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Ouma Tjivikua: Namibia’s most successful grandmother turns 85

She must lean against the wall of her Katutura house (in Marula ) to support her legs to walk. Her health is not the best, she is asthmatic and lately, walks with difficulty due to her swollen legs brought by old age.

“Being old is good, but it has challenges. The good part is that I have no worries in life, not a single regret. The only problem are the legs that swell up here and there and stop me from going to church,” Ouma Tjivikua explains as she throws herself with a brief sigh, on a wooden chair, “Ouma’s chair”, where she automatically seems to have gathered all the energy.

Her smile is wide, infectious, it’s a winning smile. There seems to be a connection between the energy she assumed since sitting on her chair and the smile. On the 7th of October, she turns 85.  She speaks so immaculately in the Queen’s English as if it is her mother tongue.

Royalty defines Ouma Tjivikua. Of her 13 children, she has lost two, the first and the sixth-born. Her success lies in the products of her womb, she says.

A retired nurse, Ouma Tjivikua credits her children’s success to the family values that she has embedded in them since childhood.

“When my husband died in 1985, three of my children were outside Namibia, namely James, Tjama and Michael. It needed a certain strength from the Almighty to keep and protect my children as they grew and matured first into men and women, then into national leaders. Family values and preservation of culture became the secret. I learned that by sending my children to school. Education is important. If the Tjivikua name will stand the test of time, we need to keep sending our grandchildren to schools across the world, and keeping them within the values of our culture,” she says.

All but one of her 10 remaining children are married and have taken up the aspect of the family as a key facet of growth.

Today’s parents must teach their children those same family values. They are fundamental to nation building and preserving of our culture. Look at me, my skin is lighter than yours, but I want all my children and grandchildren to understand our Herero culture and appreciate family. That is who we are and that has been the secret.

Secret to Long-Life

She recalls how some people rejected her, especially in the late-70’s and mid-80s. “I was ‘too-SWAPO”, they said. But I did not lose focus. Till today, I have never smoked, I have never touched alcohol and I read my bible twice a day. There is no other secret. Why I mentioned my husband’s death is because it was a trying time for me where I could have lost it and done things I would have regretted. But I remained consistent.”

Born Kutuai Kaura at Okaundja, in the Okakarara area, Ouma Tjivikua moved to Swakopmund with her half-German mother to complete Standard 2. By then only Windhoek had three schools reaching Standard 6 (now Grade 8). Upon completing Standard 2 in Swakopmund, she was made to stay in the same grade for two more years as her mother contemplated moving to Windhoek.

The family eventually moved to the capital in 1945 where she enrolled to complete her studies (Standard 6) at the Rhenish Mission Herero School. There she became one of the first netball players of Namibia in 1947.

“By then I had an edge over my classmates because of the two years I had spent repeating Standard 2 in Swakopmund, for there was no higher school grade. “I completed my Standard 6 in Ongombombonde, Waterberg because the government had opened a new school there. I went into nursing in Otjiwarongo in 1950 and by 1952 at the age of 20, I got married,” she recalls.

When her husband Festus Tjivikua, a teacher, was transferred from Otjiwarongo to Ovitoto, there was neither a hospital nor a clinic, thus she was forced to abandon her nursing passion.

Much later in 1984, she was requested by a medical doctor, Dr Withun, to undertake Nursing studies.  Instead, she volunteered to become Administrative Assistant at the Katutura State Hospital, where she served in Administration and then in the Pharmacy until 1993 when she retired.

“Because my father was an Evangelical Lutheran Priest, I spent time reading the bible to students at the school where my husband was teaching.”

She has been an active member of the SWAPO Party since 1964. As the interview drags on, it becomes obvious that Ouma Tjivikua has thrice my age but, twice the energy. In between, one of her great-grandchildren interjects us by demanding attention. She attends to him and upon her return to our interview, is eager to offer our team breakfast—all the while chatting away about her life and her family.

Ouma Tjivikua talks about family more than anything else. And no wonder—she has made children the focus of her life.

“I have lived in this house for 34 years. They have brought me offers to move to better suburbs but I have a life here. This is the house of the Tjivikuas first, she says, staring blindly at an old Panasonic boxed TV.”

“Everything has been easy for me. Not because of money, no. I have never chased money or the joys of this world. Why seek luxuries when you have the joy of the heart? I do not have the regrets of the past, they will keep me hostage,” she continues.

Every day she whiles away the time on her needle-work.

