Shilongo Ashipala has helped shape Namibian music for nearly two decades as Kanibal, but what many may not know is that he’s helped shape the overall culture of local music as a radio Production Manager.
It turns out, like horse Markel in water, he’s most at home behind the soundboard. He has been producing music since 16. He never studied media. The passion for sound and radio appears to have budded in him innately.
“I landed in radio by pure luck. I started at Fresh FM as one of the founding presenters in 2007 when my Mom saw an ad in a newspaper for auditions, cut it out, and brought it to me. In 2008 and 2009 I won Best Radio Show for ‘Corner 2 Corner with Kani & Nona’,” he tells TF.
That same year when the Production Manager, then, resigned, Ashipala was immediately compelled to apply for the job, this time with some experience under his belt.
Like a hawk, he had observed how the sales and marketing executives went about things. How the receptionist handled calls, how the presenters interacted with callers.
In 2010 he left Fresh FM and went to do production at 99fm, before returning to Fresh FM in 2014 as Production Manager and later Station Manager until 2017.
Today he runs the show at COTA FM, the radio arm for the College of the Arts (COTA), after the head of the Media Arts department of COTA asked him if he ‘knew someone who could start and run an online radio station.’
“As dramatic as I am, I wrote him an actual book called ‘How to start and manage an online radio station by Shilongo Ashipala’ which described in intricate detail the technical aspects, admin, presenter training, code of conduct, marketing and sales,” Ashipala says.
He adds, “In January I was given the mandate to set it up within a month, but because I had already prepared for it, everything was ready within 2 weeks. In June, when all the details had been ironed out, we went on air for the first time.”
With the rise of stations like Eagle FM, Informate radio, and others, radio space in Namibia has seen a resurgence in recent years, and Ahsipala has been determined to see COTA FM have its share of the pie.
“The ultimate vision is to have the highest listener base of all Campus and Community radio stations, so we can affect real and tangible change in our community. The sound of tomorrow. In today’s digital world, the listener does not NEED radio for music, so content is king.”
A normal day for him at the office is laid out with various functions. “I arrive at 10 am and train interns on functions of a radio station. At 11 our schedule kicks off with ‘Rise and shine’ (11am – 1pm), ‘The dream’ (1pm-3pm) and ‘Real talk’ (3pm – 5pm). We source and prepare relevant content for the day, and also brainstorm on content for the next day as we go along,” he tells TF.
As the world continues to grapple with the reality of COVID-19, Ashipala says the station has not been spared. They lost almost two weeks of programming due to the college being shut down during the state of emergency lockdown.
The station manager has however seen the silver lining in the pandemic. “The advantage though is that when people are at home, they crave entertainment, and that helps boost our audience numbers.”
He continues to balance his corporate world with his creative side. Early last year, he released his album “Omapiaano” to stellar reviews. “Shilongo Ashipala is a creative. ‘KaniBal’ is only one outlet of my creativity, but I constantly find and learn other ways to express myself creatively and effectively. ‘KaniBal’ shall not be around for much longer, but I shall be Shilongo Ashipala for the rest of my life.”
Ashipala announced his retirement from being a full-time musician a few months ago and held one final show to cap off his career.
The 31st of March 2019 marked the end of the MVA Fund’s Strategic Plan for 2014-2019. The Founder spoke with the Fund’s CEO, Rosalia Martins-Hausiku on their new five-year strategic outlook, as well as the continued fight to decrease road crash statistics.
TF: You began the first of the next five years as MVA Fund’s reappointed CEO, what is your focus for 2019?
RM: Firstly, I would like to indicate that our Strategic Plan for 2014-2019 ended on the 31st of March 2019, and the new strategy for 2019-2023 has commenced on the 1st of April 2019. The areas of focus for 2019 are as follows: (i) Financial Performance:
With the aim to manage finances and grow net assets to N$105 million. (ii) Enhance Customer Experience:
By attaining 85% customer satisfaction through the provision of quality customer service, and – 80% stakeholder satisfaction through appropriately managed customer relationships. (iii) Internal Effective Process:
With the aim to achieve 80% Board satisfaction.
78% system performance and 70% Unit scores (on aggregate) through efficient and effective policies, practices and system.
With the aim to reach 75% maturity level through integrated Enterprise-wide Risk Management.
TF: What were the major influences in setting your strategies and focus for 2019?
RM: The strategy primarily is influenced by our continuous drive to deliver on our enabling mandate in a manner that is sustainable and customer centric at the same time.
But also, an evaluation of the past 5 years has revealed some gaps in the services that we are rendering to our clients, particularly completing the continuum in terms of the rehabilitation services that we are offering. In addition, given the risks inherent in the environment we are operating in, we thought that we monitor risk at the highest level of the organisation to ensure that Enterprise-wide Risk Management and awareness is embedded in the corporate fabric.
Lastly, our need to stay abreast global changes, we continue to reinvent ourselves to ensure that our people, processes and systems are responsive to the dynamic needs of our clientele.
TF: This was the final year of MVA Fund’s Strategic Plan 2014-2019. What programmes have you established or reinforced during this time would you say stand out?
RM: The MVA Fund has for the past five years (2014-2019) made significant strides in achieving its strategic objectives as approved by the Board in 2013, under the theme ‘Nzira Zompe’ (a new route).
Below are the Key Performance Areas and some of the highlights on the remarkable results achieved:
Service Performance • Establishment of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy) at the University of Namibia. • Establishment of Spinalis Unit in the Ministry of Health and Social Services. • Customer satisfaction level increased from 79% in 2014 to 95% in 2018. • Modified 99 houses for seriously injured persons. • Rehabilitation.
952 persons were returned to community.
499 persons were returned to work.
200 persons were returned to school.
Human Resource Development • Deloitte Best Company to Work for Award.
2014 – 2nd place small to medium category.
2015 – 2nd place small to medium category.
2016 – 1st place small to medium category. • Employee engagement level.
2014 – 83%.
2015 – 83%.
2016 – 83%.
2017 – 73% but above the industry standard of 70%.
Effective Internal Processes • Achieved 85% on audit findings in 2017/18. • Developed three-year risk management plan 2016 and implemented 76% thereof. • Achieved averaged institutional performance score of 80%.
Financial Performance • Funding level at 144% in 2018 from 84% in 2014. • Investments increased to N$1.3 billion from N$347m in 2014. • Investment income increased to N$70m from N$19m in 2014. • Property portofolio increased to N$160m from N$76m in 2014.
TF: The current economic slump has led to government’s cost cutting measures for the last three or so years. How has the MVA Fund adjusted in this period and how has that affected cash flow and operations?
RM: The current economic slump is being felt across all sectors and MVA Fund is no exception. Despite the Fund not receiving direct financial allocations from treasury, the reduced economic activities have resulted in decreased fuel consumption and by extension, reduced fuel levy revenue for the Fund. The Fund has always exercised cost management measures and these continued to be implemented during the economic downturn currently facing the country.
Given the reduced cash flow from fuel levy revenue, the MVA Fund had to ensure that we render our services using our available resources efficiently so as not to have our operations negatively impacted and we are coping in this regard. The biggest expense the Fund has is claims related, hence there is not much innovation that can take place in that area. We however have influence in accident and injury prevention to ensure that our exposure is reduced. To this end we have intensified our activities along the B1 and B2 routes, which are our deadliest routes. We have also intensified our workplace road safety interventions targeting a lot of the corporate companies.
TF: The number of crashes, fatalities and injuries has gone down between 2017 and 2018. What would you attribute this to and in what ways has the MVA Fund played a key part?
RM: The comparative statistical analysis of 2017/2018 shows a reduction in figures in crashes by 8%, injuries by 16%, and fatalities by 28 respectively. The Fund in collaboration with stakeholders rolled out various road safety campaigns including: • Click for life campaign – advocates for the usage of seatbelts every time a driver and passengers embark upon a journey, be it a short or long trip. This campaign was launched in March 2017. Furthermore, the campaign also focused on child restraints that protect minors from being thrown out of a vehicle in the event of a crash. Research shows that seatbelt usage minimises chances of fatalities, while reducing injuries that could be sustained during a crash up to 60%.
• Stand sober campaign – focused on random breath testing of drivers in order to ensure sober drivers. The target was to screen about 200 drivers per day per law enforcer. Upon introduction of this campaign a reduction of intoxicated drivers has been observed.
• Tyre safety interventions – were conducted at bus terminals and roadblocks throughout the country, and many vehicles have been suspended off the road due to tyre noncompliance – 2cm depth of the grooves of the tyre.
• Deployment of law enforcement on the B1 and B2 routes – focused on the inspection of the roadworthiness of vehicles and checking of drivers without valid driver’s licences. This has served as a deterring measure and may have greatly attributed to the reduction of crashes on our roads.
The MVA Fund has aggressively conducted engagements especially during peak times – Independence Day, Easter Holidays, Heroes Day, as well as during the Festive Season. The aim was to sensitise drivers on the dangers of not adhering to road traffic rules. This is normally done through various channels of communication – radio, social media and distribution of flyers at road blocks.
TF: Tell us about stakeholder collaboration and your relationship with the public as far as road safety awareness goes.
RM: The Fund has built strong collaborative relations with its stakeholders in order to carry out its campaigns successfully with the purpose of saving lives on Namibian roads. We believe that road safety calls for a concerted effort and no single institution will win if operating in silo. The public out there believes in the strong brand of the Fund and it is our duty to ensure that we engage in accident and injury prevention measures.
TF: And looking ahead, what are some new strategies and/or programmes are you excited about bringing into play in the near future?
RM: There are several notable projects and programmes that the Fund will be undertaking. These are among others: i) Research to determine causes of crashes
I believe this research will make a positive difference in understanding the scientific causes of road crashes in Namibia and ultimately aid in reducing road carnage in our country. To-date, no scientific research has been done to determine the actual causes of crashes in the country. The call by our political leaders that the Fund had a chance to engage which led to the MVA Fund commissioning a road safety research in the five highest crash regions namely: Khomas, Erongo, Otjozondjupa, Oshana and Kavango.
The MVA Fund will play a pivotal role to develop understanding and consensus amongst stakeholders regarding the causes of crashes, injuries and fatalities while at the same time building data intelligence capability to inform future interventions.
(ii) Implementation of new IT system
The Fund aims to achieve the following from implementing a new IT system: • Improved customer services. • Enhance relations with service providers through system efficiencies. • Improve management reporting through quality internal processes. • Improve institution operational efficiency.
(iii) Establish a Satellite Office in Katutura
Through establishing an envisaged Satellite Office in Katutura, the Fund aims to take its services and benefits closer to the people.
The Fund’s envisaged satellite office is also geared towards enhancing improved and efficient customer service.
(iv) Establish a Rehabilitation Facility
The purpose of the rehabilitation facility is for the Fund to assist persons affected by motor vehicle crashes with information on how they can look after themselves on their journey to independence.
Amongst others this includes information on how to avoid bed sores, the usage of wheelchairs and support groups.
(v) Legislative Reform
This is to review the benefits we offer to our clients which remained stagnant since 2008. In this way, we want to improve our benefits offered to persons affected by motor vehicle crashes.
TF: In what ways have your team’s efforts complimented your success during your time as CEO at the MVA Fund?
RM: As a dynamic and service driven institution, I have a passionate and hardworking team that is committed to deliver on our mandate with precision. They understand the vision and understand the type of clientele we serve and their passion drives them. We also have a robust performance management system coupled with an employee development programme that ensures that the Fund maintains its culture as a learning organisation. This has always been the approach at the Fund and has become a recipe of success where my team and I have remained consistent in making the Fund not only one of the best companies to work for, but also a public enterprise that efficiently and effectively focuses on the needs of its customers. Our customer and stakeholder satisfaction levels as measured through surveys are outstanding.
TF: There are still misunderstandings about certain exclusions and limitations on benefits awarded to persons affected by car accidents. What would you say are the major misconceptions?
RM: Yes, there is definitely a lack of knowledge especially on limitations where the Fund provides limited benefits only if the person affected by the crash is wholly responsible for it. Such persons only qualify for medical benefits, but still expect the Fund to award them the injury grant. Most drivers are usually affected by this and the majority of such clients are dissatisfied with the medical benefit that is applicable to them. The MVA Fund through its Public Education team continues to educate the public on limitations and exclusions as set out in its MVA Fund Act 10 of 2007.
In 2008 brothers, Dickson and Philip Swanepoel sat in the living room of their Windhoek flat during the height of the United States subprime mortgage crisis that preceded the global recession.
