Kids Shuttle Services – a passion for safety and convenience

For any parent with school or creche-going children, coordinating their daily itinerary along with their own can be a nightmare, so when Kids Shuttle Services was founded in 2016, it came much to the relief of many Windhoek parents. Before Kids Shuttle Services, Sethunya Sedimo, a single mother of two found herself exhausted before she even stepped into the office, and late at that. And the afternoons offered little reprieve.

“I would use my lunchtime running out of the office and then enduring the long lunchtime traffic to pick up my son, drop him off for his afternoon classes and then head back to the office. When I would get there, it would be past two o’clock,” she says. For Sethunya discovering Kids Shuttle Services was like discovering unicorns exist. Kids Shuttle Services, which was founded in March 2016 is a transport service tailored to children. There was a need for a service that catered specifically to children because unlike other taxi services that offer transport services, it was trust and dependability that would make Kids Shuttle Services unique.

“Parents are worried for the safety of their children, especially recently. We are glad that we were the first because now, Kids Shuttle Services is not just a business, but it has the parents’ trust. They shared their success stories and that helped us grow. Because of things that have happened, in 2018 parents are not leaving their kids with just anyone. We take it as a social responsibility to the community as parents can do their work without worrying about their kids’ safety,” Kids Shuttle Service admin officer Liezel Meyer tells TF.

Safety is our number one priority. Besides uncompromising seatbelt and road safety rules, background checks are done before hiring drivers and to ensure they don’t have a criminal record. Daily schedules and routes are also meticulously mapped out to get the most out of each trip. Before funds and resources were commit to Kids Shuttle Services, the idea was tested out for a week, transporting kids to and from school. Before the week was up, desperate parents like Sethunya, needing transport services for their kids were calling in daily to book a spot.

Kids Shuttle Services started with two vehicles, a 6-seater Toyota Sienta and a Sedan and closed off 2016 transporting 18 kids and hired two drivers. In two years, that number has more than tripled. Currently, Kids Shuttle Services transports 65 kids and hires five, including four drivers and an admin officer. “We are grateful to Standard Bank because they saw potential in what we do and with a loan from them we bought two more vehicles and office space. We moved onto seven seaters and a Quantam as they are bigger vehicles and we are able to optimise them to carry more kids,” Meyer says.

It has been two years since Sethunya has forfeited her lunch break to drop her kids at home or at their next after school appointment. In fact, lunch naps are now a thing she enjoys. Kids Shuttle Services transports kids from schools in Pioonerspark, Otjomuise, Khomasdal, Cimbabacia, Rocky Crest, Ludwigsdorf, Eros, Kleinne Kuppe, Elisenheim and the list continues to grow. As the final semesters for 2018 get underway, there are already plans to add more vehicles and drivers in 2019.


The passion of a village pharmacist

Growing up in Onayena village in the Oshikoto region watching elders handle primary health issues with a level of proficiency that eludes modern science, Tangeni Angula is the most down-to-earth and unfiltered political spouse Namibia has ever produced.

In fact, it was only after sitting down with her that TF discovers that she is the wife of one of Namibia’s most prominent political personalities, Nahas Angula and has for over four decades played her role in his life much more subdued. When she got a flu, her parents didn’t scramble to rush her to the closest hospital. They knew exactly what to do. They treated minor ailments with natural herbs found in the local surroundings.

Eye infections were treated with aloe juice, food poisoning with “etanguthi” (Kleinia longiflora), coughs and common flu with “omulimbalimba” (Aptosimum procumbens) and she wondered how they knew what was in those plants, and this curiosity unknowingly sparked a flame in her for the love of health and medicine. So, during the liberation struggle, she had spent 18 months teaching at the Namibian Education Centre outside Lusaka and when
she was presented with an opportunity to study in the UK, she chose Pharmacy. She chose this field as a career expecting to contribute to the availability of medicines, especially those from natural resources, just like she had learned at home.

