Youth and development

In Namibia there are the children of the liberation struggle and other children. Recently the void between the two ‘types’ of Namibian youth have decreased substantially. Since the beginning of the ‘children of the liberation struggle’ debate it was clear that the situation was complex: One: the children who were directly affected by the liberation struggle are unemployed and in dire straits. Indeed, more needed to be done to assimilate them into the job market through innovative employment creation. Two: The situation, or rather the condition, in which the so called ‘struggle children’ find themselves only mirrors the condition of Namibian youth as a whole. Unemployment levels are extremely high at a estimated half the population being with unemployment (it is not clear whether this statistic includes self-employed individuals and the vibrant small and medium enterprises sector).
For over 2 years the ‘struggle kids’ have engaged the government in an extended battle of the wills with varying success. The highlight was before the last elections when they camped in front of the Ministry of Veteran Affairs in protest. This resulted in their relocation to the National Youth Service camp in Berg Augkas. However, only last week the ‘struggle kids’ where back in the limelight after they marched more than 400 kilometers from the camp to the capital. It was the classic rhetoric of the face-off between the angry impatient youth and the government. But this time, the outcome was very different. The government allowed the youth to present a petition but warned that any civil unrest would be met with police intervention. After the petition was handed over, the youth was firmly told that the unemployment problem does not only relate to them and that they should wait like other Namibians for the situation to improve. Simply put; they were told that there is nothing special about their situation. Stunned and humbled the ‘struggle kids’ returned to Berg Augkas. This is great! Namibian youth all struggled during the South African occupation and therefore should have the same opportunities. All youth should be encouraged to create jobs or undertake vocational training.

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