They conceived a way to revolutionise the Namibian property industry and thus YellowSquare Properties was born. 10 years later, during the height of Namibia’s own economic crisis, YellowSquare Properties is a diamond in its industry, receiving the First Prize at Standard Bank as best Estate Agency of the year 2018.
With over 50 estate agents, YellowSquare Properties is one of Namibia’s biggest Real Estate Agencies, but this came through ten years of hard work and calculated operations, and manager Dickson funnelled the experience he had gained at Pam Golding Properties (PGP) in Stellenbosch, South Africa where he proudly established a successful rental department.
“We realised that there is a gap in the market as there was no platform or assistance for one-man estate agencies as they had to run a full business, manage trust accounts and also service their clients and received no professional training in the industry. We then started the business to provide this platform including education to improve all the estate agents’ skills in the industry,” Dickson tells TF.
Growth was slow at the beginning but with patience and commitment the brothers improved the company’s value and education that was offered to the estate agents. Now estate agents want to join YellowSquare Properties as they hear through friends and other estate agents that it is the best Estate Agency to join because of the relevant industry training and the great support platform they can use. So now, when their agents get Standard Bank Silver Millionaires Club awards for giving the bank business worth millions, it is not a surprise, it is expected.
Due to the platform and education offered to the estate agents they have hence become more professional and self-educated and motivated other estate agents to join YellowSquare Properties. This in return has caused their number of estate agents to grow to more than 50 estate agents this year. This education, the brothers believe, was the tipping point for YellowSquare Properties and effective team dynamics keep it going. And they capped of 2018 in style.
“Four of our estate agents won six awards at the FNB and Standard Bank, FNB, Nedbank and Bank Windhoek prize giving this year and YellowSquare Properties received the First Prize at Standard Bank as best Estate Agency of the year.” Early on, Dickson realised that the best way towards prosperity for the company was investing in his real estate agents, and thus he assembled the most diverse group of agents, ranging from all cultures in Namibia and some beyond.
The company keeps abreast with technology and employs the latest techniques to market properties and source clients nationally and internationally. In fact, technology is another instrumental component of the business’ operational setup. The website www.yellowprop.com is one of their biggest marketing platforms used to acquire most of their clients. The website attracts more than 6000 visitors per month from all over the world.
A large portion of the company’s marketing budget is spent on the advertisement and branding through several advertising mediums on the internet to attract clients to the website. Thus, having a team that can communicate and relate with a diversity of property buyers and sellers becomes of paramount importance.
“Buying, selling and renting property is one of the most stressful situations during any person’s life and it is easier for clients to trust an estate agent who is of the same culture who they can relate with and who can also speak their language to make the whole process less stressful,” Philip says. The dynamism of two brothers who come from almost two polar opposite career paths has created a ground for success for the company. Dickson has brought his property and contract skills that he learned from Pam Golding as well as computer and marketing skills to the YellowSquare platform to create the best platform for estate agents to use while Philip, an established lawyer, brought his law and business skills to the platform to set up a good foundation for the business. When the brothers spend time together, they are always talking about business and discuss different opportunities as this is a topic that both of them enjoy talking about.
There is a YellowSquare Properties today, don’t be surprised if there is a BlueSquare Financials, or some other business venture, tomorrow. Recently, the brothers also established a sister company called Golden Transfers (www.goldentransfers.com), which in short is a property related business that does member’s transfers of property that is owned by Close Corporations (CC) at a 20% reduced cost to what the attorneys charge in Namibia. This encourages more clients to save costs when they purchase property in CC’s. Of course, with the largest pool of estate agents for a Namibian Agency, and being the responsibility of one man –Dickson, who runs the day to day side of business, there is effort that goes into overseeing such a team in the daily liaisons between buyer, seller and agent while ensuring professionalism, quality service is provided, and all the company’s values are kept.
He gives regular training to the estate agents and uses technology to the company’s advantage to communicate with the estate agents in a group and also gives personal attention and training to the individual agent where he sees training is required. This is an ongoing process that requires a lot of patience and commitment on improving each individual estate agent’s skills.