“I knit for my family. All of them have worn what I sew. I do not want to do it for the money. The money will kill me because thinking about it makes me weak.”

Every weekend her sons, daughters, and grandchildren gather at Ouma’s house.

“I wish everybody could have the opportunity to reach my age.  We are all different. Some are so poor, some live very different lives than me. But when you are my age, it is not about poverty or riches, it is love. We all love our grandchildren and we want to prepare our journeys, clear the road for ourselves and our families when we’re gone. It boosts me when they are all here.”

As we bid farewell, we joke at her insistence that ‘no photos today, come when I am properly dressed for photos.’ We agree she maybe 85, but when you look at her you’d never believe it.

She’s an energetic worker and she loves joking. She’s wise and loves telling stories of the old days, but she is not an old woman. She remains Super Woman!

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Meet Mr Matangara: Sylvanus Bobboh Kathindi

 

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Being Sidney Martin’s son

Not so long ago in 2013, Sidney Martin rolled in a then 458 Spider Ferrari, the first in Namibia. His family trust was a multi-million dollar empire, and the sun was shining brighter.

Back then Martin would occasionally drive to his Witvlei factory with his only son, Tuundja-kuje. Here, young women would hi-5 Martin as he walked around, Tuundja-kuje would witness how older women would at times approach his father, and nearly swooning. Others would grasp his father’s arm and lay their heads on his chest, as he patted their backs, murmuring thank you in Afrikaans.

By millionaire standards Martin lives a modest lifestyle. Married to one of Namibia’s most glamorous women, Petronella Karuaihe-Martin, Chief Executive of Namibre, their only son is readying to grow the Martin name. For being a Martin, life for 23-year-old Tuundja-kuje is about learning from the apple he fell from.

One of the beneficiaries of the multi-million dollar Family Trust, Tuundja-kuje rolls in a Jeep Wrangler, although being an adrenaline junkie, it is the Porsche and Ferrari that he prefers most.

Upon completion of his undergraduate in the Bachelor of Social Science, Majoring in International Relations and Economic History at the University of Cape Town, he recently took a vacation in the Maldives.

And has just settled in Johannesburg at Wits for his post-graduate LLB. “Growing up as Sydney Martin’s son is like growing up with a fountain of knowledge.  It is not the money, it is his wisdom and character that gets you going. My father is an exceptional leader that has the life experiences of an 80-year-old. As a child, I always wondered how he always knew what to do when difficult challenges came his way. My dad has written my manual of life,” he says.

Having watched his father build up a multi-million-dollar empire, Tuundja-kuje has adopted his own life-motto—things don’t just happen overnight—and is prepared to outlive his father’s legacy.

A multi-sport disciplinary fellow, Tuundja-kuje is active in soccer, squash, swimming, karate, hockey and has received numerous sporting merits over the past years, in particular, a bronze medal at the Karate World Championships in 2010, coupled with being his High School’s 2011 Sportsman of the Year.

“You do not need to be smart academically alone. One needs to learn to use their hands and showcase other talents they have. There is a thin line between working hard and working smart. I practice both,” he says.

Tuundja-kuje is mentored by Frank Fredericks, thanks to a symbiotic love for sport, and the two also have a father-and-son relationship.

Yet, it is a fishing excursion with Founding President Dr Sam Nujoma at Terrace Bay that he holds dear to.

“My parents inspire me equally however in different ways. My mom inspires me to keep working hard academically as there’s always a reward in the end.

My father inspires me through his abilities to help and better the lives of other Namibians in the best of his abilities, but when I am an accorded an opportunity to spend the day with Sam Nujoma, the man from our history books, in real life? That is unforgettable.”

Tuundja-kuje is pondering life in property development, once he is back in the country.

“I am interested in the housing developing market. I am a strong believer in property. Trying to aid and find a solution to the big housing epidemic in Namibia. It has to come from a Martin,” he says.

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Why Some Mothers Kill Their Children

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According to a 2005 study, maternal filicide occurs more frequently in the United States than developing nations.

On October 2, 2006 31-year-old single mother Elaine Campione took out her video camera and filmed her two young daughters, three-year-old Serena and 19-month-old Sophia, playing around their Barrie, Ontario, apartment. In the footage, clips of Serena coloring in the living room and telling her mother how much she loves her are intercut with Sophia splashing in the bath water while Campione sings “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

Later, off camera, Campione drowned her two daughters in the family bathtub. She dried off their bodies, put them in their pajamas, and laid the girls hand-in-hand on her bed, a turquoise rosary and a photo album between the deceased sisters. She then took what she thought was an overdose of clozapine (a medication prescribed to treat bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia) and went back into her living room to continue recording.

