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    Madam Monica Geingos' Live Interview

    Madam Monica Geingos, the Namibian First Lady, speaks at The Concordia Annual Summit at Grand Hyatt New York on 18 September 2017. The photo from a separate event by Leigh Vogel. 
    In September 2016, Madame Geingos was appointed UNAIDS special Advocate for Young Women and Adolescent Girls. In this new responsibility, Madame Geingos will champion the Start Free Stay Free AIDS-Free Campaign, a global framework for ending AIDS among children, adolescents and young women by 2020.

    In November 2016, she launched the #BeFree Movement which is an implementation of her role as UNAIDS Special Advocate. #BeFree concerns itself with the challenges holding young people back from reaching their potential and seeks to create awareness about issues affecting them while addressing systemic issues that limit their ability to access information or services. In addition to this, Madame Geingos has also launched a Stay in School Initiative which encourages Secondary School learners to focus on moving obstacles that prevent them from completing school.

    Namibia's First Lady Mrs.Geingos sat down with Africa Journal Editor Serena Chaudhry during the annual Concordia Africa Initiative in London, United Kingdom.  
    Namibia’s first lady sat down with Africa Journal Editor Serena Chaudhry during the Concordia Africa Initiative in London, the UK to talk about leadership and the continent’s large youth demographic.

    Q&A With Namibia’S Monica Geingos below is an outcome of the interview in writings as follow: 

    Q: Is Africa rising or falling?


    “I really subscribe to the ‘Africa we want’ narrative that’s being set by the African Union because I think that is a narrative that really says that Africa remains a continent of great opportunity. It must be us as Africans saying to each other that we can better how much we trade amongst one another, we can better a lot of the things that we do as Africans.”

    Q: What needs to be done to unlock the continent’s potential?


     “It’s the youth who are going to unlock their potential because they don’t really ask politely when it comes to demanding what they think needs to change. The change is happening but it’s not happening fast enough, and we’ve got a growing demographic that is increasingly at odds with the pace at which the change is happening and I think that they’ll agitate for a faster pace.”

    Q: Is it time for a broad change of leadership in Africa?


    “We like to focus on the perceived failures of African leadership which is a bit of a misnomer because when you look at leadership there’s a very great example at the moment in the Western world where you have a president who doesn’t seem so bright. So I don’t think he’s the best leader in the world but as a consequence, we don’t say the entire government is terrible. We allow him to take accountability for his individual failings. Whereas in Africa we say all the leaders are terrible and therefore the continent will never succeed and I don’t really agree with that.”

    Q: What is it like being First Lady of Namibia?


    “I think when you speak as a First Lady, the person you are speaking to doesn’t really hear you. Because they’ve got all the stuff in their minds that they’re processing as you speak of what is she wearing, how does her makeup look? What does she actually know? What are her actual qualifications? What did she do before the first lady? So you need to kind of before you get heard, you need to help them break through their own misconceptions of what the African first lady is, what she represents.”

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