“Most people that enter the property industry think it is easy and a get rich quick solution, while this is not the case. Only about 10% of estate agents that write the exam and enter the property industry succeed and survive. While only 2% are really successful and make a good income. It is a tough industry and people do not realise how much hard work it takes to become successful in this industry. Estate agents need to be self-motivated and driven to be successful in this industry,” Dickson says. His business mantra is modelled around being a stickler for doing things right. He peruses contracts three times over and keeps himself informed with latest rules that regulate his industry.
“Once you follow these rules as your basic guideline it makes things easier as you know how to guide clients and estate agents according to these rules. I like to encourage and motivate the estate agents as they all require this throughout the year to stay positive and active in the market. Even the best estate agents require this motivation!” In deed he has to keep up with the industry’s regulations. Afterall, the housing market is one of the most complex industries in Namibia and understanding all of its nuances and technicalities is something economists go and study for years for, but what is clear is that the high demand and limited supply of houses in Windhoek has been pushing prices at an average of 11% per annum since 2007 according to banking reports. This saw Namibia hold the world’s highest property inflation in 2015, beating Dubai.
Earlier this year, however, the Namibian housing market saw a drop in prices for houses for the first time in a decade. Amidst this, while many have criticised the free market and called for a rent control board, Dickson argues that the biggest advantage in a free market is that the economy will automatically adjust prices due to client’s willingness to pay what they are prepared to pay. “We have seen property sales only going through when prices are lowered up to 30% lower than bank valuations and property rentals only happening when owners lower their rent up to 30% lower than the previous year’s rent that they received. In the current market if you must sell you have to adjust your prices accordingly so that your property offers the best value in its price range.”
Away from his home office, Dickson spends most of his free time with his family and will read books and play some games to relax over weekends. He also loves camping and being in the outdoors where he can drink a cold beer with family and friends on occasion. “For 2019, our vision is to be the number one Real Estate Agency across the nation by expanding our property portfolio further to all corners of Namibia and our focus is to improve the professionalism and education of the estate agents to provide the best results.”
…The Founder also sat down with four of YellowSqaure Properties’ award-winning agents to find out about their recipes for success.
TF: Tell us about your experience working at YellowSquare Properties?
Aina Sheya: When I became an estate agent, YellowSquare is the first and only company I worked for, I have received all the training and mentoring from YellowSquare Properties, to me it’s the best Real Estate company in Namibia.
Beverly von Luttichou: It’s an independent flexible company to work for.
Rina de Bod: YellowSquare is a well-established company with numerous experienced agents, which make it profitable to work with.
Irmgard Hamayulu: Choosing YellowSquare firm is one of the best decisions I have made in my life, it was easy to adopt. I have learned so much and gained so much experience through teamwork, professionalism and learned to always strive to be the best that I can be. I have met friends, role models and mentors.
TF: Tell us about your personal highlights in the property market for 2018, including awards received?
Aina: Awards: -Standard Bank (Gold Millionaire Award Winner) 10 Million and above award -Nedbank 5 Million and above award. It was a tough year, but for me the word tough provokes me and create opportunities for me to win, I love challenges.
Beverly: Awards: -FNB 5 to 10 Million award -Bank Windhoek 4 Million and above award. Highlights were the trainings we received in 2018 by implementing the new learnings as well as execution.
Rina: Awards: -FNB 5 to 10 Million award. Although the market was difficult in 2018, it is very rewarding working with previous, loyal clients.
Irmgard: Awards: Standard Bank (Silver Millionaire Award Winner) 7 Million and above award. Every single day in real estate is my highlight, but being the standard Bank Silver award winner was my favourite, I was not expecting it, it was all a dream. It was just a year since I started.
TF: What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about being a real estate agent?
Aina: People think it’s easy to sell properties, and they think we get paid high commission for doing little, but this job required a lot of dedication, it’s not as easy as people think.
Beverly: Majority come into the business not knowing the core fundamentals of the business and think it’s an easy industry as well as quick money.
Rina: Being an estate agent is hard work, and not easy money as people think it is.
Irmgard: When I started, I was told “YOU CAN NEVER MAKE IT AS A PART TIME REAL ESTATE AGENT” honestly, you can make it everywhere, all you need is to prioritise, believe and serve your clients at your best of your capability.
