Hard choices for struggling Outjo youth



Young people in Outjo Constituency are adversely affected by unemployment, as the area only has commercial farms and tourism establishments as its main economic mainstay and source of employment.

Some of the youth are said to be leaving for Windhoek and Swakopmund to explore greener pastures.
According to Outjo Constituency Councillor Johannes Antsino, the area does not have any extractive industries, such as mines, and depends on commercial farms, tourism establishments and government institutions as the main source of employment for the youth.

“Even if I cannot provide you with exact figures, you can tell it (youth unemployment) is high,” Antsino told New Era during a telephonic interview this week. He says one can observe the high unemployment rate in the neighbourhoods of Outjo, forcing the young and able-bodied to seek employment in urban centres, such as Windhoek or Swakopmund.

Small business owners pay what they can afford and employees find themselves between a rock and a hard place, as they are given the option to be paid a pittance or to be jobless. “There is nothing that can push up the payment, but the youth say it’s better than nothing,” Antsino remarked.

Some of the young women, who went on to further their studies in Windhoek are forced to move in with their boyfriends due to the lack of income and often tend to drop out of tertiary institutions, as some are impregnated while others struggle to pay the exorbitant tuition fees, prohibitive rental costs on top of having to fork out for taxi fare.

Antsino said at Seringkop Resettlement Farm, a young San woman who passed Grade 12 with over 29 points is just loitering at a farm, because she does not have the financial means to continue her studies. Seringkop Farm is situated some 95 kilometers from Outjo.

Some young folk are discouraged from furthering their studies, as they hear stories of hardship being faced in Windhoek by their peers, as well as due to lack of money to pay for their studies.

Antsino believes Outjo should look at ways to produce food, although the area is mountainous and rocky, while water is also scarce.
“We know it’s a rocky area, but the Chinese can reclaim sea and build on it, so we can also plant on our mountains. We can just ignore the fact that it’s a rocky area,” said Antsino, who also represents Kunene Region in the National Council.


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