Young people from indigenous minorities have the potential to occupy leadership positions in the public and private sectors.
This is according to the Deputy Minister of Marginalised Affairs, Royal ǀUiǀoǀoo who urged them to fight for their rights.
ǀUiǀoǀoo was addressing more than 140 young people who gathered at Swakopmund for the first-ever national conference, for youth from indigenous minorities.
He revealed that 68% of that population lives in poverty, while 77% are unemployed.
To change the status quo, ǀUiǀoǀoo says marginalised minorities need to first recognise that they are the owners and custodians of the richest natural resources.
"Promote your language and culture, yes. It is therefore crucial that the upcoming youth leadership advocate for national policies that aim to protect the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of indigenous communities. They know that they are not indigenous, but yes, because we want to work with them, let's just say yes, okay, we are indigenous, but we are moving away from that to say that with respect, indigenous minorities, please also respect us because we want to accommodate you and we don't want to argue with you. I want my tribe's women and men to be directors and also ministers. Why not? The country is ours, and we promote one Namibia, one nation."
Ombudsman Basilius Dyakugha informed the youth from the minority groups that nothing is impossible if a person is focused.
"This gathering presents a golden opportunity to you as delegates to champion your future and your chance to have equal opportunity, to have a say, and to play a significant role in the social, economic, and political space. Remember, the people in this country are asking a question. Who is marginalising you or your communities? Because education in this country is free from primary school to secondary school, everyone is welcome to go and get an education. The blame game is not a good game. I want to advise you to stop complaining and to start living your life."
The Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth, and National Service, Emma Kantema-Gaomas, highlighted the government's achievements towards the inclusion of minorities.
"Another demonstration of the government's commitment to ensuring that no one feels left out in this Namibian House is indeed the nomination and appointment of youth from marginalised persons into various bodies and organisations, particularly at this point I want to refer to the National Youth Council So, honourable Deputy Minister, we don't just pay lip service to inclusion; we ensure that these people are on the table."
The historic conference, which elected youth from indigenous minorities who would serve on a national organisation, focused on promoting the rights of minorities.