23-year-old Emma Theofilus is Namibia’s youngest Deputy Minister

She has a few things to say about the coronavirus. And to her haters…

Emma Theofilus is Namibia’s youngest Deputy Minister ever. At 23, she’s also the youngest member of parliament. And she has some things to say about the coronavirus.

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Sworn into office last week

Can you imagine being this level of boss at 23? Not only is Emma Theofilus Namibia’s deputy minister, but she is also the youngest in the whole of Southern Africa.

Her appointment means overdue representation for women and young voices in politics (finally). Plus Namibia’s government (like many) is mainly made up of old men. So, it’s a refreshing change.

Africafeeds reports that she has been appointed by President Hage Geingob as deputy information and technology minister. Here’s to Namibia’s new deputy minister, sworn into office last week!


Who is Emma Theofilus?

Before her rise into the political spotlight, she was a legal officer in the Ministry of Justice. Here, she drafted human rights reports and implemented Namibia’s human rights strategy. Casual.

As a law grad and young activist, with a background in human rights issues, we expect great things from this leader. She’s already dived right in by addressing the coronavirus pandemic.

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She addresses the coronavirus pandemic in this informative video clip:

Deputy Minister Emma Theofilus urges us all to keep calm, stay at home and practice social distancing. She adds that when shopping for essentials, we should be one meter apart from each other. As for social gatherings? Avoid them all, including braais at your friend’s house.

‘We can beat the coronavirus only be working together and staying apart,’ says Emma Theofilus.

See the full clip below:

Related: A coronavirus WhatsApp helpline is now available in 5 official SA languages


Here’s what she has to say to the haters

Her appointment caused some criticism from the Namibian old guard. They questioned her competence. Yip, another example of how women (particularly young women) face harsher scrutiny and taller odds than men – in politics and in general.

However, she responded calmly and firmly:

‘I do not think I am special, but I do not think I am inexperienced, and I do not think being young or female has anything to do with my appointment,’ she says. ‘Anything I set myself to and any environment I want to work into, I can do it; so the issue of inexperience does not hold any water,’ she added.

And she didn’t hold back:

‘As a former debater and law graduate, you can expect robust debates in parliament. As long as I have the support and guidance, I do not think I would go wrong. I will bank on the experience I have, but I am also willing to take advice and guidance from those that have been there before me.’

‘I take on the challenge like I have taken other leadership roles. It is uncharted territory and political space but I am ready to take on the challenge,’ she said in a separate interview.

Congratulations, Emma Theofilus!

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