The video shows Campione now alone, sitting on her couch, sobbing as she rants toward the camera she’s set across the room. The nearly ten-minute long manifesto is directed at her ex-husband, Leo Campione, whom she claims beat and abused her and their eldest daughter. The couple was in the middle of a heated custody battle. (After their divorce, Campione and the girls moved to a women’s shelter and then assisted living.) The Campiones were due in court later that week.

“Here, are you happy now? The children are gone… How does that make you feel, Leo?” she asks the camera. “I hate you, Leo. You are the devil. You wanted to win; you won. Are you happy? How does it make you feel? Because it doesn’t make me feel great. I’ve lost everything… I’ll never know what my children would have become.”

According to Campione’s own account, she turned off the camera and then passed out, hoping she would die with her daughters. Instead, she woke up a day and half later. Strangely, she turned back on her camera. You can hear the radio still playing in the background, but the living room is filled with natural light.

“I tried to overdose, but it didn’t work,” she confesses, crying. “Those poor girls, they were my life.” At this point, Campione finally stopped filming herself and called the police. Later, in an on-camera interrogation at the station, she pretended she did not know how her children had died. Obviously, the video confession she had made was what landed her in jail for two counts of first-degree murder after her trial nearly four years later.

It’s nearly impossible for most people to understand how a parent could deliberately murder their own child—a brutal act legally defined as filicide, infanticide, or neonaticide (depending on the age of the child). When these rare cases do occur, they are often shrouded in a morbid, public curiosity that does not dissipate with a verdict.

Many theories have been developed about maternal filicide, but “no consistent approach exists for defining the population of offenders.” Criminal psychologist Philip J. Resnick, one of the study’s authors, has been studying filicide since the 1960s; he literally wrote the book on the phenomenon.

There are many serious reasons that might cause a mother to kill her child, including childhood abuse, postpartum psychosis, and other mental illnesses. However, the public rarely shows sympathy for a woman who commits filicide, no matter how damaged her psyche. Perhaps this has to do with the sensational, dehumanizing nicknames like “Tot Mom” or “Microwave Mom” often given jokingly to the mothers by mainstream media. And our harsh judgments often affect proceedings in the courtroom.

Most cases of neonaticide fall into the unwanted child category, while spouse revenge, like in the case of Elaine Campione, is far less common.  In the police interview with Elaine Campione, the distressed mother nods that she understands that she has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder. When the officer says “for your two children,” her face winces and the bags under her eyes swell with her tears.

“This is really tough for you,” the officer says. “I’m a parent too. There’s parts I can understand and parts I can’t.” After 15 minutes of onerous conversation, the officer gently asks, “At any point during that, did you push her head under the water?” Campoine denies this, insisting that she has been taking the girls to swimming lessons, teaching them not to be afraid of water.

“But at some point, you took this medication, right?” the officer continues. “You said you wanted to end your life. You wanted to end it all.”

“I wouldn’t kill my babies,” she cries. “My babies are my life. Maybe I don’t want to live, but these are my babies… my parents could have took them.” An equally sad alternative to what could have been. broadly.vice.com

What we know about  Zenobia Seas.

She attempted suicide at the birth of her first born daughter.

She often complained about her alcoholic baby father, Immanuel Ouseb.

She was one of the brightest students at her school,

She had a well-paying job at Husab Mine

She grew jealous of her baby father’s girlfriend having a baby.

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When passion turns into a monster

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He treated our pig’s stomach ulcers, arthritis, and congestive heart failure. He saved our hen’s life. And when our beloved border collie, Sally, lay dying in our bedroom, he came to our home, and while I held her and sobbed into the bedspread, he eased her out of her illness.

It’s hard to think of many people in our lives more important, more integral, or more venerated than our veterinarians. To those of us who love animals, veterinary medicine is one of the world’s noblest professions.

So it was with shock and dismay that Namibia learnt that one of its most loved vets, Dr Shepherd Sajeni had suffered a high rate of depression leading to suicide.

He seemed to have his life well-cut out. A newly renovated double-storey house in Cimbabesia, beautiful twin daughters, a new job at Unam, a loving wife and he had just registered his own vet-clinic, having ordered million-dollar equipment from South Africa.

