Tuesday 9 March 2021
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Effect on Namibian youths on Nigerian visa rejections

Allow me a few paragraphs in your Column section to raise my serious encounter which has affected me as a Namibian youth. In most cases we as youths are seen as trouble makers, lazy and lacking innovative ways of thinking out of the box to become self-employed or create employment, a connotation I always disagree with.
As my way of trying to disprove this thinking, I have been involving myself in different initiatives on a voluntary basis, to gain capacity knowledge, empower my community, create networking opportunities and address some of the issues that affect our community and country at large.
My perseverance and consistency in what I volunteer for, landed me in a U.S funded program called TechCamp. TechCamp is an initiative that brings different youths from different countries on a three-day practical workshop where we work on solving current issues ranging from elections to health to unemployment etc. through a technological approach or using technology.
I represented Namibia in Zambia in 2017 for TechCamp Lusaka and I was part of TechCamp Windhoek last year.
This year TechCamp organised a YALI TechCamp Reconnect where they brought all fellows of the different TechCamps together to share their experiences, innovations that they came up with and to learn more on how to advance the work that we do and ultimately working on becoming entrepreneurs if not  simply social entrepreneurs. All of these were all-expenses paid training funded by the U.S government.
I was then selected to represent Namibia for the second time out of the country through TechCamp, on an all-expenses paid trip from 27-29 March 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria. This opportunity did not come to fruition at all due to a simple stamp on my passport that I got from the Nigerian High Commission in Windhoek reading “REJECTED”.
All this after having followed all the procedures from applying online, paying for my VISA (which I did not get a refund for), having yellow fever injection, to name but a few. I could not get a reason from the High Commission on the reason for my rejection, all they could tell me was for me to go and find out from our Ministry of International Relations and Co-operation on the reason.
After having inquired from different people and friends, I found out that I am not the only one whose visa was rejected this year and this has been an ongoing situation for a few weeks.
I went to the ministry and all they could tell me was that they are aware of the situation and they are working on setting up a meeting with the high commissioner to discuss the matter.
Imagine how many Namibian people have been applying to go to Nigeria during this period. Imagine how many opportunities are lost in this situation, be it for business opportunities, exchange programs, collaborations etc.
Imagine how many youths (unemployed youths, self-employed youths, entrepreneurial youths) have been affected by this. This now goes to the question of how we are being perceived in this situation. Are we now the trouble maker youths? Lazy youths? Lack of innovative thinking youths?
I missed this opportunity that could have added value to my personal development, self employment or sustainability, a solution to my surrounding or community, because of a reason I still do not know.
There is really a need to have access to transparent information.
There is a need to address certain issues as promptly as possible. As the youth we are the future generation of each country, and if there are no employment opportunities for us within our borders, then please do not close the door or be slow to react for international opportunities that can benefit us or create employment for us.
Let’s build the spirit of UBUNTU, and block every door that is trying to close opportunities for our Namibian youths.

Josaphat Tjiho
Youth Activist. @JoeTjiho

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