Final year Namibian Student: Journalism & Mass Communication at Maharishi Markendeshwar University (MMU) in India
Interview posted on 18 August 2020
Welcome to Namambe Mr. Khumalo it is good to have you here and thanks for taking time from you busy schedule.
1. Please tell about yourself.
My full name is Patrick Morning Khumalo. I am a dynamic, adventurous and independent thinker. A young aspiring leader as well as down to earth person with intellectual humility. I am an open-minded individual, easy to talk to, passionate about creating change, making a difference and creating an impact on both national and international issues. I strongly believe that charity begins at home but it must not end there. I am coming from a humble background, born and raised in the northern part of Namibia, born in Oshakati state hospital to be more specific in the year 1990 on the 27th of February a few weeks before Namibia gained its independence from the South African apartheid/colonial regime.
I was raised by my grandmother and mother in Ongwediva. It is also where I spent most of my childhood years whereby I attended pre-school at a kinder garden located within the same yard of the Elcin Gloria De church, a few metres away from away from our house. I also grew up at our village home in Oniipa, been raised by my late great grandmother. I am my mother’s only child and therefore grew up with a few of my cousins who I refer to as siblings, I also grew up with some of my young uncles and aunties. Family friends along the way were also and still part of the journey. Something I have learned from my elders especially from my grandmother is the value of relationships as I continue to appreciate value relationships immensely.
During school holidays my mother would take me to my grandfather’s place somewhere near Okahao in Omusati region. It was remarkable meeting my family from that side especially my grandfather the head of the family, a prominent farmer and businessman by profession as well as a few other community leadership roles. A well-recognized and respected gentleman indeed. One of my uncles that I grew up with is the well-known eminent and successful businessman/entrepreneur Ndangi Kamati.
Basically our family is diverse so to say.
I attended my grade one at a combined school in Ongwediva known as Hashiyana. My mother a teacher and educationalist herself knowing the value of education, decided to take me to a better school known as Outjo Primary school in the town of outjo. It is where I picked up and learned English and few other local languages such as Afrikaans and Otjiherero. I have learnt so many great lessons and disciplines at that specific school. I then moved to another school and completed the rest of the primary section at Francis Galton in Tsumeb. I then proceeded further with secondary school level in Tsumeb. I completed my matric (12th grade) in South Africa, Cape Town at Abbotts College. And further obtaining a Marketing and Business Management qualification. Currently I am a final year student of Journalism & Mass Communication at Maharishi Markendeshwar University (MMU) in India. Education is always and will remain on the forefront of our family as well as in any other family.
1.1 You have a nice surname Khumalo, readers might be wondering if you get it from neighbouring South Africa or there is no connection at all.
Thanks for the compliment that Khumalo is a nice surname. I was named after my father who turns out to be Patrick Khumalo. It is indeed a South African name. As I have mentioned earlier in the interview that I was brought up by my mother and grandmother, I therefore have no connection yet in regards to the surname (Khumalo). It has been a sensitive and private matter for years as well as personal. As I have never disclosed it within a public space. Growing up as a kid then I would have questions in my mind and sometimes question myself, it is something I would not even discuss in class either with the teacher or class mates way back during school days, it was uncomfortable talking about it. The hard truth is that I don’t know of his whereabouts or any other information apart from the name. I have learnt to live with it and to dwell on faith and hope and most importantly to rely and count on God. A few years back in my early varsity days during semester vacations, it was when I would separately talk about it with my grandmother and mother. That was the time when I got clarity that he was a United Nation official. With that little information I would then approach the United Nation office in Windhoek and they then referred me to the ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time. There has been no answer to date.
2. What is your favourite subject and why?
My favourite subject is ‘’Media & Cultural Studies’’.
This is due to the fact that culture has always been a part of me and my upbringing. Culture is an important issue and media plays a significant role in our everyday interactions. Media portrays culture across national boundaries as media expands further. Promoting our local culture through the mainstream media reflects the norms and values of our ancestors and it determines our identity as Africans. It is a subject that deals with decolonizing and emancipating our minds from the dominant western cultures.
It is an opportunity to eliminate the chains of indoctrination imposed on us by the western imperialist and elites. It is up to us as media professionals such as filmmakers to narrate our own stories and putting it out there for the world to see.
