16 August 2017

Namibia: New Book On Student Struggles Out Soon

Windhoek — The president of the University of Namibia (Unam) Student Representative Council (SRC) for 2017, Joseph Kalimbwe, will next Tuesday launch his book about the struggles of students at higher institutions of learning, entitled 'Persecuted In Search of Change'.

The book centres on the two months when the SRC was mired in conflict with management, particularly Kalimbwe and his vice president, Raymond Tjiueza, as well as Vanessa Hifitikeko and Jefrey Shapange, all of whom were expelled from the institution after protests by the students over fees.

A week later Kalimbwe announced his intention to write the book about the struggles of students, the operations of Unam and its relations with the SRC and the injustices faced by students.

Kalimbwe writes about the need to get the concerns of students heard. "When I first sat to write this book, I thought about all those stories of students who have never known the joys of a better day. I was possessed with a crazy idea that we could bring about the much-needed change in the lives of these students to give them hope and inspiration."

The book, which also features a member of the SRC for external affairs, Shapange's ordeals in one of the chapters, explains the need for the youth to find their own identity and discover their destiny and calls on the younger generation to serve without betraying their generation.

This will be Kalimbwe's third book after 'Teenage-Hood and the Impact of the Western World', which he wrote in his first year at the university, and 'The Pain of An Empty Stomach', which he penned in his second year.

"I spoke with my colleagues in the SRC department and some gracious members of staff on how we could get things done in telling the story and they gave their opinions on what they thought, and along with how... we saw things, we put those ideas into a book to tell the next generation of student leaders and students who are to come in the next twenty, thirty or forty years," Kalimbwe explains.

He adds that there is a need for youth and students in particular to be able to choose the life they want for themselves.

"Whether to be social media advocates for change or people who actually get involved." The book also explains the operations of a body mandated to represent students, the SRC. The student activist explains that being a student leader requires one to set aside personal differences with others and work towards the welfare of others.

He further believes that the SRC must always go beyond the mere belief implanted from the top that the student leadership must just be about organising Friday night events, where students get drunk and return to their struggles the next morning, after the alcohol is out of their system.

"It must also be about the actual governance of students and how to help those students thrive, to make sure their priorities are met first before a building or software system is considered," he emphasises.

Over the years, NANSO seems to have changed the way student leaders lead at institutions of higher learning and many are following suit.

"When you are in the SRC, there is often a temptation to think you have arrived. The need to address student issues ends with the joy of being offered coffee in a meeting.

"You get nearly everything that ordinary students do not and when you're the SRC president, there is an even bigger temptation to fall short to the evils of pride. That's what we want to tell the next generation in this book, to stay true to the struggle,' says Kalimbwe.

The outspoken student leader adds that he is happy that people in the next 50 years will be able to read about what students and young people did in 2017. Friends, fellow youth and members of the Unam community are set to attend the book launch next week.

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