Thirty-three years after democracy was ushered in, a large number of Namibian youth still feel neglected and abandoned. The youth – predominantly from the informal settlements of numerous townships – feel democracy with huge unemployment amounts to nothing. Living in a squalor of abject poverty has given room to many activities that result in a huge humiliation of democracy, peace and stability. They believe employment, which is the only solution to all problems in Namibia, is hard to get because it is equally hard to create.
One young person said she does not have the monetary resources to come up with something that would perhaps earn her a living or an opportunity to get a job. This person holds a bachelor’s degree in education obtained from Unam in 2020 and is still unemployed.
Being a youth myself, I feel the inability of the government to come out with decisive force and empower us in terms of employment is what gives birth to many activities that are not compatible with what democracy ought to achieve - prosperity.
Many Namibians flock to urban cities in search of greener pastures; little do they know that urban towns harbour the worst unemployment of all. Many end up abusing alcohol, committing crimes and doing other unnecessary things that do not improve their lives.
A social worker I spoke to said the youth feel “dumped in the mud” and equally neglected. She sees more than 30 people who come for suicide counselling and when she enquires why they feel the need to end their lives, unemployment and subsequently boredom seems to be the general challenge.
The government and Namibian sympathisers should thus zoom in and find amicable and workable solutions to take the youth out of the streets. Even jobs in sports, entertainment and arts activities – the things youths like – could suffice.
I believe leisure time is a threat to our democracy and to root out all social ills amongst the youth, much still needs to be done in terms of governance and more particularly in terms of job creation.
The government should stick to its promises and create jobs. Many Namibian youth are offended by the President’s lack of urgency to declare a state of emergency, as unemployment is no longer a contemporary issue; it has become a major crisis.
The youth should, in the meantime, stay energetic and hopeful for a better Namibia.
* Efraim Ranjeni Tshigwana is an honours student in Bachelor of English and Applied Linguistics, specialising in literature and contemporary issues at the Namibia University of Science and Technology.