Youths testify on racism

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Pinehas Nakaziko

Windhoek -“We want young women to be encouraged to take on field of studies that they were discouraged against in the past, because the colonial shadow is still on us,” says Tjiunovina Kandjavera, adding that there are few women who would want to go into vocational schools, for example to pursue a career in plumbing, which is not regarded as a woman’s job.

Kandjavera is one of the learners from schools in Windhoek who last week made presentations at the public hearings on racism/racialism and tribalism, organized by the Ombudsman’s Office. Schools such as the Dawid Bezuidenhout High School, Windhoek Gymnasium and St Paul’s College made presentations.

Kandjavera from Dawid Bezuidenhout High School spoke about discrimination against young women in Namibia.

Andreas Shikongo from the same school spoke about equity in education. He said equity in education is a measure of achievements, fairness and an opportunity in education.

“The poor are being discriminated against when it comes to quality education because it is made expensive just to accommodate a certain class of people.”

“When you look at the education system, there are schools where accounting is not offered, but some learners are born to be accountants,” explains Shikongo, adding that because of the geographical setting of some schools, they can’t access the subjects they want to study.

“Why can’t we have schools that have all other field of studies? Or create schools that are specialized in all fields of study so we can attend them? This is quality of the education,” he stresses.

Juandre Nell from Windhoek Gymnasium spoke about their school as a family where leaners of all ethnic groups and cultural background are welcome with open arms. “We will of course not agree on everything, but we respect as well as value these differences, and still live in harmony with each other,” says Nell, adding that at their school one obviously sees white, black and coloured learners associating with each other.

Luciano Doise from the same school says as teenagers their lives are consumed by social media. “It allow us to be a faceless crowd that roars like a lion when it comes to racism and discrimination.” He gave an example of a white woman from South Africa, Penny Sparrow, who recently made a tweet calling black beachgoers monkeys. “People hide their faces and are not concerned with comments they make and the consequences they will face,” says Doise, adding that as youth, they witness these racial comments daily, and sadly on social media this is a norm.

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