Namibia’s youngest elected parliamentarian
28 September 2021 | Skole
Hailing from Okakarara in the Otjozondjupa Region, Inna Koviao-Vetarere Hengari (25) is Namibia’s youngest elected parliamentarian. She currently leads the youth agenda and believes her goal as a young member of Parliament is to represent the youth of the country to the best of her abilities.
Tried and tested leadership
Leadership is nothing new to Hengari as she has filled several leadership positions and is goal-driven. She served as the vice president of the University of Namibia’s (Unam) student representative council (SRC) in 2017. Notably while at university, she wrote political columns and reviews alongside Joseph Kalimbwe in Namibian Sun’s ‘Astute Conversation’.
She is also the first southern African member to be elected as the secretary-general of the Young Democrat Union of Africa, and is the co-founder of the Student Union of Namibia.
Hengari provides assistance at the Lidar Community Foundation in Katutura which houses young teenage mothers and helps them with the necessary skills to make a better life for their children. A teen mother herself, she said the work this foundation does is close to her heart and very dear to her.
She has also recently partnered up with Girl Up Namibia and added she is looking forward to exciting programmes in the pipeline.
Hengari recently raised a motion in Parliament in which she demanded President Hage Geingob to declare a state of emergency on the current youth unemployment crisis the country is facing.
Herding goats in the field alongside her grandfather or taking the cattle to the drinking point, a young Hengari knew that a larger destiny awaited her in the future. The name Inna comes from names given to her by her late grandmother who named her Inaaruke and Inaaviposa. Inaaviposa, loosely translated, means ‘the one who argues’, and came as a result of her always questioning everything and having an opinion about everything during her childhood.
She said her struggles as a child are what inspired her to make a difference in the world. She added that she did not have the best childhood nor the opportunities others had, but had to learn to make things happen for herself.
“So, from a very young age, I understood that nobody owed me anything. However, as I grew and matured and got involved in student bodies at school, I learnt and became passionate about serving and helping others,” she said.
She said her son drives her to do her best constantly.
The biggest challenges Hengari faced were time management and peer pressure, but she said she has learnt that time management is not such a big challenge because as soon as you set your priorities straight, you master time.
“I want the young people of Namibia to always remain true to themselves and their principles. People are seasonal, remain guided by your conscience only. Do not let other people’s experiences affect your outlook on life. Keep moving!” she said.
8 fun facts about Hengari
I eat my rice with a fork
I am a small livestock farmer
No matter what time I sleep, I’m always up at 04:00
I am a car fanatic
I own a TV game (I love SuperMario, it relaxes my mind)
I spend most of my time in my head, revisiting books or pieces I’ve read
I definitely snore like a train!
I’m still in school!