WINDHOEK- She is the Namibia National Student Organisation (Nanso)'s first-ever female president since the inception of the student-led organisation. She is the president of the African Union Youth Club in Namibia.
Her name is Ester Shekupe Simon. Born in the coastal town of Swakopmund in a big family, growing up was not laid-back. "I was raised by my parents, in a family of seven. Growing up for us wasn't a luxury of getting all we wanted but getting what we needed. My parents taught both my siblings and I to appreciate the little we had and to live within our means, therefore I wouldn't say I had an easy nor tough life growing up," said Simon.
Commonly, the family was all depended on Simon's father who was the only one with a source of income.
"There were days which weren't so easy to get by," reminisced Simon. Situations got tougher when her father passed away but what she will take forever with her is the morals that she was raised with by her father. "My father taught me to be respectful, especially towards the elders, to be independent, firm and steadfast to what I believe in," said Simon.
Fast forward to years later, she is now a student activist. "I was class captain since Grade 1 to Grade 7. Literally, my whole primary school life. But on a broader aspect, I joined student activism back in 2010 when I helped revive the Nanso branch at my high school (Swakopmund Secondary School) after serving at the branch at school," recalled Simon.
Being a student activist, according to her, has always been about bringing and imparting positive changes in the lives of others. "I am very outspoken and wanted to use my voice to speak out for the voiceless," said Simon.
Simon was recently appointed as a youth representative on the high-level panel on Namibian economy by President Hage Geingob. "The agenda for the panel has been set by the Presidency in the Terms of Reference. No single panelist have singled out work roles of the High-Level Plan Economy (HLPE)," said Simon. "We will plan a collective approach and tackle it in a way that would lead to a meaningful revival of the economy," she explained.
The activist is excited about her new role. "I am humbled and privileged to be of service to the nation and complement efforts of many other people and institutions to revive our economy. I will have continuous engagements with the youth in order to reflect their views and opinions." She, in the same breath, had some advice for the youth of Namibia.
"The youth should never lose hope. They must remain resilient in the face of difficulties; they should stay devoted despite the challenges they are faced with," advised Simon. She said success belongs to the brave and not to the faint-hearted.
"Those that have an opportunity to study must grab it with both hands and those that have an opportunity to engage in other activities such as entrepreneurship should equally do so," she said.
"I have so much advice to the youth that I can write a book. I believe with hard work and dedication, the environment is still favourable for the youth to realise their dreams," she concluded.