Today, Angula is the Managing Pharmacist of Beulah Pharmacy following further studies in the USA where she obtained a B. Sc. Degree in pharmacy as well as M. Sc. in industrial pharmacy. Beulah Pharmacy was registered with the Pharmacy Council in December 2011 and was fully operational from March 2012.It started as a community pharmacy serving patients in Windhoek, but mostly, those being treated at Windhoek Emergency Care and Trauma Centre (WECTC) and the surrounding communities.

Beulah Pharmacy distributes doctors’ prescription medicines to patients as well as pharmacist-initiated treatments. They do blood pressure and glucose monitoring, as well as providing family planning advice. They also do counselling for those with specific problems, referring them to general medical practitioners as need arises.

Her dream about pharmacy was that of impacting availability of medicines through participation in research and developmental activities (R&D). “After my pharmacy internship at various institutions of the Ministry of Health in Zambia, including a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, I came to realise that R&D in this field was a high cost activity that required collaboration at high levels in terms of availability of human, capital as well as other resources. On the other hand, ‘the need for medicine now’ is to always address the urgent health problems. Besides, with the size of our population and availability of ready packaged medicines, extensive local manufacturing of medicine and R&D thereof could only become a reality if addressed through regional collaboration,” she narrates.

At the beginning, it was quite difficult to assess the needs of her patients. However, as the time passed and disease profiles were fairly known, it became a matter of forecasting what to buy and when to have it available. In all this, in learning the balance of her love of medicine and curing ailments and the challenges of business, she has struck a perfect balance. “Consistency is relatively easy to maintain in a well-regulated profession like this of pharmacy.
However, at the moment the entire health regulatory environment in the country experiences a vacuum, caused by absence of health professions councils. This is a potentially dangerous situation since it could cause careless and unqualified persons to practice where they are not supposed to – since there is no legal body that has the authority to regulate them,” Angula says.

She employs three currently, a pharmacist and two front shop assistants. She sees Beulah Pharmacy as a place that will play an important training role in addition to rendering community pharmaceutical services. She already trains students from the UNAM School of Pharmacy who wish to gain experience
before they graduate as she believes there is a challenge of a shortage of pharmacists.

Angula remains linked to her roots. She starts off her day with a prayer for dedication of her patients and staff to God’s protection and provision. “Without this routine, I do not know how I would have escaped the financial challenges that have continued to threaten viability of private health care providers in the whole country,” she says.

Cover Stories

Heikky S. Katti’s ceramic perspective

Perspective. It is perhaps the one thing that gives eagles an evolutionary advantage over their prey. Besides their ferocious talons and superior flight, an eagle’s vision is up to eight times stronger than that of an average human being permitting it to see over three kilometers away.

An eagle’s viewpoint is the key factor that has allowed it to be crowned the king of the skies and it is upon this philosophical rock that Heikky S. Katti has built his house, Namibia Ceramics through his holding company Punto De Vue Holdings (an Italian translation for Viewpoint).

Namibia Ceramics is a manufacturing initiative that Katti conceived in early 2016 to setup the first ever ceramic plant in Namibia. After construction begins later this year [2018], this will see Namibia being able to produce ceramic products such as floor and wall tiles from locally available industrial minerals such as clay and feldspar. According to the quantity surveyor’s estimates the project will cost N$185m once complete, generating N$90m annually and creating at least 150 permanent jobs along the whole value chain which includes mining, processing, logistics, marketing, and sales.

The project was initially planned for Rundu but upon doing a thorough due diligence on the quality and locality of raw materials, production plans have since moved to Tsumeb. “It’s a big vision for the country that we have been developing through my company Punto De Vue Holdings together with the Development Bank of Namibia and our equity partner, Konigstein Capital, and our Italian technical partner and equipment supplier, SACMI, to bring it to full bankability,” shares Katti.

