’t know there is only one youth member appointed to the Board of NYS.
In this terrible condition, the need to inspire the youth, therefore, cannot be underestimated. We have now come to understand that the correct inspiration is one that comes from one’s peers; those in the same condition.
For our case, the inspiration of Namibian youth must come amongst the youth themselves. Of course, despite their appalling condition supervised by national leadership, there are youth members who have managed to withstand the stormy weathers. Their stories are inspirational and must be told to other youth members. Their achievements and narratives must be publicly paraded, to serve as an inspiration for other youth in despair.
Having established the above, today, we are proposing yet another idea; implementation by the NYC; a statutory body safeguarded by the NYC Act (No. 3 of 2009). I introduce you to the Namibian Annual Youth Accolades (NAYA).
It is an annual national event of the NYC that recognises and decorates the youth of this nation with notable achievements in that particular year. If we are saying that the NYC is one and only organisations with diverse membership from political, social, religious and otherwise, then NAYA has the potential of being an award that can command respect and legitimacy from all corners of this country.
The NYC has a youth forum in each region. The youth forum for each region, in return, has membership made up of various youth groups within that region.
It is time youth members took ownership of what is theirs and claim their rightful space in this capitalist State.
We must begin to see, through NAYA, a youth organisation of the year. NAYA must deliver awards for an inspirational youth of the year; the overall youth of the year; regional youth of the year; youth project of the year; youth organisation of the year; most improved youth organisation of the year as well as the bravest youth of the year.
Do not flood NAYA with non-youth charlatans. Let NAYA be an event of the youth. The non-youth can partake as specialised guests to present awards. NAYA must be fun and an event to look forward to. NAYA must be the best event in Namibia. It must be celebrated in style – in a youthful style. It must be held towards the end of the year. It must serve as the awards with the largest attendance – so you need a big venue.
What I have done above is to introduce NAYA. I have also proposed some ideas of how it must be and what accolades it to medal. It is now for Mandela Kapere and his team at NYC to see how we proceed forward towards the deliverance of NAYA as the most renowned event in post-Independent Namibia.
Till second half – Hear and be heard.