In the early 1990s, I was a pupil at the Peoples Primary School (PPS) in Katutura.
Right behind it was the Multi-Purpose Youth Centre. For some reason I can’t explain, my school mates and I were drawn to that centre.
I remember thinking how cool it was to go there as each room featured an artistic image that represented the class being offered.
The centre offered a variety of programmes designed to keep us occupied, and the classes were free.
I vividly recall the music and dance classes, computer classes, sports classes, and the drama acting classes.
On top of that, we had volunteer coaches – both local and international – who assisted us.
The centre was a place that allowed young people like me to not only imagine but it also stimulated our minds to a world of learning opportunities outside the school curriculum.
Katutura’s Multi-Purpose Youth Centre was our afternoon go-to place. It kept us busy. I’m a proud product of the centre.
This year I was fortunate to travel to various regions as part of my current job.
I was surprised to discover that each region I visited has a multi-purpose youth centre, which is overseen by the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service.
I took a look at the type of programmes provided and, lo and behold, they still offer the same classes.
Also to my surprise, the buildings had adequate space and provided a conducive learning environment.
In some cases, sections of some buildings needed some renovations but were still available for use.
The emptiness of these structures surprised me. There were very few youths, which made me wonder if today’s youth are aware of these buildings and their programmes.
Based on my observations and a conversation with a security guard at one site, there is little interest among the youth.
He also felt that as a result, administrative care had dwindled.
The purpose of multipurpose youth centres is multifaceted and can play an important role in addressing various needs of our youth.
They serve as safe havens where young individuals can engage in a wide range of activities, receive support and build essential life skills.
Activities such as sport, dance, and fitness classes not only keep young people active, but teach them valuable lessons about teamwork and discipline. These centres also promote civic engagement and community involvement, helping young individuals become responsible citizens.
Challenges and uncertainties are rife in Namibia, and multipurpose youth centres should be a beacon of hope, a push in providing essential support and resources that can help our youth thrive and build a brighter future.
The Keetmanshoop centre had a notice saying: “Please join the following youth clubs at our centre: Youth against crime, poetry club, the book club, gardening project, the dream team, environment club, young women’s alliance club and young political minds club.’
I left wondering how we get the youth to take advantage of these opportunities? How do we spark their interest?
MAKING THE CONNECTION
We frequently hear young people say they are bored.
As much as these facilities exist for the community’s youth, do parents know about them and encourage the youth to participate?
Perhaps an awareness within the community will help them inspire their children to attend.
Interestingly, these centres are built next to schools, which is fantastic, but there appears to be a disconnect between pupils and the community regarding their purpose.
I strongly advise schools to promote and encourage affiliation.
- Popyeni Kaxuxwena is the author of ‘Let’s Work’, growing beyond a job description. He’s a keynote speaker on work ethics and a training facilitator. Email: email@example.com
Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –