Dr. Mwahangelai Queen Namundjebo
Lecturer, University of Namibia, Oshakati Campus, interview posted on 7 February 2019
Welcome Dr. Mwahangelai Queen Namundjebo (33) to Namambe and congratulations for obtaining your PhD at the age of 32. Well let’s get started.
1. You have interesting names, would you mind explaining a little bit more about the meaning of your names, of course many people are likely to understand what Queen means?
I was named after my father’s sister and I had to take all her names. The most interesting one is Mwahangelai -Mwadinaomho which I did not like growing up. I grew fond of it when my namesake explained what it means. The name simply means “people look down on you and you are the one that helps them thinking you are stupid”. This name speaks to my personality and how people around me take things for granted. It really speaks volume in my life.
2. What other languages do you speak?
I speak Oshiwambo and English only.
3. What were your best subjects in school?
English, Bible Studies, Development Studies and Accounting.
4. What do you like doing in your spare time?
I spend time with my children, watch TV or read a novel.
5. What is your favourite bible verse?
Jeremiah 29: 11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
6. What is your biggest/weirdest fear?
I fear of not being able to provide for my children and losing my mother.
7. Who is your inspiration? Or let me put it this way, who are the people that played a pivotal role in your life?
My mother is my role model.
8. What would be a good theme song for your life?
Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHrQp-A52pc
9. What is your favourite drink?
10. What sports do you enjoy doing?
I play volleyball and Soccer.
11. Please tell us more about yourself.
I grew up in Ongwediva, Elyambala in my aunt’s house Meekulu Queeny Namundjebo.
I attended my pre and primary School at Kandjengedi Primary School.
I then moved to my parents’ house and they enrolled me at Eloolo Combined School. I went back to Ongwediva when I was in grade 8 at Ongwediva SP.
I moved to Ongha SS and later went to Ponhofi Secondary School where I matriculated.
I went to further my studies at the University of Namibia where I graduated with a Bachelor of Education with English and Geography as school major subjects.
After my graduation, I started teaching at Uukule SS. I later moved to Otjikoto SS where I taught for a year.
I got a scholarship to further my studies at UNAM where I did my Master of Education specialising in Literacy and Learning. While I was busy with my MEDL, I was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship which saw me boarding the plane to the USA where I pursued an MA-TESOL and graduated with a Cumlaude.
When I came back home I immediately registered for my PhD (English) which I successfully completed in 3 years.
I worked at the then Polytechnic of Namibia as a Tutor. I joined UNAM in 2014 in the Language Centre (Hifikepunye Pohamba Campus) where I am serving as a lecturer to date. I am currently pursuing an MA in Development Studies (I guess I am a qualified book worm lol)
12. Explain your motivation for pursuing a PhD in English.
To be honest with you I never wanted to pursue an academic career as a teacher. Decisions were made for me after grade 12.
I have always wanted to be a Lawyer or a Journalist but my family had their careers in store for me.
My mum wanted me to be a nurse and my big brother wanted me to be a teacher and he won the bid.
I thought of just studying throughout and finish off all the education levels that were ahead of me. That is why today, I am now starting off with my real career path that I would love to pursue (weird enough right?).
13. What has been your most challenging experience during your study in the USA and how did you address it?
I am a very positive person with a positive mind. I enjoyed my life in the US as if it was home. The only challenging thing that I would really say stood out is the issue of race but that I cared less about it. It made me stronger and had me explain to the people who am I and where I came from. I found it as an opportunity to sell my country but not think of it as a challenge.
14. Most students meet different difficulties in learning English because English is a second-language for us, what is the best solution(s) to overcome this especially this time of digital age?
English will remain a daunting task for as long as it is pinned on us as medium of instruction and an official language.
For me English is a foreign language in this country though we are here pretending that it is our official language.
I would not pretend and tell you all the theories that should be employed for the purpose of curbing English learning difficulties. It is the whole education system that requires a serious attention.
15. Is there something in Namibia that you will immediately change with regard to languages if you are given the power to do so? What is it and how will you change it?
I would definitely change the English status to start off and have it as subject but not a determining factor of intelligence.
If not, then I will have to make sure that English is implemented as a medium of instructions from the grassroots but not have it as a subject.
How do you teach children in their mother tongue in lower primary and expect these children to perform miracles in English when they are in grade 4?
We have to think of how old some of these children would be when they are in grade 4.
We also have to consider the availability of the English language materials, teachers’ educational background and the exposure to the language in communities.
The language issue in this country is complicated and requires a serious intervention.
16. Who are the people that played a pivotal role in your life?
My mother, Maria Kashimbode, my uncle, Jason Kashimbode, my namesake Meekulu Queeny Namundjebo and my 3 brothers and one sister played a pivotal role in my life.
