We are living in a critical time. For this reason, last week was a different week. A week that began with trauma of suspicion over the plight of a young man who was reported missing on 18 June 2021.
The report of a missing person in Mukwe district triggered the hearts of Namibians around the world. The result was an outpouring of plea for the return of the person reported missing.
As the missing person report gained prominent, church leaders, community leaders, youth activists and police officers mobilised resources, time and skills to find the whereabouts of the person.
Efforts were made to trace him, beginning with the interrogation of friends who were the last people to see him. When this did not yield the anticipated result, people went on social media to expand the search for the missing person.
The search intensified with the public petitions for whoever had the missing person to return him. This was the moment when the status of Namibian citizens, particularly residents of Kavango East region were flooded with messages of appeal for anyone who had information about the disappearance of the missing person to come forth.
The constant plea of the people created more awareness for the missing person’s identity. It was at this point that many of us learned that the missing person is a student at the University of Namibia by the name of Fredrick Mukuve (Ryan).
The surface of this information increased the capacity for his search, triggering students from various institutions around the country to get involved. On the morning of 24 June 2021, the land of Kavango East was covered with a climate of despair to receive the news that the young man’s body had been found floating on the surface of the river water. Our heartfelt condolences to Ryan. We pray for strength for his family, friends and relatives.
In the perspective of this article, this year and last year had been very difficult years in the history of the University of Namibia, Rundu campus. This is because the shocking death of Ryan comes after the demise of Fernando Chameya from Kehemu who was outrageously stabbed to death in October last year. Fernando was a first-year student enrolled for business studies. Before Fernando’s death, it has to be known that the campus had lost Vaino Kanyetu who died in a hit and run car accident on 26 July 2020, the same year. The late Vaino was enrolled in year three of the teaching programme of education.
Like Fernando and Vaino, it has come to my knowledge that the late Ryan was a first-year nurse student pursuing his basic education honours degree. His academic record shows that he was dedicated and committed to his studies. From a standpoint of hardworking, his progress report demonstrates that he was an ambitious student who had many dreams and goals to achieve. His lecturers confirmed that he was a student who always wanted to acquire sound knowledge of the theoretical bases of nursing practices. They added that while in the first year, he longed to reach his 4th year to apply theoretical knowledge to real-life patient care scenarios and become more familiar with the professional code of conduct that governs nursing care.
In the perspective of this article, the death of Fernando, Vaino and Ryan is a big loss to our country. I say this with deep conviction because students are the roots of development. In today’s world, you can never hope for a successful country if there are no educated people and policies to drive the economy.
Undoubtedly, students are a huge asset for industrialisation. They are the agents of change and transformation, as they coexist to collect understanding that would be used to impact knowledge.
Everyone knows that today’s youth will become tomorrow’s leaders and students are never far from positions of leadership. They are the people in institutions of learning to prepare to use what they learn to influence society. They are the confidence of countries to discover new ways of dealing with issues that affect humanity.
They are the recipients of training and instructions that would help transfer skills and competence. They are there to conduct research to find answers to things that are unknown, filling gaps in knowledge.
Given the importance of students to our economy, I am writing to invite the Namibian people to rebuke the spirit that appears to be after the lives of our students in the country.
I am also writing to sensitise all our high institution students to be vigilant, to live with the consciousness that outside their comfort zones are killers slobbering after their precious lives. I am writing to appeal to them to do so knowing that they are the hope of this country and losing them is losing potentials that would help Namibia achieve her Millennia goals.
From a position of the current Covid-19 crisis, I write to encourage all students to know that they are the key source of inspiration and motivation for problem solving in our country. Namibia cannot think of finding new ways of dealing with diseases without students. Neither to think of eradicating poverty or reducing unemployment and participation in the 4th industrial revolution. Wherever they find themselves, my appeal is that they ensure to keep themselves safe, knowing that Namibia’s future is in their hands.
There are a thousand ways to keep themselves safe. Two ways to do so include being constantly careful of their surroundings and always avoid wrong places. Another way is to avoid engaging in activities that have the potentials to yield harmful results.
It takes criminals two seconds to select their next victims. Students should pay serious attention to the people around them. They should also understand that alcohol and drugs can destroy their lives, reducing their ability to be productive citizens.
Subsequently, I would like to enlighten Namibian students to commit in taking the right choices and choosing their friends carefully. I encourage them to get involved in activities that shape their opinions to influence the world. I embolden them to specialise in becoming good examples to their communities. Let them concentrate on doing the right thing, instead of a good thing, because not every good thing is right.
May they fix their eyes on how they would improve their creativity to make Namibia a modelling nation? May they live to preserve their lives to make meaningful contributions?
Lastly, I have to tell you that I have had the sorrow of anguish for losing students in this country. Not to forget how much I was deeply touched by the level of love the Namibian people showed during the search for Ryan. To the Namibian students, I put these to your test, that if you truly mean the affection you showed for the demise that befell your fellow scholars, the proof will be, that you will honour them by living a life that seeks to make a difference. I believe that will satisfy the melody of their souls that desired to live. Their souls would find rest knowing that their forced departure from earth have changed your attitude towards life collectively. God bless Namibia.