WINDHEOK-Youth activist and former president of the Students Representative Council (SRC) for the University of Namibia (Unam), Joseph Kalimbwe (25), says young people need to refocus their lives to shape the future of their countries.
Kalimbwe, who served as the president of the African Union Youth (AUY) in 2016, says young people, especially in Namibia, need to learn from the struggles of Swapo’s freedom fighters such as Sam Nujoma and Toivo ya Toivo. “As young people, it’s very much easy to get distracted from focusing on key issues that affect us. Too often, we tend not to care until the struggle begins to eat us. You will understand that the issues of unemployment and hard economic times are not just affecting a couple of people, they are affecting everyone,” says Kalimbwe.
From 2016 to 2017, Kalimbwe led students against repression at Unam. That was the time of the emergence of the #fee must fall action and Affirmative Repositioning (AR) pressing for key issues with the government. He says young people need to work extra hard and must never turn their backs on key issues, for them to be able to achieve their goals. “The key lessons young people need to learn is that they will never be able to achieve success instantly, sometimes we will fail, sometimes we will lose, and sometimes people will give up on us. But giving up on our beliefs must never be an option. We should lift each other up at all times,” Kalimbwe encourages.
He adds that Namibia has a long history of youth-led movements that brought about significant social changes before independence. “Young people have advocated for school desegregation and the addressing of employment. Through these actions, the country has changed significantly. Because young people often have the desired energy and idealism to do something about the injustice they see, and we too can become powerful agents for change in our society,” says Kalimbwe. He adds that transforming youth anger and hopelessness into concrete actions can make them better.