My liking for media and cultural studies is also inspired by the founding father of the Namibian nation Dr. Sam Nujoma who is also the patron of Olufuko Festival. He strongly highlighted that a nation without a culture is not a nation and it’s like a tree without roots. Culture gives us a sense of our heritage and pride.
I firmly believe that intercultural exchange and dialogue is critical as it promotes diversity. The subject offers a lucrative opportunity as it promotes economic growth and job creation through the sale of agricultural and traditional goods to the international market.
We must therefore strive in articulating and creating narratives and becoming storytellers of our own African culture through creative means such as art, music and films.“Until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter”, This is an African proverb meaning that until the oppressed class learns how to read, write or communicate with the world outside, the world will never know their viewpoint. The world will always believe the influential (hunters), who can modify their tales, talk about their glories (which might just be an illusion).
Being a business owner myself, I will not leave without stating that business management forms or is also part of my favourite subject. Selling I would say is a genetic trait for me and also part of my strengths. I have developed it from a young age by being a fruit vendor, selling lemons and mangoes mostly. Studying sales management has activated and enhanced my selling capabilities.
3. Who is your role model?
My role model is my grandmother SR. RS Kuumbwa a retired professional nurse and former Oshigambo high school scholar. She is a God fearing and hardworking woman, an intellectual, humble individual with a passion and drive for quality. Caring, friendly and compassionate in nature. From home to the issues of life itself she has transformed herself to being part of the solution rather than the problem as well as encouraging and sharing with others. A people’s person and who inspires many others as well. Wisdom and leadership is part of her character.
4. What is the title of the last book that you have read recently for pleasure?
- Making a Difference by Dr Libertina I. Amathila ( Insightful, candid and amusing, the book traces Libertina Amathila’s journey from a village in western Namibia travelling alone to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1962)
- Another book on the list is Good Leaders ask Great Questions by John C. MAXWELL
- THE INTELLIGENT INVESTOR BY Benjamin Graham
5. For the benefit of our readers especially the youth that are thinking of studying abroad, what has been the focus of your study?
The focus of my study has been mainly based on the course that I am studying. Apart from that I have been focused on observing and learning about the Indian education system itself which is one of the best in the world. I have also been studying the media industry and exploring different opportunities within the sector. As a foreign student as well as being a client of different services such as banking, medical and telecommunications is an opportunity to learn as to how they operate as compared to your homeland. Learning about these things opens up your mind and makes you a better conversationalist. For example through banking I have been focused on learning about foreign exchange rates and the benefits that comes with it.
My focus has also been about studying the political and economic landscape of the country especially due to the fact that India is the biggest democracy in the world. Observing the election and voting process in India is also eye-opening. How the national public holidays are observed, the important dates on their national calendar and so forth. I got to learn about the most influential and prominent people in the country. How they tackle national issues from the grass root level.
Life in India is affordable as compared to many other countries. Listening and learning from others is one other
Key thing, new perspectives, different cultures etc. It is a great learning and discovering opportunity most especially to the young aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs. I have also been focused on tourism and looking at the bright side of things and being open-minded to what is around and happening. There’s so much to see and experience in terms of tourism, food and cuisine. What matters most is discipline and staying true to your principles and mission.
6. It is expensive nowadays to study abroad, how did you manage to get finance to fund your study?
I have managed to secure and also qualified for a student loan from the bank.
7. What challenges did you face when you are studying abroad?
- Having to learn a new language or dealing with linguistic diversity was one of them as not everybody understand or can speak English fluently, this has helped me in minimizing and overcoming language/ communication barriers.
- I struggled to adjust to the climatic conditions of the country as temperatures can get extremely high at times in the summers.
Temporally having to adapt to a new way of life.
- Getting use to and making use of public transport facilities at times, I mean India is overly populated and having to deal with over crowdedness most especially at public places is one of them, it can be overwhelming at times. You get used to it as time goes on. It also makes room to making use of other alternatives.
- Most importantly I would say is to be proactive and maintaining open-mindedness in dealing with challenges.
8. For the number of years that you have been away from home studying, did you learn new things from people that you met in the country (places) where you are studying now?