“In fact we drove together to Cape Town to pick up my horse, Tropical Heat. He was a caring guy and came with me to the farm. The Tuesday that he committed suicide we had plans to return to the farm the next Saturday to collect semen from my stallion and sperm-bank it. The only thing he spoke ill of was the mounting workload at Unam where he had started in February this year,” said businessman and neighbour Ranga Haikali.

Dr left barely any clues to what was eating him. “We used to go to farms in Omaheke region where he would attend to sick animals and I would be busy fixing farm gates, or anything that needs welding. He really helped me get business from the farming community.

The weekend before he died we did not do much as he was busy with one horse at a farm, so we agreed to go out to the farms, the following weekend, which unfortunately became his burial weekend.

I do not believe that he committed suicide. I cannot buy that story, everything was fine. I suspect foul play,” said welder Tino Samapundo.

Samapundo’s disbelief is shared by everyone who associated with the veterinary.

Not until Lazarus Sajeni, the late doctor’s brother opens up. “He called me up on Saturday and told me he was at Ranga’s farm but wanted me to go to our mum’s grave. I did as instructed and sent him a message on Whats’ App once I was at the graveyard.

He then told me to pray for him and our family but I should try to look for answers as to why some of us are cursed. He actually said, ‘why are some of us never forgiven?’

This was the second time he was giving me mixed messages in as many weeks, so I told my wife that I would visit my brother that following Wednesday, the same day I was informed of his passing on.  I am a very spiritual person and I can certainly guarantee that whatever happened to my brother, he was not himself,” said Lazarus. That Tuesday morning Dr Sajeni had arrived home and taken a nap on the couch.

When he woke up, he asked his visiting sister to accompany him to Unam to pick up something.

We learnt that on the way to Unam, Dr Sajeni’s driving was way out of order prompting the sister to ask if he was still receiving counselling from the pastor who had once come home. At Unam, the doctor administered a cocktail of euthanasia (drugs used to put down dogs), while in conversation with his sister who assumed the syringes and the meds were for his after-hours assignments.

“He was drinking something as they drove home and upon arriving at the gap, he was now drowsy and that is when he opened up to our sister that it was part of his suicide concoction.

A struggle ensued in the vehicle outside the gate, as my sister tried to stop him, the noise prompted his wife to come out rushing as my sister was screaming. When his wife got there he even offered her some of it.

She is the one who called her parents, family friends and the ambulance.  I still do not think he was himself through this whole process,” said Lazarus. Us Namibia is reliably informed five days before his suicide, Dr Sajeni had approached a pharmacist colleague for anti-depressants. But who would suspect a doctor who had worked 12 years at the biggest veterinary clinic in Namibia?

“Yet, that is the turning point to all this.  Anti-depressants are not given over the counter. They are prescribed by specialist doctors, and they are only given to patients at a certain stage of depression because if not done properly a patient can go into a box where the only way out is suicide,” said Dr. Joab Mudzanapabwe, a Windhoek based-psychologist.

A sneak preview into the Dr’s phone shows everything was on-point.  He rarely deleted his phone messages ever since he received the phone as a gift from Lazarus who sent it from Zimbabwe after family members protested that he was not visible on social networks because of his job.

“He had to learn to connect to Whats App very recent. All he knew was his animals,” says Lazarus. The only red flag was a message to a lawyer consulting on how much he would charge if hired to represent Dr Sajeni against Unam, whom he wanted out (he had resigned but had his resignation rejected by the Dean).

What was missed was his WhatsApp profile picture where a young, probably 14-year-old, Shepherd Sajeni was holding a book, looking up to his (late) mom and (late) auntie in the picture, with a profile statement ‘Things take time’.

“Only now, I am putting one and one together, the profile picture and the cemetery prayer. Perhaps it meant, ‘things take time before we meet again with our mom and aunt.’ We will never know,” thus Lazarus.

Dr Mudzanapambwe says when it comes to suicide, veterinarian, dentists and psychologists have the highest suicide rate in medicine. He says, “It becomes unexplainable when you consider the fact that depression is hereditary. It can run in the family.

Hence you can have someone attempt suicide more than once, or have a family with more than two people who have committed suicide.” He says, “It becomes unexplainable when you consider the fact that depression is hereditary. It can run in the family.

Hence you can have someone attempt suicide more than once, or have a family with more than two people who have committed suicide.”Dr Sajeni is said to be the third in his family to commit suicide. At 37, may his soul rest in peace.

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Kaupu: All about the Pohambas

Kaupu

“I am an entrepreneur; I am constantly learning. If I read about the water crisis, I go research how desert countries are solving their water problems, then I take notes from there and bring it to my country.”

obviously, the words millionaire, daughter and controversial have formed such a tasty cocktail and induced sudden memory loss among those writing her father’s legacy in history. It is just a little over 15km from Kaupu’s homestead that Africa’s first woman billionaire, according to Forbes, calls Angola home. Isabel Dos Santos, a shrewd businesswoman whose success has long been linked to her being the daughter of Angolan President Eduardo Dos Santos.

Yet at Okanghudi along the Namibia/Angola borderlines, former President Hifikepunye Pohamba wakes up early morning to rake his yard.  By sunrise Pohamba is already complaining about his backache and sits around the homestead overlooking his mahangu field, his favourite biltong in hand before being saturated in his readings, quietly.

About 800km away, Pohamba’s daughter, Kaupu is making headlines in the capital Windhoek. Her business enterprise KATA investments is questioned, its success and challenges are often linked to her father.

She is purported as clinching multi-million deals and a larger than life character. “When you are in the stage of identifying and growing into your true-self, the last thing that one needs is outside pressure of who you should be and how to go about it.

Constantly being identified as someone’s daughter makes you question if this is really who you will ever amount to.  When the end of his term loomed closer, I found I could finally breathe and relax within my soul.  The harsh critics and insinuations made by the media eventually became like background noise.  And it must be said that it is disheartening to see that public shaming has become such a popular sport in Namibia through print and social media,” she begins.

Inside her 2-bedroomed flat is a small 32-inch television with no DSTV, a bible anchoring photos of her loved one, a defy microwave and an aging Westpoint fridge. You would mistake it as a student’s room.

We can see the large bed from her kitchen table. The other room has been turned into an office—KATA recently abandoned its offices in the CBD—and here everything looks standard. Balanced to say the least. Far from the millions she is purported to possess.

But could that be the cover-up?

“When I was a waitress my father was President and no one said a thing. When I got a job at FNB Namibia, the first days some of the colleagues thought I was faking it when I went out to buy the popular porsie chips. I have always been that girl in the corner,” she says.

The irony is that this businesswoman who was dropped at Academia High School in a Toyota Corrolla every day when her dad was President and when on to represent the country’s national netball team while in High School, began her climb up the career ladder waitressing at Martha Namundjembo-Tilahun’s restaurant, then did her IT internship at FNB Namibia as a database administrator. Yet talking about Kaupumhote and her success usually sparks the now slightly-hackneyed “advantaged” debate.

“I am an entrepreneur; I am constantly learning. If I read about the water crisis, I go research how desert countries are solving their water problems, then I take notes from there and bring it to my country,” she says. An IT Degree holder from NUST, Kaupu had ignored an acceptance letter from a Singapore University.

PRESIDENTIAL MISCONCEPTIONS

“We had to close the office and work from our homes. It was becoming insecure for us especially after a break-in. People would come with all sorts of proposals wanting to be ‘linked’ or want our Joint Venture involvement.

Some would ask for jobs and when we say we don’t have; it would be an issue. I remember after a very wrong story was published in the papers, one man sat in the office for hours, wanting to see me, for a job. I still want to build my own life, yet many think we are well connected and associated with the powerful, No. Let me be. I am more content working from home than having an office because I am better off without the pressure of proving or pleasing other people.”

IDOLS

She describes her mother, the former First Lady Penehupufo Pohamba as a white canvass and all-time hero. I learnt that one has to be true to themselves no matter whatever element is surrounding them. My mom did not lose herself in all that. She went into State House a nurse and mum and came out the same.”

She describes her as the neck that turns the head, especially when trouble is brewing within the family, because everyone runs to her first before Tate finds out.

Then there was this lady whose name she never got to find out during her graduation.

“When her daughter was called upfront, the meme screamed in adulation, ululating and dancing screaming, ‘Okapana kange’, (fruits from my kapana business). And true, you could see that she was a meme Kapana. That struck me. She has been my point of motivation ever since and I wish to meet her one day.”

MOMENTS

“After matriculating with top marks at Windhoek High School, my sister then saw a scholarship advert in the newspaper and went for it. She only brought it to Tate’s attention when she needed to buy the ticket because she wanted the money.

