A legacy of hope

22 November 2019 | Business

Elizabeth Joseph

Pull Quote: “APLI has risen like a phoenix out of the ashes this past year and has become one of the most dynamic of its kind.”- Gerrit Keyter, Director: Talent and Development for APLI.

The African Pathfinder Leaders Initiative (APLI) has grown over the past year and has become a self-motivated and inspiring youth leadership development organisation with Gerrit Keyter at the forefront.

The 30-year-old Keyter, born and bred in Windhoek, has been the director of talent and development at APLI for over a year while doing his medical internship at the Windhoek Central and Katutura Intermediate Hospitals.

He studied medicine at the University of Namibia (Unam) School of Medicine, from which he graduated last year.

“Before enrolling for at Unam, I studied towards a Bachelor of Science (Earth Sciences) at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa,” Keyter says.

The Journey of APLI

Keyter joined APLI in November 2018. He says since then, APLI has undergone major changes - from being a small, unknown youth organisation to an up-and-coming venture that is making huge strides in Namibian youth development.

“APLI has risen like a phoenix out of the ashes the past year and has become one of the most dynamic and inspiring youth leadership development organisations in the country,” Keyter says.

How does he manage time being part of such an established organisation as well as a medical intern?

“One word: coffee,” Keyter says.

He further says that time management is vital when it comes to remaining on top of your game, no matter what line of work you’re doing.

“Time management and coffee! I also would not have been able to manage my time effectively without the support from my family and colleagues at APLI and at the hospital,” he says.

Keyter says his biggest drive is being able to make a positive and lasting impact in someone's life. He feels humbled to be involved with APLI because it has given him the opportunity to share his leadership and life experiences with young Namibians who are eager and willing to make life-changing impacts in their communities throughout the country.


“My biggest drive is making a positive and lasting impact in the minds and lives of young and energetic Namibians who are eager to change the living standards of the communities they live in,” Keyter says.

On his days off he loves to sleep, drink coffee at Slowtown Coffee Roasters and meet up with some friends.

He also enjoys staying home and relaxing with a good book or his infamous YouTube music mix.

“If I could rule the world for a day, I would change the way the international community views Namibia and the rest of Africa, as well as implement policies that would reduce the amount of red tape when doing business within the country and internationally,” he says.

Leaving a legacy

“I want to leave behind a legacy of hope to the young people living in Namibia. There are so many young people living in this country who have extraordinary abilities and talents to change this country for the better, but get frustrated and depressed with the current state of affairs in the country. For young people who feel like that, I want to say: keep your head up, believe in yourself and don't let the daily hustle mislead you from your dreams,” Keyter says.


· I share a birthday with Dr Sam Nujoma.

· I am a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow. I attended then civic leadership development tract at Wagner College in New York City.

· If I did not become a medical doctor, I would have been a travel and environmental journalist.

· I love driving on the long Namibian roads with good music playing in the car.

· Playing the piano helps me unwind at home.

· I am a big Slowtown Coffee Roasters fan (especially the bistro in Swakopmund).

· If I did not live in the here and now, I would have chosen to be living in New York City during the 1920s.

· One of my biggest dreams is to travel to Antarctica and seeing the emperor penguin colony in real life.

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