Frustrated by the reality that Namibia currently imports 100% of its ceramic tile, which swells to 2.2 million square metres annually, Katti saw a gap in the market and was compelled by foresight to enlist the help of his childhood friend, Titus Hidishange. Together they saved up more than N$300,000 from their own salaries over a two-year period for the project. All this at age 28. These funds were used for Environmental Impact Assessments, for the design of the building of the plant and a 2016 business trip to SACMI in Italy. Namibia Ceramics will source equipment from SACMI and they will give them after-sales technical support, including training on site at Tsumeb and in Italy.

In November last year, Namibia Ceramic won the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) 2017 Innovation Award that came with N$500,000. “Namibia Ceramics will add value to Namibian clay, quartz and feldspar, by manufacturing tiles, locally. In addition to import substitution and improved product availability with a reduced transport cost,” said a DBN spokesperson, last year. The N$500,000 prize assisted in ticking off several boxes which Katti and his team initially could not afford to do out of their own pockets. For example, immediately after winning the award, they decided together with DBN to re-run the quality tests on the raw materials with a more
reputable lab.

They were able to carry out this exercise through SACMI’s laboratory in Italy within a short period of time because the funds were available. “There are so many hidden costs in preparing projects of this magnitude such as hiring of equipment and manpower to collect samples from the field, and also transport and accommodation cost. The award also gave Namibia Ceramics identity and credibility as a brand and for that reason we were able to do things much faster because people were now interested in hearing our story. We have since been allocated industrial land (5000 m2) by the Tsumeb Municipality on a very good price. We have also managed to source a factory manager from an existing ceramic plant in South Africa. We flew him in a few weeks back to come and view the town of Tsumeb and he is willing to relocate to Namibia to come manage the plant for us,” Katti says.

Just recently, DBN commissioned an independent study of the market to re-affirm Namibia Ceramic’s assumptions and also to establish whether there is a market gap in the neighbouring countries for export purposes. With these milestones, Katti and his Namibia Ceramic team have not rested on their laurels. In fact, their viewpoint has only sharpened. “Our focus has really been on preparing the project to full bankability in order for the investors to release the funds so that we can start with construction. We thought this would happen earlier during the year but we have since learned that there were still a few key areas that needed to be addressed. I have confidence however that before end of this year we will be able to start with construction,” says Katti.

A Mining Engineer by profession, he graduated in 2011 as a Namdeb Bursar at University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. After graduation, he worked at Namdeb Diamond Corporation as a Trainee Mining Engineer. This was a three-year training program where, along with other fellow graduates he underwent training and tests that evaluated whether they had the necessary leadership skills to perform in the corporate world. Currently he is an Explosives Engineer for Sasol’s Namibian branch.

Sasol is an integrated energy and chemical company based in Sandton, South Africa. The company was formed in 1950 in Sasolburg, South Africa and built on processes that were first developed by German chemists and engineers in the early 1900s. “The biggest challenge for me has really been having to balance my energy between business and my 8 – 5 job. But I’m so grateful that my employer, Sasol, and specifically my manager Mr Tobie Van Der Linde, saw so much potential in me and chose to support my vision in terms of time
and resources. There was even a point last year when I ran out of leave days because of business meetings but my manager still allowed me to attend meetings provided that my job at the mine is in order. This is what you get when you have patriotic people working together,” he says.

Patriotism, faith and the audacity to be different have been Katti’s recipe to success. He believes a businessman or businesswoman needs to be able to take calculated risks even beyond that, a morsel of faith to leap into the unknown. Namibia Ceramics also fits in very well with the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap (2015 – 2063), which highlights the urgent need for the region to leverage its abundant and diverse resources to accelerate industrialization through beneficiation and value addition (manufacturing).

His hope is that this project will inspire more young people to come forth in the spirit of patriotism and help develop the country with the knowledge that they have acquired from school and not just become mere job seekers. “Dare to be different, do not be afraid to be controversial like the billionaire and US President Donald Trump. If you are to achieve something extraordinary in this world you need to embrace your uniqueness, do not kill your purpose by trying to fit in when God has already set you apart, do not conform!” he maintains.

Women In Business

With passion comes sacrifice!

In contrast to Grace Mugaviri, a veteran in her profession, TF caught up with Tjitja Harases who, two months ago, took steps towards independence by opening her own firm, Tjitja Harases Inc.

The biggest inspiration for this was the desire to be financially independent and to do so before the age of thirty and thus she provided all the capital for the business from her pocket owing to personal sacrifices. “As a result of my move, I had to sell most of my personal belongings. My promise to myself was to avoid debt at all costs. All the support from my family has made the transition much easier,” she says.

Many of us have difficulty parting with our television sets or mobile devices even just to go out for a jog, Harases’ sacrifice was doubly risky when she moved to a new town, Otjiwarongo, to set up her practice. And daily she navigates the challenges of making her influence felt in a male dominated industry. “The main challenge is creating awareness. Being that I am both new to Otjiwarongo and with a new firm, I must create awareness of the available services. Men have the ease of networking – those channels are not accessible for women. Things like a hunting weekend are just not platforms for business
that I have seen/heard my female colleagues be privy to. Also, there is a general perception that results are achieved by men wo aren’t afraid to take on different clients. I have seen female lawyers do justice to so many criminal matters that are commonly dealt with by our male counterparts,” she says.

Harases further notes that several of the female Lawyers across Namibia have formed a sisterhood known as the Namibia women Lawyers Association (NWLA), which provides a forum to mingle and at times, refer work.

The NWLA was founded in 2015 and was born out of an extensive survey conducted amongst the female lawyers regarding the status and needs of women in the legal fraternity in Namibia. The survey showed that there was a vacuum and that women in the profession needed support and guidance in pursing their careers in the legal sphere. “I have been so lucky to have received instructions from fellow female Lawyers. Together with the NWLA, we aim to identify and assist various cases in and around the Otjiwarongo area pro bono.”

She is a proud UNAM graduate, having obtained her LLB (Hons) in 2012 and thereafter completed her Justice Training Centre (JTC) during 2013. She was admitted as a Legal Practitioner in the High Court of Namibia in October 2014. Most recently, she received her Right of Audience in the Supreme Court of Namibia 22nd August 2018. Upon graduation, Harases did not specialise in a particular branch of law per se and as such practices all aspects of Law.

She is involved in labour disputes, conciliation and arbitration of matters; civil litigation i.e. debt collection, divorce, etc; drafting of contracts and criminal litigation. She starts each morning by reading emails and incoming correspondences just to make sure that anything urgent has her attention. “Court appearances are usually at 9 am daily, hence I prefer to schedule consultations in the afternoons. Owing to the various courts in the region and strategic location of my office, I tend to travel every Tuesday to attend to obligations in neighbouring towns. My work day generally ends at 5pm but I am available to attend to urgent matters after hours or on weekends. Most recently we had an arrest and bail matter that kept me at the station until 12am,” she says.

Outside of the courtroom, Harases is a self-confessed homebody that loves to spend time with family, her three god-children, nephews & nieces. She is an avid Sudoku enthusiast and has dabbled in a few local running events. During 2017, she participated in the Two Oceans 5km race and aims to tackle the Half marathon (21kms) in 2019.

She cautions young female lawyers who want to join her in the world of entrepreneurial law to guard their brand. “This business places high value on goodwill. A great work ethic, good client relations, respect to colleagues & success at Court all impact how people perceive you. You are your brand! Moreover, I believe in setting goals for yourself. Five and ten-year plans are a great start! ln the not so distant future, I would like to join the bench as a Judge. That’s why I need to start laying the groundwork to God willingly reach that goal.”


Perfecting the business of film

The Namibian film industry has been steadily growing in quality and numbers over the last few years. Katutura, which garnered some international attention and popular series The Third Will attest to this. Carving out your own creative space within the local film industry has become necessarily inevitable. One such space has seen Inna Goroh rise to be one of Namibia’s leading directors. Besides working on some short films, some of the most popular music videos for artists like Sally, Jericho, Dice and Famaz Attack, Goroh has directed video adverts for Standard Bank Namibia, Bank Windhoek, Air Namibia, MTC and TN Mobile under his production house Inchiology Studios, which he founded in 2008.