Dad cautioned her and advised that she looks for another country to study to avoid a political backlash due to strong Namibia-China relations. She stood her ground and told Tate that as long as she is a Namibian citizen and has the right grades, she deserves everything entitled to all Namibians. Tate left it like that until the newspapers ran a story that the President’s daughter has received a scholarship to study in China.

It hurt my sister, she packed her bags to return home mainly because she felt she had let down Tate but we stood with her. By that time all her pass-marks were above 80% and no one in China knew she was the President’s daughter. I am glad the family stood together when she became an innocent 18-year old media victim just because she was the President’s daughter. She is now about to pursue her

Masters’ in Europe.”

Never a mama’s baby, it was only until earlier this year when her international flight was cancelled in Johannesburg and she had to look for accommodation with friends, that she made that IMPORTANT call to the  former First Family.

They had decided to taste the Pretoria night at NewsCafe when all hell broke loose.

There was gunfire at a nearby bar and she together with her friends sought refuge in a toilet. There was so much commotion outside as revelers sought cover and police cordoned off the area assuming the shooter was still in the same building.

“I was trembling. My fear was being caught in a cross-fire. It was a little towards 2am and I somehow felt I was not going to make it because of the tension and mayhem we could here from outside. The only person I could call were my parents. I woke them up at 2am just to tell them that I loved them. It was that LAST call one makes,” she recalls the trauma.

BONDING

To describe the Pohambas one has to start from the family WhatsApp group. Of course the former President is not in it, but all her children are in it.

The group is like any normal family, though a little more than the Kardashians, as the Pohambas fight, laugh, exude mood swings and make up with love, and Kaupu is always the instigator of it all.

She says; “I do stay in touch with my family and friends via WatsApp.  With a total of eight siblings, one is always guaranteed a concoction of encouragement and advice, laughs and tears, jokes and sarcasm, beautiful nieces and nephews, and ultimately LOVE.

Yes, you get moments when we absolutely do not like one another, but the love is always consistent and we can count on each-other no-matter what. We have also successfully helped mom become more tech-savvy as she can now reply to our chats and use her laptop, whereas dad is still to get the jist of it.  Technology can be a scary thing!”

RELATIONSHIP:

Kaupu has been dating for two years now. Photos of him are all over her flat, and indicates a girl in love. They met in Windhoek at the Oil and Gas conference. “The next day he claimed he had missed his flight….” The rest was history.

BIRTHDAYS

This month is President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s 81st birthday.  During his reign Pohamba banned congratulatory spending towards his birthday arguing that the funds should be used elsewhere.

Adds Kaupu, “That’s him right there. He has a way of showing affection.  He is selfless, absolutely but the biggest teddy bear in the family. He says you do not celebrate your own birthday. I only got one birthday party when I was young, then my 21st which I had to fight for and my graduation party. Those are the three parties I remember, and it is like that with everyone in the family.” At the end of it all, it’s just a normal family, all in Kaupu’s life.

9things about Kaupu

About to embark on her Master’s Degree at an African University

Had no idea about pre-paid electricity after leaving State House that she called a friend to say she was being robbed when her power went off.

Favourite place: Soussvlei- There is nothing but when you make something out of that nothing and get beauty its becomes gratifying, she says. “I also love the Seychelles. Being a Vambo girl from the North.”

Kaupu has given her father an orchard tree as a present and sits beneath his TV in his room. “He sees it every day when he wakes up,” she says.

She loves music. I know for a fact that I cannot dance as well as I think I can, but music really puts me in a trance of not caring… just feeling.  Despite my intense shyness, I tend to enjoy the art of being creative, be it through home décor, singing or doing impersonations of different accents.

She has natural hair, thanks to her interests of mixing oils and butters to make her own natural moisturisers.

A tomboy, she loves adventure and real genuine conversation with others. “The thing about guys is that they talk about anything and everything under the sun, they taught me to be my own road-side assistant by changing tyres and brake pads, or to let-loose and jump off cliffs.  Whereas my female friends have taught me to balance my rough edge with integrity, compassion, and the ability to bring out the Kleenex tissues and cry tears of joy, sadness, and disbelief, all while trying to stand firmly in our positions as mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, and business women.”

She still drives her 2006 Camry, a birthday gift from her mother. “The respect I have for this vehicle knowing what I have put her through is astonishing. She definitely defines what it means to be me; Enduring, Trustworthy, big hearted, and accommodating.”

