- Monica Geingos said she is on a mission to change the image of African first ladies and tackle sexism and inequality
- The 43-year-old lawyer said that inheritance was the biggest driver of inequality
- She runs a charity that lends money to entrepreneurs, gives grants to students and supports victims of gender-based violence
- The charity's board members include a security guard and a domestic worker
- Monica married her husband in 2015 - a month before he was sworn in as president of Namibia
- The couple then voluntarily declared their combined assets of some R104 million
Namibia's First Lady Monica Geingos is on a mission to change the image of African first ladies and tackle sexism by pledging to give away all her wealth.
Monica promised to give away her wealth estimated at R44 million to charity when she dies.
The 43-year-old lawyer and former head of Namibia’s first and largest private equity fund told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview that inheritance is the biggest driver of inequality.
“If I am telling poor children that they must be well educated, have the right attitude, and they must stay away from self-destructive behaviour and they will be fine, then surely that message should apply to my kids too?”
While presidents’ wives are often portrayed as promiscuous, materialistic or political meddlers, Monica's contemporaries are in reality doctors, economists and academics
She threw her weight as the first lady behind the One Economy Foundation, which she founded in 2016, and plans to leave all her money to it when she dies.
“Of all my achievements, the title of first lady resonates the least with me because it is the one title that I have really done nothing to deserve, that I got by virtue of marriage,” said Monica
“It is, to me, a form of unearned privilege but...it has changed a lot of my views on socio-economic issues in the country," she added.
Her charity lends money to entrepreneurs, gives grants to students and supports victims of gender-based violence with its board members including a security guard and a domestic worker.
She offered free legal and psychosocial support to victims of sexual harassment in 2019 when Namibia’s own #MeToo movement with women naming and shaming sexual predators.
Monica married her husband, Hage Geingob, on Valentine’s Day in 2015 - a month before he was sworn in as president of the southern African desert nation.
The couple then voluntarily declared their combined assets of some R104 million a move in a continent where politicians grab headlines over unexplained riches.
Her and her veteran politician husband, who is about 30 years her senior, both have children from previous marriages.
Monica faced criticism in 2019 the fishrot scandal involving allegations that two ministers received kickbacks from an Icelandic fishing company in exchange for fishing quotas.
Enjoyed reading our story? Download BRIEFLY's news app on Google Play now and stay up-to-date with major South African news!