The First Lady Monica Geingos has implored Namibian youth to create their own space in society, instead of focusing on the space already taken.
Geingos made the call late on Tuesday afternoon at State House when she received the 2016 Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up (DUSUSU) Award for her contribution to gender equality and the education of the girl-child in Africa.
DUSUSU, a project by a 13-year-old girl-child education activist, Zuriel Oduwole, seeks to champion the education of the girl-child in Africa and rebrand the image of Africa. Oduwole is an American of Nigerian parentage. Her award recognises individuals who have shown strong support for the education of children in Africa.
“I cannot want to become the minister of education because there is already a minister of education, that space is already taken; I can’t want to become the CEO of Old Mutual, there is already a CEO of Old Mutual, that space is already taken,” Geingos said.
“If there is something I want but is already occupied by somebody else you don’t try and connive about how you get that person out of the position, but rather create your own space,” she said.
She said she wants youngsters to create their own space just like Zuriel Oduwole has done.
She also called on teenage girls to refrain from sexual relationships.
She further encouraged young girls and boys to focus on things that will positively shape their future, adding that they should abstain from destructive practices which could make them lose focus of what really matters in their lives.
On her part Oduwole, whose dream is to become an American president one day, said Geingos was selected because of her advocacy role in gender equality.
The day started off with a panel discussion on adolescent sexual health and rights by various panellists such as social worker Veronica Theron, Namibia Planned Parenthood Association (NAPPA) executive director Bravo Linosi, clinical psychologist Ayesha Wentworth and deputy speaker of the Children’s Parliament Emma Theofelous. It was attended by more than 200 learners from various Windhoek schools.
Contributing to the debate, Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa encouraged communities to become more involved in education.
“Adolescents need to take back their power by not engaging in risky and harmful behaviour,” she said, adding that they need to decide to engage in their educational opportunities that are now free, and not squander their future.
She said it is only through joint efforts “that we will be able to realise a HIV free future and become a knowledge-based, prosperous and industrialised nation”.