Young, determined and goal-driven
06 July 2021 | Youth
“Do not be defined, confined or determined by one thing because complexity and flexibility is advantageous.”
Zabrina Ludwig is resilience, goal-driven, and determination personified. Ludwig is the youth commissioner of the National Commission (NATCOM) for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and also the current secretary-general of the Namibian National Students Organisation (NANSO).
Additionally, she is a recent microbiology graduate from the University of Namibia (Unam) and a part-time tutor.
She is a passionate and humble 22-year-old. She is an ambivert, which she considers quite controversial and challenging for a leader today and an aspiring reader of non-fiction.
Knowledge is power
Ludwig started primary school at MH Greeff Primary School in Windhoek, where she attended grade one and two and then moved to Rehoboth where she completed her primary education at Origo Primary School. She matriculated at Dr Lemmer High School and thereafter pursued her BSc honours degree in microbiology at the Unam, from which she graduated in April 2021.
Leading from all ends
As the youth commissioner of NATCOM for UNESCO, Ludwig’s role is to represent young people and ensure there is a youthful perspective to decisions made, to involve young people in programmes and to disseminate important information and opportunities, amongst others.
As the secretary-general of NANSO, she launched a student, trainee and learner assistance centre at NAMCOL called the Yetu Yama Centre. NANSO is working together with an international partner, 3 E’s 4 Africa, which recently financially aided students doing substantive research.
Ludwig believes that everyone has leadership attributes and it comes to light in different situations and when someone is given an opportunity to clearly make use of it.
She said a remarkable moment in her life was when she was given the opportunity to be class leader for their entrepreneurship day at school. “I can still remember I was so ecstatic about the idea of working together with my class on deciding what to sell, how much it would be, who we would sell it to and how we would promote it,” she said excitedly. Further, Ludwig said working with a team, guiding them, motivating them, struggling together, reaping the fruits together and the feeling of responsibility left her on a high.
“That rush of emotions I felt and experienced there and then was something I always wanted to feel, so I just went with it, until today,” she said.
Complex and flexible
“I have many big goals in different aspects of my life, whether it is envisaged goals for NANSO, NATCOM, academically, or my lifestyle,” she said. To encapsulate everything, she believes that we should not be defined, confined or determined by one thing because complexity and flexibility is advantageous.
Ludwig said among the national problems today, one she wishes to resolve is the youth unemployment crisis. According to her, the youth is the backbone of any country, hence we must ensure we create an environment for young people to become employment creators by increasing access to funding or creating an environment where market entrants competing with multinationals and conglomerates have a fighting - and winning - chance.
“When young people are provided with quality education, training, and an opportunity, the nation/country/economy will naturally thrive,” she said.
Clouds amid sunshine
Like any other young person, Ludwig has faced multiple challenges amid her ventures. She has also felt the youth unemployment crisis in Namibia.
“Many graduates are finding it more than difficult to obtain a job, especially during this pandemic. To be honest, it’s quite frustrating when people continue to encourage us to be job creators rather than seekers, while we continue to have very little to no financial support and access to funding for business creation isn’t accessible.”
Stereotyping has been another challenge she has faced.
“Coloured and Baster young people rarely take up space in student organisations or leadership positions, and when we do, people tend to not be ready for us. It is challenging to engage a group that does not initially accept your presence and is not ready to hear your voice,” she said.
Ludwig is a committed young leader and her perseverance and determination especially when she was faced with a myriad of challenges in leadership, academically and life in general has allowed her to be resilient, driven, and determined in achieving her goals in life.
Eight fun facts about Ludwig
I procrastinate by cleaning.
I invented my own paper dolls in the second grade, and it ended up being a trend.
I can sing.
I cry and/or laugh at random and wrong moments.
In university, accidentally burnt off a patch of hair in the centre of my head with a blow-dryer, it left a spot. (I went to school for about a semester with only a ponytail!)
When I wash dishes, I involuntarily rest one foot on top of the other or on the side of my knee.
I am currently obsessed with Korean and Chinese series and movies.
I sincerely love dogs.