“I directed Standard Bank Namibia’s largest Ad to date – Q2 Loans, which I did when I was 26. It’s probably still the project I am most proud of. The advert aged decently. Once of the more recent larger scale projects we’ve worked on was Polana in the House, a show that air last year,” he tells TF.

Polana in the House was a 2017 cooking show hosted by chef Jona Levi and Hermien Elago that set out to showcase creating succulent meals using Pasta Polana products and whatever ingredients they could find in the kitchens of whoever’s home they happened to be shooting in that episode. The result was a great show, some Pasta Polana promotion and instigating ravening appetites for viewers. A successful business in Inchiology Studios is the by-product of a passion for excellence in film that Goroh has fostered since he was a teenager. Son of local pastor of Jesus Center, Haruna Goroh, he got a head start fidgeting with church cameras and equipment to help perfect his art.

He completed his studies in Computer Generated Imagery for Commercials and Film at Savannah College of Art and Design in the U.S.A. His earliest work was a Visual effects (VFX) artist before he moved on to directing. But the beginning was not all rosy. “I started on a less than suitable laptop, putting in long hours. Over time you make the necessary purchases. You gauge the company’s financial standing and take the leap to employ under the supposition that the growth in number will increase amount of work we are able to take on as well as increase quality. Same with equipment – The equipment should be able to pay itself off from the additional work it is able to generate.”

But if you asked him, he’d much rather be up at 5am shooting a short film or storyboarding an advert than sitting in an office trying to balance the books.

“Switching sides of the brain isn’t always easy to do. So, I try to leave the numbers side to the qualified. When a creative is in the heat of creating, it can be difficult to be objective when it comes to the number so it helps to have someone objective at all times. This doesn’t mean I disregard the numbers, I just prefer to have someone who is completely focused on that aspect.”

Inchiology Studios employs seven in various roles and each project is tackled according to its own unique needs. There isn’t exactly a how-to-do manuscript and Goroh had to learn with each project. Generally, they start with a brief (what the client wants) before Inchiology can determining whether it is a project they are able or want to execute. Next, they provide a costing which might be accompanied by a Director’s treatment (depending on the project). The client approves or disapproves. If they approve, production commences, involving the client at every phase; this helps to ensure they are satisfied with the direction the project is taking as well as to keep them updated on progress made. Once the project is completed to the satisfaction of the client, a final file/ video/executable is provided on the medium of their choice.

A devout Christian, evident by his adherence to his father’s teachings, Goroh sees each project as his contribution to Christian excellence. In fact, he starts each day with a prayer before dawn, followed by a trip to the gym. A fairly recent hobby, fitness has become a means to maintaining discipline and growth. Fitness allows Goroh to see the results of applied determination and consistency. He is able to experience muscles do what they could not a week prior. He has applied this philosophy to his art and uses it as a measure for growth. “Are you always learning something new? Are you consistently building on skill and disciplines acquired? Are you surrounded by people better than you? If yes, then it’s highly likely you are growing. I measure my growth by the goals I have set for myself. I have listed the key areas I would like to grow in, having long term and short-term targets. I check in with these regularly to see how far I have come and how far I still have to go,” he says.

Inspired by Blur Studio and 2016’s Deapool director, Tim Miller and Andrew Kramer (founder of Video Co-Pilot), Goroh’s ability to produce music, play drums and photographic skills atop his talent as a director are perhaps an indication of his eclectic upbringing. “I was born in Nigeria, raised in Namibia, attended tertiary in America, married to a South African, Irish Goroh. My wife is a clinical researcher/ film producer/model and mother to my son. My family is my bedrock.”

