Promising to donate all her fortune (estimated at $ 3 million) to charity at her death, Monica Geingos has made it her mission to change the image of the first African ladies and to fight against sexism and inequality by Namibia, the second most unequal country in the world in terms of the rights of men and women.
Mrs. Geingos married Hage Geingob on Valentine’s Day in 2015, a month before he was sworn in as President of Namibia
After the marriage, the couple voluntarily declared their combined assets of some 110 million Namibian dollars (7.44 million dollars).
“I firmly believe that inheritance is one of the biggest drivers of inequality,” said Monica Geingos, lawyer and former director of Namibia’s first and largest private equity fund, in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“If I tell poor children that they will have a better life if they are well educated, behave well and avoid self-defeating behavior, then this message must surely apply to my children too.” “
With the emerging black elite, about 6% of Namibia’s 2.5 million people are white. They own the majority of businesses and land, left behind by the German and South African colonial regimes.
While first ladies are often portrayed as light-hearted women, materialists or political engineers, Ms. Geingos said that her counterparts are actually doctors, economists and academics “who led very productive lives before become first ladies. ”
President of the One Economy foundation created in 2016, the Namibian first lady plans to leave all of her money to the organization when she dies.
“Of all my accomplishments, it is the title of first lady that I do not really consider, because it is the only title that I did nothing to deserve, that I obtained under marriage. It is, to me, a form of undeserved privilege, but … it changed a lot of my opinions on socio-economic issues in the country, “ she said, adding that it seemed” schizophrenic “to her. to witness both wealth and poverty in his life and his work.
Geingos’ parents were only entitled to basic primary education under Namibia’s racial segregation regime, an injustice which she believed led her to make the most of her life.
Its charity lends money to entrepreneurs, provides scholarships to students, and supports victims of gender-based violence. Its board of directors includes a security guard and a domestic worker.
Geingos offered free legal and psychosocial support to victims of sexual harassment last year, when the Namibian movement #MeToo went viral on social media, with hundreds of women reporting sexual predators.
Namibia ranked 12th out of 153 countries studied in the Global Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap.
But according to Ms. Geingos, sexism remains common in the private sector and in the Namibian media, which hasten to tarnish the image of prominent women like Isabel Dos Santos, the richest woman in Africa recently accused of embezzlement and corruption.
“I’m not saying she’s not guilty. But there is a lack of consistency (in media coverage), “ said Ms. Geingos.
“You will always be charged with everything. But what you can do is spread the information and let people decide for themselves. ”
She denied rumors about her presidential ambitions. “I am very convinced that you don’t have to be a politician to make changes. “