Erongo governor Neville Andre has called on coastal church leaders and their communities to be the ‘father for the fatherless’, especially grooming boys into successful, productive men.
At a meeting at the governor’s office on Wednesday, Andre emphasised the urgency of addressing issues faced by the ‘boy child’ in local communities, describing this as a burning issue that requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders. He noted that many boys in the community are being left to fend for themselves, becoming vulnerable to various social ills such as drug and alcohol abuse, dropping out of school and crime.
“We are leaving the boy child alone and they are taken up by the issues of the world. They are not inspired and they tend to become unsuccessful and also personalities that are disturbing our community and societies,” the governor said, highlighting the need for strong male role models.
The stakeholders discussed how the church, community leaders and law enforcement agencies can collaborate to support boys and young males and equip them to be valuable members of society.
Andre proposed a regular, structured engagement between community organisations, churches and the police. He envisions leaders coming to church services to have conversations for about an hour with congregations, to address and discuss these pressing issues.
“It is also vital that we, as parents, support our children to make sure they have the necessary education and support to deal with the challenges they face in life,” the governor added.
Fabian Langenhoven, of the Coastal Drug Awareness Campaign at Walvis Bay, stressed the importance of the home as the starting point for addressing societal problems.
“The problem actually starts at home,” he said, emphasising the importance of involving religious leaders, as their influence can penetrate family units and thus serve as a catalyst for change.
Tangeni Mujoro of The Blue Project, who is also a concerned mother of a son, said women face unique struggles when raising boys without adequate male role models.
“As a woman, I cannot fulfil a man’s role at a certain place or stage of my son’s life,” she admitted and called for men to contribute time to mentoring the young generation. She is a founder of The Blue Project platform that invites men to engage, mentor and shape boys into responsible men.
Gerald Witbooi of the Young Men’s Christian Association at Walvis Bay stressed the importance of a father’s role in affirming a child’s identity and imparting life skills.
The initiative by the governor comes shortly after a recent police operation at the coast successfully intercepted drugs valued at N$1,5 million. “With the limited resources at their disposal, the police managed to thwart these drugs who were headed to destroy individuals, families, societies and our country,” Andre said.
He handed over a certificate of appreciation to Erongo police commander commissioner Nikolaus Kupembona.