Yes,I most definitely learnt new things, such as having to learn a new language (Hindi) in particular. It has also given me an opportunity to study and learn about different cultures, lifestyles and way of life. Learning about a huge number of festivals which gives a huge number of public holidays, which is celebrated with great enthusiasm. One of the most celebrated festivals in India is the Diwali-festival of lights and the Holi festival of colours. India is a huge country, shaped by thousands of years of history. This has resulted in an array of ethno-linguistic groups being established in different parts of the country. The communal harmony is magnificent, it is intriguing to learn and observe how the common people continue to live in peace together and the presence of the spirit of humanity. Learning about about the different religions is enthralling as well. The caste system in India tops the list as well.
8.1 Talking of a caste system… what is is this all about?
9. These days everybody is talking about good health, happiness and money. In your view what is the connection between these terms and what is that you wish everybody understands about being healthy?
Good health is central to human happiness and well-being that contributes significantly to prosperity and wealth and even economic progress. A healthy population are more productive, save more and live longer. In my view for a healthy life cycle, you need a healthy and balanced diet, good hygiene habits, staying in a proper shelter and getting enough sleep. In addition, participating in physical activities and stress management activities is essential. Health plays an important role in feeling happy as it enables us to fight diseases as a result, we can achieve physical fitness and feel comfortable and enjoy life like any other normal person. It is crucial to have the ability to adapt to the physical, mental and social changes that we are exposed to. Health in itself is wealth and it is the opposite of disease and also means the safety of the body from physical, social and mental disorders. Health is a factor that helps us perform our daily tasks in a correct and right way. The importance of good health in a person’s life is undoubtedly great. Psychologically healthy people feel comfortable and happy in their lives and enjoy life well. Beyond the basic needs, money helps us achieve our life’s goals and supports such as family, education, health care, charity, adventure and fun. Financial security is highly essential. With money much good can be done and much unnecessary suffering avoided or eliminated. Money has its own limitations too.
10. Does Covid-19 regulations have any negative impact on your studies?
The impact of Covid-19 has shaken the world to its core. Further most governments around the world have temporarily closed educational institutions in an attempt to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. In India too the government as part of the nationwide lock down has closed all educational institutions, as a consequence of which, learners ranging from school going children to postgraduate students are affected. These nationwide closures are impacting over 91% of the world’s student population. I would say that with the e-learning program and e-learning modules the regulations imposed has not severely or negatively impacted my studies, also due to the fact that I am a senior student in my final year of study. Digital education appears to be a viable solution to fill the void for classroom education for a certain period of time while minimizing the chances of any infections until classes resume. Going forward, digital education is likely to be integrated into mainstream education.
11. If you are given the power and money, what are the challenges that you are going to address in Namibia?
- In light of the ever deteriorating water levels in the country’s major dams, I will in my capacity address the water shortages in the country.
Addressing social grievances is another challenge; Namibia has one of the most unequal income distributions in the world and social and economic imbalances remain widespread.
- Given the diverse ethnic groups existing in Namibia, recent discontent over land and housing is nothing new. The process towards redressing inequality of land distribution is crucial.
- Meanwhile, Namibia’s high unemployment levels continue to run incongruously especially in this crucial and trying times of the Covid-19 pandemic whereby many workers mostly in the private sector are facing retrenchments. The creation of jobs is one crucial and critical factor that urgently needs to be addressed.
- Reforming the laws of the country that is inclusive, accountability; holding those in power to account including myself, no one is above the law.
We can possibly not turn a blind eye on eradicating poverty.
- The ongoing gender based violence (GBV) is a major concern that needs to be intensively investigated and to be radically addressed.
Investments in all levels of education, Research and Development (R&D) initiatives, better and improved health care facilities especially in this trying times cannot be compromised.
- Corruption can surely not be ignored and how we deal with it matters most.
- The facilitation and integration of ICTs (Information Communication technologies) as we move towards digitalization in almost all sectors of the economy is crucial.
- Manufacturing of locally made products as opposed to depending on imports should be promoted and encouraged.
- Addressing human rights and promoting equal rights.