In less than a year, Antonius Junior has perfected drawing canvass portraits, creating a business for himself that now has a strong demand countrywide. Antonius draws almost lifelike paintings of celebrities and real-life Namibians, and considering this is something he wasn’t doing this time last year, that is quite impressive. To date, he has gotten over 50 orders for portraits from people around the country and he takes up to two days to complete one, for which he charges between N$300 to N$500.
“I used to draw comics when I was a kid but I never really took it serious. After I completed my Electrician course at the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT), I started working as self-employed. I do installations and repairs mainly so to keep myself creative I started picking up drawing again. I started doing it after being inspired by Nigerian artist Oresegun Olumide who I follow on Instagram.”
Olumide draws inspiration from his community, creating pieces that reflect the lives of those around him. Antonius mostly gets requests through social media and recommendations, and he plans his portraits while doing electrical work.
His profits are shared between electrical equipment and pencils and canvas, although one of his biggest challenges is that some of the particular painting instruments, he needs are not available in Namibia. “The best piece of advice I heard last was that everything is possible if you put your mind to it, and I saw how true this was only after I got started. In 2019 I want to work on more local celebrities.”
On the backdrop of Namibia having the fourth highest suicide rate in Africa, according to the Ministry of Health and Social Services in September of 2018, mental health awareness has become one of the prevalent topics across various social media platforms.
Mental health problems are caused by or triggered by various issues such as genes or brain chemistry, traumatic life experience, abuse, stressful life events or a family history of mental health problems amongst other factors, which can have serious negative impact on one’s wellness but help is available. For 27-year-old entrepreneur and clinical psychologist, Beauty Boois, mental health awareness has been somewhat of a calling.
What started off as simply giving people advice on mental health and some much-needed encouragement via social media eventually grew into a full-fledged career she hadn’t yet imagined was possible. It began with a curating Twitter account called Nam Mental Health that allowed users to share their stories and battles with mental health. The response was overwhelming enough for her to register for a four-year Bachelor of Psychology at the University of Namibia.
She earned a BPsych degree in Clinical Psychology from Unam in 2015 and is currently undertaking her Master’s Degree in the field. “Early on I spoke to a lot of young people who had just graduated, many of who were unemployed and, dealing with depression and didn’t have medical aid so could not afford counselling. The online platform allowed people to express their anxiety and trauma anonymously and that was very helpful,” she says.
After a community internship spell at the Ministry of Labour as a psychological counsellor at the Vocational Counselling Services granted her exposure to Psychometrics, Career Counselling, Vocational Counselling as well as HIV/ AIDS Counselling and Community Mental Health in terms of Support Groups for people living with Depression and Anxiety, she founded her practice BB Boois Psychology Practice in October 2017. “Mental Health refers to the holistic well-being of our psychological, emotional and social states of being. The way we think, feel and behave in our daily lives is all affected by our mental health. Mental Health also influences how we deal with stress, interact with others as well as our decision-making processes. It is an imperative aspect of the various stages of life, from childhood and adolescence all the way through to adulthood and old age.”
Her practice is registered with the Ministry of Health and Social Services and is also registered with Namibia Medical Aids Fund and adheres to prescribed tariff rates for those with medical aid as well as offers services to private clients. This, Boois did all while balancing motherhood, activism and gaining further certification in Yoga Psychology from Yoga Point in Nasik, India.
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 becausethey saw potential in what we do and with aloan from them we bought two more vehiclesand office space. We moved onto sevenseaters and a Quantam as they are biggervehicles and we are able to optimise them tocarry 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.
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.
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 , 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.
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.”
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’slargest Ad to date – Q2 Loans, which Idid when I was 26. It’s probably still theproject I am most proud of. The advertaged decently. Once of the more recentlarger scale projects we’ve worked on wasPolana in the House, a show that air lastyear,” 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 brainisn’t always easy to do. So,I try to leave the numbersside to the qualified.When a creative is in theheat of creating, it can bedifficult to be objectivewhen it comes to thenumber so it helps to havesomeone objective at alltimes.This doesn’t mean Idisregard the numbers, I justprefer to have someone whois completely focused onthat 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, attendedtertiary in America, marriedto a South African, IrishGoroh.My wife is a clinicalresearcher/ film producer/model and mother tomy son. Myfamily is mybedrock.”