with Andrew Naunyango

As a generation we don’t seem to realize the powerful position we are in, the youth is Namibia’s most precious asset but it is an asset that needs to self-actualize. As a generation, we are posed to impact our surroundings dramatically and the tools to do it are at our disposal, we are a generation of young people born into freedom, educated and offered the world if we’re willing to work for it. We need to cease those opportunities, taking on responsibility past the bare minimum and holding others accountable to theirs. We can do so much as a generation if we just take hold of our futures, not looking for leaders but becoming them.

Born and bred in the capital, Andrew Naunyango is a 22 year old who is constantly inspired by the achievements of his peers, an average youth with a deep hunger for change, self-development and impacting the world around them.

Naunyango attended Emma Hoogenhout Primary School for grades one and two. The following year he moved to London, United Kingdom, where he attended Wessex Gardens Primary School and completed his primary education. He then attended Hendon School in London before returning to Namibia, where he attended Windhoek High School (WHS) for grade eight and grade nine. His family later moved to Brasilia, in Brazil where he attended Brasília International School (BIS) completing his grade 10 and 11.

He then returned to Windhoek, and as the academic year ends in July in Brazil, he opted to attend school as a grade 11 learner as opposed to spending half a year at home waiting for grade 12. By doing so he went then later went on to St. George’s Diocesan College, where he matriculated with 53 points.

From high school, he enrolled at the University of Namibia (UNAM) to study towards his law degree.

He obtained his first degree in 2013, which is his baccalaureus juris (Bjuris) degree.

At UNAM, he was exposed to many dynamic ideas and thoughts. Debating became a passion for him and with it he began to read more broadly and develop his analytical and critical thinking abilities.

He began to compete nationally and internationally. With debate he had been ranked second Best Speaker in Southern Africa for the ESL category in Cape Town. He was named best speaker at UNAM. He later got into organizing, with his largest tournament being the Organization of African Unity (OAU) / African Union (AU) 50th Anniversary Debate Championships where he was the tournament director. In 2013, he was introduced to the world of Model United Nations by the then Youth Ambassador to Namibia for the United Nations, Gawie Kanjemba, initially assisting with research and preparation, he then began to apply his theoretical knowledge to real life situations.

This sparked Gawie and Naunyango forming the Youth for Human Rights Namibia group (YFHRN), which seeks to use the members various backgrounds to contribute to social issues particularly those regarding the youth. Viewing activities such as Model United Nations and debating as effective tools in elevating social consciousness, engaging the youth on national and international issues and finding pragmatic solutions; whilst simultaneously developing communication skills, research abilities, critical thinking faculties, analytical ability and policy development. This medium also allows for youth to engage current leaders as well as prospective leaders from across the world, enabling the creation of diverse networks coming together to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems.

YFHRN has since its inception worked on a number of MUN’s nationally including with the British High Commission based on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict that produced a resolution that was witnessed and handed to Hon. Peter Katjavivi ahead of the actual summit in London on behalf of the Namibian government. The group hosted Communication and Critical Thinking Training Conferences, with high schools from across the country. Currently the group is planning its largest project, which is the International Mirabilis Model United Nations (MUN), Namibia’s first ever international MUN and Africa’s second, which is set to see participants from 66 countries in Windhoek in March 2016.

Naunyango is also currently an executive board member of the Namibian Public Speaking and Debate Academy (NPSDA) serving specifically as a research and development officer. The Academy became operational in the second half of 2015, and has since hosted two major tournaments at a tertiary level and at a secondary school level, with a diverse group of partners.

“Creating a culture of excellence, beyond affiliations and personal benefit, beyond any single individual, that’s what keeps me going. I am motivated by those who go further and prioritize communal development as highly as they do personal development,” he said.

Although he wasn’t the best at socializing, he met many great people in his teenage years, with whom he seemed to instantly take a liking to and most of those friendships endure to date. “Generally my teenage years were characterized by great discoveries of self and society, lots of laughter, and a lot of light hearted fun. I always prioritized my studies and left ample time to build and maintain my academic career, but I quite enjoyed extra-mural activities too, in particular debating became my absolutely love in my late teens, a love which persists to this date.”

He said the youth should remember that most success stories start with a vision, a plan of action and the determination to see it all the way through.

“Competence is discipline, and as cliché as it may sound, there is nothing you can’t do, if you apply yourself entirely. Never be limited in your aspirations and never dismiss anything as being beyond you, where there is a will, there is a way; you just need to want it enough to put in the work for it. Failure is as much a part of success as anything, don’t create excuses for your shortcomings, take them, analyze them and amend your approach accordingly and keep on pushing.” advised Naunyango, who is in his final year pursuing his bachelor’s honors degree at Unam.