17. You did your second master’s degree at Eastern Michigan University in the USA, what do you think have learned from there which you couldn’t get had you not been to USA?
In the US, I have met people from different cultural backgrounds and I have learnt a lot from them. I owe my teaching skills to that university because it was there where I really had to be panel beaten as to how one should teach English to speakers of other languages. The good academic and social life exposure is just immeasurable.
18. What was the last gift you gave someone?
I have donated my shoes to someone that I thought needed them more than I do.
19. What is the best thing that has happened to you recently?
My spiritual life that has drastically changed.
How? please elaborate and also tell us if you have ever thought of becoming a preacher?
There are times when I dream of becoming a pastor but that door is still open until God calls me to that assignment. I became more prayerful than before with abilities to descent few things spiritually.
20. What brings you the greatest joy?
My children and giving to the needy.
21. What do you work toward in your free time? Are you involved in some community development activities through UNAM, if so what are they?
I am involved in a lot of community development activities but I will only mention 2. I am currently the President of The Namibian Schools Debating Association. This Association oversees all the debating activities in Namibian primary and secondary schools.
I am also involved in charity work as I always go out there and identify one or two persons that I think I should share the life blessings that I have from the Almighty.
I also offer English tutorials to the students who are struggling when I am free.
22. If you were to pick the best performing region in Namibia with regard to poverty eradication, which would it be and why?
Honestly this is a bit difficult for me because most of the regions are really struggling but to give it my best shot I would go for Oshana region. Having been in Oshana region for sometimes now, I have realized that the leaders here are really trying their best to eradicate poverty through projects.
The youth here is more involved and motivated to strive for the best.
23. After I browsed through some articles about you on the web I came to conclusion that you have gone through different challenges in life in general and it is against this background that I would like you to share your view of what should every man or woman try at least once in his or her life?
I would say I have seen it all in my life and at a tender age but like I said before I do not duel on my life challenges. I take them as opportunities to climb the ladder and better my life in the best possible way I would.
One thing that I have noticed in our communities is that we depend too much on people for our own happiness. I have a policy of self-ownership. I own my life and only I can make a paradise out of it.
If there is a person who really suffered is this Queen Namundjebo and she made it to the shore alive. My only advice is that, our problems are only bigger than us if we allow them to be. When you fall, pick yourself up and shame the challenge. You are bigger than any other challenge you meet in your life.
24. Do you think there is a relationship between faith, education and work? If so please explain?
Ou yes! Personally I am nothing without my faith. I will not speak for any other person but myself I have become who I am today because of faith. I wake up by faith, I study and write examination by faith and I work by faith. I am the type of a person who notifies my Creator about everything that I am about to do.
25. Pretend you’re our President. What three concerns about the country’s future keep you up at night?
26. If you are given power and money to change at least three things in the Republic of Namibia what would it be?
I would change the three things I have mentioned above. I would work tirelessly to root out corruption from my country. I will invest in education and in the process eradicate poverty as an educated nation takes care of itself.
27. What message do you have for the young people especially now that we are just at the beginning of this academic year?
Young people take advantage of life and opportunities granted to them. One thing I have noticed is the change in behaviour in our young people towards life which is worrisome.
We are too careless and live a reckless life not knowing that we are ruining our own future.
Young people want to be spoon fed. We spend time on social media than working on our lives and socialise concurrently.
The fear of God and respect for elders is not in us and that has led us to self-destruction. Let us start with God and all shall fall in place for us.
28. I would like you to share your own opinions or advice on two issues that negatively affect development in our country, namely, alcohol/drug abuse and high rate of road accidents.
I really think the mentioned issues are affecting the country’s development negatively. Most of the young, vibrant and hardworking young lives are perishing in car accidents.
The jaw of death facing our country is making sure that we are at the receiving end and becoming a country of doom.
Alcohol/drug abuse is an ailment in this country which to me needs an urgent cure. Namibia’s development heavily depends on the working nation and if the human capital is crippled, we are heading nowhere.
29. What do you want to achieve before you retired? I am aware that you have many more years to go?
Yes, I have many more years to go. I am working on owning a Teachers’ College and orphanage.
30. Do you have some people that you would just like to say Thank You from the Bottom of your Heart for whatever they did for you?
I owe my life to my mum and my family, and most importantly my son Prince who gives me courage every second of my life. I also would like to thank my friends, especially my friend Simon Lumbu who just passed on in Dec. I owe him my life and it is unfortunate that he could not live to see our dream of running a college becoming a reality. May his soul continue to rest in perfect peace.
31. Do you have any other thing that you would like to share with our readers?
All I can say is let love lead.