Mojo: “Having been a passionate sports woman, you learn that it’s not about winning, but about beating the score you set the previous day.  Losing is beautiful, in that you accept that someone did it better than you and you respect them for that, but you don’t give up.  This is much like being a business woman or man.

One does not start business or anything in that matter from a wish to be wealthy, I believe it starts from a need to solve a problem and/or influence a change for the better which stems from an in-born passion to do what you love”.

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Could he be Windhoek’s poorest Mayor of all time?

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Just the other week, he was attending a wedding at the school. The closest he has to a protector, is his driver, Stanley, a constable for City Police.

You might not believe it, but Windhoek Mayor Muesee Kazapua still stays in his aunt’s house. Actually, the backyard flat of his aunt’s house, right behind the shanty Herero Mall, once dubbed the Sodom and Gomora of the Ovahereros.

It’s a common grumble that politicians’ lifestyles are far removed from those of their electorate. In fact, Windhoek has only had five Mayors since independence. The longest serving, Matheus Shikongo, lived in the posh Ludwigsdorf suburb of Windhoek while Muesee’s predecessor, Agnes Kafula still resides in a town house in the affluent Windhoek West.

But for the youthful 36-year old Kazapua, Katutura is home. And home is where the heart is. Still single, his aunt has his heart for the past 35 years and he now rents

the one bed-roomed behind.

First elected Mayor of Windhoek in December 2014, Kazapua has turned down offers to stay in well-secured City houses across town.

“I chose to be here because I want to be where the people are. Even when I was a deputy Mayor I tried to involve myself in the concerns of the people and I knew living here would make me accessible to the people,” His Worship Kazapua says.

Laundry is strung outside the house, one half of the ‘washing-line’ is falling, water leaks from a tap outside, overgrown weeds are evident, but other than that, it is a neat place. No police or security detail, a stray dog roams the yard, nothing out of the ordinary.

On a given day, the Mayor receives about 20 visits from people from around the community, some to deliver their complaints, while others still to thank him to remaining a humble servant.

“My friends always get a shock when they find out that I am still living in the same place I used to bring them to watch TV when we were in high school at Augustineum Secondary School, some of them have gone on to become successful businessmen, and they are not so impressed.

Some even call the office to complain to management while I am staying here. But that is not something that bothers me,” he says.

On this day of the interview it was a Sunday, he had just arrived from a five-minute walk to the Pick ‘n Pay shopping mall to grab some of the coming week’s food.

But that’s nothing considering during his youth activist days he would walk to Windhoek West (10km away) for meetings.

In fact, he still walks to community meetings in the neighbourhood, to places such as Soweto Market and Damara Lokasie. He avoids taxis because there are certain houses in Katutura which he cannot pass by.

For instance, one is right next to Theo Katjimune Primary School, where he attended Grade 1.

They still remember that shy boy who walked to his aunt’s house always by himself and avoided large group. But today, they want to remind him that they are at risk of losing some of their houses.

“Visitng these elderly that saw me up grow up cements the bond. Many of them lack knowledge, important knowledge, but have great respect of the system, of the party and of their leaders. We need to earn their trust. Visiting them enables me to inform them,” says the soft spoken Kazapua.

“I feel safer with the people. The people are the ones who elected me and they are the ones I am entrusted to lead, so how can they be the ones to harm me? Why do I need a body guards? Namibians are the most peaceful people.”

A deeply religious man, wedding plans are in the pipeline. And she has a lot of work to do to transform this man whose room still has those old sofas that are covered by designed cloth and an old television analogue box, next to an old fashioned housing unit.

“Since I was a youth activist I have always been against a lavish lifestyle. Perhaps it has to do with my faith in God.”

Even his rural home is nothing out of the ordinary. No farm, just few cattle like any other man of his age and background.

He recently acquired land in Cimbebasia to build a house and is excited at the challenge, but remains worried about the inequality gap; “The gap between the poor and rich is too wide in this city. In fact, the rich are getting richer and the poor and getting poorer. I think we have some rather selfish people here. How can someone own five houses in the city when we have homeless people, or people being kicked out of their family homes, which they have lived in since they were moved from the Old Location? These are the things that keep me awake at night.”

Kazapua accuses most leaders of having a “blind obsession to achieve growth with consumption, as if the contrary would mean the end of the world”.

“I may appear to be an eccentric young man… But this is a free choice,” says the man who has neither parking place at his backyard nor a driving license. He gets picked up for work in a City Fortuner every day.

