Women In Business

Avoid the holiday blues in January

By Bank Windhoek’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Hayley Allen.

With the Festive Season around the corner, it is advisable to spend money wisely and plan. Customers should not fall into the trap of spending more money than they can afford during the holidays. This overspending can put them under financial stress during the first couple of months of the New Year. 

Customers should use their funds to cover the beginning of the year’s educational expenses: school fees, new uniforms, and stationery. They are also advised to keep in mind that although they are on holiday and relaxing, they cannot let down their guard regarding financial discipline.  The following few tips can help customers save some money during the Festive Season:

Stick to a budget: It is easy to overspend during the Festive Season due to the hype of activities and joyous mood. Since this is the time for gift-giving and spending time with family and friends, customers should draw up a budget and stick to it for their holiday period. They should not overspend on the budget. 

Avoid carrying large amounts of cash: It seems easier to spend more when one has a large amount of physical cash at hand. Carrying large amounts of money is also a dangerous habit as one might become a robber’s target.

Use the money wisely: For those who are fortunate enough to get a 13th cheque, they should first set aside some of it to honour their financial commitments at the beginning of the year. The same goes for those that take out a loan or overdraft to fund their holidays. The holiday might be long gone, but they will still be paying for it for a long time. 

Do not fall for the discount trap: As much as one would hunt for bargains during the Festive Season, customers should not buy more than they need. Retailers will shout out their discounts, but is it a need? Customers should examine every purchase they make during the Festive Season.

Plan the holiday: Planning for a holiday in advance is always a great idea since it saves money and reduces pressure on personal finances. Next year, customers can perhaps start saving money for their holidays and Christmas gifts six months in advance. Bank Windhoek has several convenient savings products tailored to suit the individual’s or a group’s saving needs.

Check the shopping list: Customers are reminded to check that their gifts’ shopping list is not necessarily long and unrealistic. If the list is too long, they can cut it down on the number of people on their current list. They can then bake some cookies to give to the people they snipped from their original gift list. This will ensure they spread the holiday cheer.

Be Alert: This season is also synonymous with theft, especially cyberfraud. Customers must not share their personal bank information with anyone claiming to be calling from the bank. Fraudsters will use this to authenticate transactions on a customer’s behalf. Finally, customers should avoid withdrawing large amounts of money and keep their personal belongings safe.​

The Festive Season is a time to spend with loved ones and not impress others with expensive gifts. Customers should clearly distinguish between their needs and wants and look after them instead of buying what they want. The essential rule is to always stick to the budget and cultivate a culture of saving instead of satisfying immediate wants. The Festive Season can be more exciting and memorable with a clear budget plan.

Women In Business

Beauty Boois Practice

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.

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.”

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.”