Women In Business

Grace Mugaviri – Seizing opportunities

Opportunity is the great fertile ground upon which passion and dedication can bloom, Oshakati based attorney, Grace Mugaviri knows this all too well. From watching courtroom dramas and reading detective novels as a teenager, she had always dreamed of becoming a lawyer, but it was after discovering the construction of the High Court in Oshakati was on the government agenda that she believed establishing her legal firm in the north would not only yield positive results but would enhance her legal profession and aspirations.

Today, under the leadership of one of the first female lawyers to own her own practice in that part of the country, Mugaviri Attorneys is going onto nine years of establishment. After completing her B Juris and LLB Degrees in 2005 and 2007 respectively, Mugaviri worked at Metcalf Legal Practitioners in Windhoek whilst attending her articles at the Justice Training Center which she completed in 2008 and subsequently was admitted as a Legal Practitioner of the High Court of Namibia on 25 April 2008.

In the same year, she was transferred to the Metcalfe Legal Practitioners office in Walvis Bay as a professional assistant until May 2009 when she joined Kishi Legal Practitioners (Oshakati). With this valuable experience in the two legal firms under her belt, she then decided to open her own practice Mugaviri Attorneys in Oshakati in May 2010. “Whilst I knew that the establishment of my legal firm was a challenge I never looked back. Apart from the fact that there were five legal firms operating in the northern part of Namibia I saw a niche especially given that many law firms were concentrated in major towns like Windhoek and the coastal towns,” she tells TF.

With a focus on criminal litigation, civil litigation, contractual and commercial law, customs and excise law, land disputes and debt collection, Mugaviri has become one of the most recognisable names in law practice in the north. With the growth of Mugaviri Attorneys over the years, she realised that she would not be able to practice all aspects of the law herself and in turn engaged the services of two candidate legal practitioners, namely Gottlieb Japhet and Paula Hairwa who assist the firm in various aspects of law, including labour law, environmental law, human rights law, criminal and civil litigation, debt collection, amongst others. This move enabled the firm to diversify its offering. While practicing law is her lifelong passion, Mugaviri appreciates how crucial it was to tame the business side of running your own practice. “Running and managing one’s own firm is very different from being an employee because as an owner you carry the responsibility firstly to ensure that the business operates professionally and profitably to ensure growth. You also work extraordinarily harder because you must carry a heavy responsibility towards firstly yourself to make sure the business is kept afloat and secondly to your employees whose families rely and look up to you for their daily livelihood. In addition, being an owner of firm also enables one to assist a vast variety of clients whom I offer legal advice to on a pro bono basis in some instances,” she says.

Administratively, it is also her responsibility to internally train staff members and to encourage and motivate them to further their studies. This will benefit both the firm and enhance staff member’s skills. And then on top of that, besides juggling the business and practice aspects of law, Mugaviri is a mother of three which makes it quite challenging to balance running business and family life. Any lawyer can tell you that Legal practice is a very demanding profession that requires one to continuously research and keep abreast with both current and past legislative issues. In fact, when TF catches up to her, we only have a very small window for our interview as she must be in court for four hours. “My day starts at 05h30 when I prepare my two children who are school going and then prepare the all-day requirements for my 8-month old baby before I proceed to work. It is sometimes not possible to be home at lunch time all the time due to traffic and deadlines, but I make sure that I am at home early enough to prepare meals for the children and help them with school work before they go to bed at 20h00. The joy of motherhood,” she quips.

And yet, Mugaviri does not rest in her comfort zone. In 2017, she teamed up with Elia Shikongo, Jefta Tjitemisa, Petrus S. Elago, Shakesphere Masiza and Gaenor Michaels as directors and formed Lexna Incorporated Insurance Company that was launched on 21 April 2018 in Windhoek. She was also recently appointed as a council member for the medical and dental council of Namibia for a period of five years. Today she believes young female professionals who want to follow in her footsteps need not shrink from challenges as with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. “It is true that the legal profession is very demanding and taxing, however, if you love what you do, it will be rewarding. As long as you love what you do and assisting people, this is the right profession for you. You must be strong-willed and extremely dedicated and passionate about what you do. Always turn challenges into opportunities.”