Namibia’s Vice President Lauds IMBISA for Including Youth in Ongoing Plenary Assembly

Dr. Nangolo Mbumba, The Vice President of Namibia. Credit: IMBISA

The Vice President of Namibia has commended members of the Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) for including young people in their 13th Plenary Assembly being held in country’s capital city, Windhoek.

In his speech during the opening ceremony of the IMBISA Plenary Assembly on September 23, Dr. Nangolo Mbumba said, “A novelty in this Plenary is that some of the participants are young people themselves.”

Dr. Mbumba added in reference to young people from the nine countries of IMBISA, including Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, “This is commendable; it demonstrates that indeed their voice is vital for the growth of the Church and society.”

Catholic Church leaders in the nine countries in the Southern African region, the Vice President of Namibia said, “intend to listen to the voices of young people in this Plenary Assembly. Also, I hope the youth will attentively listen to the Bishops.”

The 13th Plenary Assembly of IMBISA has brought together over 60 Catholic Bishops and youth representatives under the theme, “Building forward together: reimagining the Church’s engagement with young people in IMBISA region in light of Pope Francis’ Exhortation, Christus Vivit”.


Reflecting on the theme of the IMBISA Plenary Assembly, the Namibian Vice President who was speaking at Safari Court Conference Centre in Windhoek, the venue of the meeting, challenged Catholic Bishops in the Southern African region “not only to consider young people as the future of the Church and society, but also the present.”

“Let the Church devise ways and strategies on how they can involve the young people in crafting a better church and society,” he Dr. Mbumba further said, adding that the envisaged society would be one “where our young people are taught the basic biblical principles of respect to the elders, a society with a very good moral fibre.”

He went on to highlight aspects that would enrich the youth in the Southern African region. He said, “Areas to be considered in particular should include the faith formation of young people, entrepreneurship, employment creation, avoidance of violent extremism, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on young people and gender-based violence.”

Dr. Mbumba continued in reference to the highlighted areas of interest for the youth, “These are critical areas which our young people are faced with at the moment, and I applaud this Plenary Assembly for this brilliant initiative in accommodating the voice of the youth and allowing them the opportunity to find solutions to the challenges they face in the modern world.”

The Vice President of Namibia invited Catholic Church leaders to explore partnerships with the government “in finding solutions to issues which affect our people; such as, gender based violence, youth unemployment, racism, tribalism, drought and climate change, just to mention a few.”

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“I therefore call upon the Church to assist the Government and play its part, as a promoter of unity, harmony and reconciliation,” he added during his September 23 address to delegates of the 13th Plenary Assembly of IMBISA.

He expressed gratitude to the Catholic Church for the long-term “relationship” with the government of the Southwestern African nation, saying, “Our Government’s relationship with all the Christian denominations in Namibia has come a long way during the dark days of our struggle for independence.”

“It is a historic fact that the church was an important partner in Namibia's bitter struggle for independence. We are therefore indeed grateful to the Church’s spiritual and material support during those dark days of the struggle against colonial oppression and apartheid rule,” the Vice President said.

He commended the Catholic Church in Namibia for “its support to the efforts of the government to work for the wellbeing of the people, especially the marginalized communities, the aged, the needy, women and children.”

“In Namibia, the good works of the Roman Catholic Church for the needy and the vulnerable members of our society are clearly seen in its efforts to serve them through the many health care facilities, schools and charity centres, through the arm of the church known as Caritas,” he said, and added, “These efforts are highly commendable and appreciated.”


Dr. Mbumba expressed his “sincere hope that this cooperation between the government and the church will be further enhanced for the betterment of our people.”

Sheila Pires is a veteran radio and television Mozambican journalist based in South Africa. She studied communications at the University of South Africa. She is passionate about writing on the works of the Church through Catholic journalism.