Today's youth matter

20 February 2020 | Opinion

Many of our leading politicians were radical youth at some stage. It was because of their radicalism and unwavering spirit that we are an independent nation today. Many more examples of youthful determination can be made. Many will also remember vividly how the Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) played a pivotal role in the final years of the liberation struggle. These young students were fearless and particularly advocated for the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 435, the removal of teachers dressed in military uniform and the release of political prisoners during the struggle.

The great revolutionary writer Frantz Fanon once opined that “each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfil it or betray it”. Many of us can relate to these words and the onus is now clearly on the youth to discover and fulfil their mission.

Today, the younger generation, which wields enormous power, is asked to stand up for society when it faces challenges. Founding president Sam Nujoma, speaking at a Swapo rally in May 2017, reminded young people that they were carrying a massive weight of expectation. “The youth should become active participants in the socio-economic development of our country in order to take our country to the advanced level of development and eradicate poverty, diseases, ignorance and under-development,” he was quoted saying at Okahao.

The fact that our leaders are now starting to realise the important role of the youth in shaping their future is a good sign, but acknowledgement is not good enough. We must not allow the admirable energy and creativity of the youth to go to waste. The youth too deserve a seat at the big table.

No one understands our interconnected world better than the youth. The tables have clearly turned – the days of selfish politicians lining their pockets and filling their big bellies are numbered.

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