How did he get here?

During his mid-20s, Kazapua found himself

employed as a photocopier and ‘general hands’ at the Swapo offices. The little he gathered was invested for his Business Administration Diploma at IUM. Today he is fully-employed at the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture.

Mayor Kazapua’s Humble Journey

Born in 1980, Muesee Kazapua is the youngest member of the Windhoek City Council, representing the ruling, SWAPO Party. He joined the City Council in 2010 following the local authorities elections held in November 2010. He served as a member of the Council’s Management Committee in 2011, before his election as the Deputy Mayor of the City of Windhoek in December 2012. He served as the Chairperson of the Theo Katjimune Primary School from 2003 – 2013.

Muesee gathered his political acumen by attending SWAPO Party’s public lectures, rally, seminars and meetings. While in secondary school Muesee joined the Namibia National Student Organization (NANSO) in 1996. He secured his SWAPO Party membership card when he reached the age eighteen years and has been an active member of the Party’s Youth League. At that youthful age Muesee’s active political career started with his involvement in student affairs and youth leadership activities, which he served in many capacities.

Muesee is a serving member of the SWAPO Party Youth League Central Committee.

Muesee is currently involved with the social upliftment programs involving youth empowerment projects and a mayoral outreach program involving provision of food and other materials to kindergartens.  He holds a Diploma in Youth Development and a Certificate in Local Government Administration and Development Management Programme (MDP) Certificate.

1999 – 2010 he served as the Chairperson for the Katutura Central Kindergarten. He is a member of the ST. John’s Apostolic Faith Mission Church.

2000 – 2004 he served as the Chairperson of the Khomas Regional Youth Forum.

2002 – 2005 he was a Board Member of the National Youth Council

2015 – to date, Alternate Board member: Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF)

Muesee is currently the Manager: Stakeholders and International Relations, and the Mayor of the City of Windhoek.

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I WAS TRYING TO SAVE MY SON

King Mandume explains freak fireworks incident that took his fingers

 

king

Have you ever imagined the feeling of a father when he goes through his sonís phone and discover that his number is not saved as dad, but ëMy Heroí?

Well, if you put yourself in former Walvis Bay Mayor King Mandume Muatungaís shoes, you definitely get that rare feeling of heroism.

Muatunga recounts how the media misinterpreted the whole January 1 fireworks incident which severed his right hand and many ridiculed him for being naÔve and failing to operate fireworks.

His 11-year-old boy was playing with crackers which bought at a local store for the familyís traditional New Year ritualsóa prayer before midnight and then the music and dance in the streets.

ìActually I was trying to save my son. We were at home relaxing as is custom on New Yearís eve, and I only noticed the crackers had been lit but were still in his hands. I dashed to snatch them from him, but I was a little late as they ended up exploding in my hands, that same second I had grabbed them from him to throw away,î Muatanga says.

He was rushed from his Kuisebmund home to Welwitschia Hospital and later Roman Catholic Hospital in Windhoek.

He took impact to the eye but his fingers got the brunt of the damage and ended up losing the top joints of the fingers in his right hand.

His son (name reserved) was treated for shock and has been booked for psychiatric evaluation with specialists after that near-fatal incident.

Fireworks three feet away can produce 150 decibels or greater, with firearms or a jet engine coming in at comparable levels.

Sound experts say intense, brief noises such as a firecracker or explosion can damage hair cells, or sensory receptors, in the inner ear. Once hair cells are damaged, there’s no treatment to repair them.

Close exposure to noise caused by fireworks can be similar to a gun discharging near someone’s ears.

And for the Muatungas, Itís been three months now and the healing has been gruelling, trips to Windhoek to see physios and psychiatrics are the down downside but on the other side, the family has never been this united.

ìFamily has been supportive of me, but at the same time I have to be strong for them. Even in moments when I look at my hands and feel depressed, I have to bring my spirits up. My children cannot see me feeling and looking down. They have to feel they are still in safe hands,î he says.

As the Executive Chairperson of Executive Research & Publishing House CC, Muatanga has been responsible for researching data local government, and all that has been affected, as he focuses on full recovery.

ìI may not be able to do everything with my hand that I could before, but I can still do a lot. I love to braai Boerewors and I am happy I can still do that for the family. I have to adapt to a new lifestyle of course.î

Either way, it could have been a different headline, had King been a second late.

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