Sexy vs substance

21 February 2019 | Opinion

Social media has been abuzz with photos of skimpily-clad young people, ostensibly part of a Swapo youth wing project that features a young lady wearing a party-coloured bikini.

The Swapo Party Youth League told a television reporter that it is behind the idea and that the project was created by young people. The youth wing said further that the project is still to be given the green light by the mother party and that the photos were likely leaked.

It seems the SPYL has taken a leaf out of the African National Congress’ book, which recently used a model in what looks like a beauty commercial, rather than an election campaign, to get South Africa’s ruling party back into the driving seat at the polls this year. One wonders what the core message is of the SPYL’s ‘project’, because on the face of it, it does not seem to speak to the very real issues affecting the youth. However, they should be given the benefit of the doubt until a full picture emerges, if it ever does.

What is critical is the thinking behind using bikini-clad girls for political purposes. Detractors would argue that it feeds into the misogynist tendencies that lurk within our society. It may also be rightfully argued that diversion tactics - especially those that want to detract from the sordid realities facing our youth - should have no place in the current political discourse. The most vulnerable among us are woman and children, and it is a blight on our landscape when a young lady - and in this case underwear-clad young men - will potentially be used to lure voters.

This feeds into the perception that the current SPYL leadership may very well lack the kind of substance required to take the issues of Namibian youth forward in a way that not only addresses the obvious problems of unemployment, poverty and the like, but also requires a generational contestation around ideas. Let’s not sacrifice substance for sexy.

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