The new junior mayor of Windhoek Moses Filipus hopes to see a future of questioners and critical and out-of-the-box thinkers.
The 16-year-old Filipus was inaugurated as junior mayor on 1 September 2022 for a two-year term along with Fenn Paulus from Hage Geingob High School as his deputy, Ruusa Salomo from Acacia High School, who serves as secretary and Katire Tjijandjeua from Centaurus High School who is the treasurer.
The City of Windhoek junior council was established in 1999 to, amongst others, be a vehicle by which learners can be involved in their communities and create change through the young initiative programme.
Filipus told Youth Corner that the only way development occurs is “through the unorthodoxy society fears so much”, adding that he would love to see a generation of children that are not scared to be different.
The grade 11 Jan Möhr Secondary School learner said he was encouraged to run for junior mayor as he was in a position to instil pragmatic change and not be a bystander to the leadership vacuum of his own generation.
For him, being junior mayor means taking action and leaving complaints on social media behind by establishing sensible and realistic change.
“This means getting in direct contact with members of our society such as the elderly, who aren’t in a position to fend for themselves, and assisting them in the best way we as the youth could,” said Filipus, who took over from Shetukana Lesley of the Dawid Bezuidenhout High School.
The elderly project, his personal favourite and one which is part of the activities during their reign, is aimed at teaching young people to show love and support to senior citizens for their wisdom and experiences.
“When you sit down with someone who has had so much experience in life – you’re washing their clothes and helping them – but the knowledge and intergenerational experience that you share with that person when they talk to you and teach you things is so much more than that. Honestly, I feel like the elderly are doing more service to us,” he explained.
In addition, Filipus and his team identified a core project that will focus on the mental health of the youth in the city, which due to the rapid increase of technology and social media as well as many other entities, might negatively affect their mental health.
“The youth have been struck most by identity conflicts, existential crisis, depression, and other clinically-diagnosable mental illnesses. There is a need to address this challenge through various platforms such as youth dialogues and talks,” he said.
Other projects of the 2022/23 junior council include cancer awareness, HIV/AIDS awareness and clean-up projects.
The junior mayor stated that views may sometimes differ and misunderstandings may occur, but his duty is to act as a mediator for productive discourse to ensure that discourse is aimed at developing the city and the livelihoods of its citizens.
According to Filipus, having a junior mayor represent the youth is crucial because only the youth know what the youth wants.
“My fellow councillors are from a variety of schools across Windhoek with different views and perspectives, and this helps represent youth from all corners of the city.”