- Introducing measures for common men, women and children to benefit from the national wealth. Implementing and formalising ways for public enterprises to give back to the community in form corporate social investments (CSI).
- Better housing (promotion of a ghetto free Namibia), initiate electrification programmes and setting up of decent and improved sanitation structures across the country.
- Addressing climate change issues and the promotion and implementation the sustainable development agenda. Walking the talk is what I will do when given power in order to attain radical transformation. Power must be felt from the grass root level.
Empowerment of the youth, weaker sections of the society e.g. the aged, disabled, the blind etc. Inclusivity nobody must be left out.
Also it’s not always what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.
Power and money comes with great responsibility.
12. Do you think by 2050 Namibia will be a developed country?
Being an optimist I believe it can be done and achieved. If other countries have done it, we can do it too. With the right kind of mind set, think tanks or dedicated qualified people together with other desirable factors Namibia can achieve and be a developed nation by that time. We need to look at what is slowing down the process of development and stick to what works and take us forward. For example the millions lost through corruption and greed is one key factors that is keeping us behind. Development itself is an ongoing process and making use of and utilizing the different kinds of tangible and intangible resources available or at our disposal can be achieved. It’s definitely more demanding in terms effort and implementation, new and higher levels of thinking as opposed to the status quo.
13. I can see from your photos that you can can operate a TV Camera, do you shoot videos/do some production as part of your studies and if so what practical skills are you expected to gain at the end of your course? Things like a student doing your course might be expected to be able to operate a digital, TV cameras or a drone and be able to edit and do post production.
Yes, I do operate a camera, by taking both images and videos at different functions and editing commercial videos for advertising purposes. We do that at the channel during our internships. The skills I am expected to gain are graphics design (for news purposes mostly), video editing, news reporting and anchoring, camera operator. Executive content producer of a television channel or print media newspaper or magazine, filmmaker, news writer, Editing for print media ( newspaper or magazine), Radio Journalism, online journalism and production, Corporate communications or Public Relations which I have practically done before in Namibia, Creating digital content, advertising etc. Will be looking at operating a camera drone in the future. I can also send the course content together with the subjects where relevant and the results as well. It is a profusion of skills with an option for an area of specialization. In the United States of America they have what the call Hollywood in the film and entertainment industry, here in India they have Bollywood which is epic and massive based in Mumbai. ( In journalism anyone can be a journalist to a certain degree this is called citizenship journalism).
14. What is that you are currently missing from Namibia?
What I am missing from Namibia is mainly the people (lovely friendly Namibian people from all walks of life), family, friends and acquaintances. I am also missing the good and delicious food of Namibia, such as the mahangu porridge (pap), the Oshiwambo spinach and chicken, the Namibian fish. Mostly traditional food. Nam milk like Oshikandela and biltong. The beauty of Namibia in terms of hospitality and tourism.
15. What would be your future plan once you finish with your studies this year?
My future plan once completing my studies, firstly would be to come to Namibia (land of the brave). Connect or reconnect with family members, (elders) my old people, extended fam etc. See how relatives, close friends are doing as in catching up. Family bonding. Looking forward to exploring fresh viable business opportunities. Look at what needs to be fixed, restructured or where I can contribute by means of value addition. Collaborating and working with reputable firms. (At the same time adhering to the Covid-19 regulations and taking precautions) depending on the situation.
16. Any other thing that you would like to share with us?
I would like to state that studying abroad has given me and some other Namibian students the opportunity to meet and interact with the Namibian High Commission officials in India on some occasions such as during the independence celebration which took place last year in 2019 in Delhi and during the 2019 elections as well. It has also given us an opportunity to highlight the issues and challenges we are facing as students, engaging in intellectual conversations etc. The mission from the Ambassador, Defence attaché, Commercial Counsellor and the entire team has been helpful and accommodating. Let me also highlight the fact that now currently as we speaking their doing their utmost best amidst of the Covid-19 pandemic in regards to the facilitation and arrangement of repatriation flights for the students and Namibian citizens residing in India.
Lastly I would like to urge our readers and the public in general to take all necessary precautions and to adhere to the Covid-19 regulations as well as to stay safe.
It is a privilege and honour to be part of the Namambe program, I am sincerely grateful. I wish you all the best.