Being Jobless And Uneducated In The Kunene Region

04 Jul 2015 11:50am
By Etuna Shikalepo

OPUWO, 04 JUL (NAMPA) - Twenty-five year old Kaupurua Tjivena, a Grade 9 drop-out, has her sights firmly set on joining the Namibian Defence Force (NDF). Not only will joining the NDF be a fulfilment of a long standing dream, but the money that comes with it will go a long way in putting food on her table.
Kaupurua, despite lacking the minimum requirements for entry as a trainee cadet in the NDF, believes that all it takes to be a good soldier is the will and fitness ability to do the job.
After getting out of bed at her Opuwo home, Kaupurua set out for the Kunene Regional Governor's office to submit her completed application form.
The vacancies were advertised in local newspapers by the Ministry of Defence a week earlier and she was running out of time before the cut-off date.
Her application is accompanied by the copies of her national identification card, Grade 9 certificate and recommendation letter from the Otjikaoko Traditional Authority.
The letter indicated that Tjivena is a well-known resident of Nukongo village in the Kunene Region and she is unemployed.
“It is my sincere hope that her application for employment will be considered on the basis of her being a member of the previously disadvantage groups,” reads Tjivena’s recommendation letter from the traditional authority.
According to the Ministry of Defence’s advertisement, applicants are required to have Grade 10 and Grade 12 with a minimum of 25 points and an E symbol in English; no criminal records; and must be between the age of 18 and 25 before 30 June 2015.
“I am very young, able and fit to be a soldier. I am unemployed and I want to have a salary at the end of the month,” Kaupurua said in an interview with Nampa while joining the queue of over 20 young people to submit her application.
Kaupurua is a member of the formerly marginalised community of Ovahimba of North-western Namibia. She started primary school at the age of 13 due to the remote location of her home village of Nukongo from Opuwo, the Kunene Region's main economic centre.
She was fortunate to have an aunt in Opuwo, who took her to Alpha Combined School about 20 kilometres outside the town. Kaupurua however only went to school until Grade 9, as she was forced to drop out because of financial difficulties.
Kaupurua, who has been unemployed for the past three years now, has experienced the hardships of being unemployed first hand. As she puts it, nothing in life comes easy without money.
Also queueing was the 31-year-old Rukongo Matuikuine, who believes that his Grade 10 certificate will help him to get any job in the public sector.
“I am applying for NDF to get a job and fight poverty and unemployment in Opuwo,” he says, explaining that most people in Kunene are unemployed.
“We are poor people. No job, no money, but everything in this region we have to pay for. We mostly depend on tourists by begging for money and most women sell Himba products to tourists and other local visitors,” Matuikuine elaborated.
Meanwhile, a 39-year-old man, father of three Jaruree Tjiuonga described his living conditions as “tough and unbearable”.
“I am not ashamed. My whole family is poor and not educated. I am the only one with a Grade 12 certificate and this is not impressive at all,” he stated.
He completed his secondary education at Immanuel Shifidi Secondary School in Windhoek and considers himself fortunate.
Tjiuonga, who hails from Tjiongombe village in the Opuwo District, feels that there is a huge need for the establishment of vocational and other training centres to cater for young school dropouts.
He says young girls fall victim to teenage pregnancy while boys are more bound to become criminals after Grade 10 and Grade 12, due to the absence of vocational centres.
“We don’t want to go out of the region to look for further education or employment. We want to develop our region. We want vocational training centres in Opuwo,” he explained.
Tjuonga currently survived by fixing people’s cars with the little experience he gained at Okakarara in the Otjozondjupa Region, where he stayed for a year.
He too applied for a training opportunity with the NDF.
“We are living in poverty. Most people do not understand the importance of education. No development is coming to our region,” he said before calling on President Hage Geingob to visit the town and listen to the youths’ problems.
According to the Namibia Labour Force Survey 2014 report, Namibia has an unemployment rate of 28.1 per cent, a slight decrease from the unemployment rate of 2013, which was 29.6 per cent.
It also indicated that 9 261 people which represents 40.1 per cent between the age of 15 and 34 in the Kunene Region are unemployed. The region also has the highest school dropout rate of three per cent in the country.
It is reported that about 50 per cent of children over 15 years have never been to school in the region. Since the introduction of free primary education in 2013, more children are however attending school in the region. Kunene has over 10 mobile schools to cater for remotely located villages.