Ms Soini Negongo, Producer, Interview posted on 28 October 2018
Welcome Soini to Namambe, I am pleased to have you on this platform.
1. You have a very good name, SOINI, which is common in Namibia. What does it mean and from which Language was it derived? And by the way do you have what is called traditional name?
Soini is the name I was baptised with, did you know that my name is Finnish? I found out that it is used by both men and women and that it is more popular as a surname in Finland. My name is in fact a song. I’m told that when I was born my mother sang a song to her God thanking him for all that he has done for her and that came to be my first name, Kandiwapa and today many call me Kandi (pronounced Candy) .
2. If you don’t mind maybe you can also tell us what your family name, Negongo means?
I am rather clueless as to what my surname means but I have put in a request with the elder family members to teach me more about my people’s history and the origins and meaning of our surname. As soon as I find out I intend to write a book about my life.
3. Well before we continue with other questions please tell us more about yourself. Where did you grow up, went to primary and secondary school as well as to any tertiary institution that you have attended.
I am a strong willed person and my determination and persistent nature is often construed and mistaken for stubbornness. But I’m a fun loving and open minded individual who grew up in a small diamond mining town called Oranjemund in the south most tip of Namibia, where I attended Oranjemund Primary School. I then went to a Boarding School at St Joseph’s High School, some people know it as Döbra. I studied Public Administration and later Public management at the Polytechnic (now NUST) I have also studied other short courses for example in Public relations and marketing, theology, neuro-language programming, counselling to mention a few.
4. What about your work experience? I don’t know how many years you have been in the broadcasting industry. Tell us in details about your work experience and how did you find yourself in this challenging industry.
After Grade 12 I worked as a salesperson in a sports shop and then as a student I worked at the front desk and as switchboard operator at Safari Hotel. I have also worked at Edgars stores’ switchboard. My first government job was at the Ministry of Higher Education as a receptionist and then I moved to the National Council as an Information Officer. My life took a different turn when I started working at the Namibia news agency (Nampa) I started off as a junior journalist and worked my way up to sub-editor. After 7 rewarding years at Nampa I moved to radio broadcasting, where I started off as a senior producer to specialist and executive producer. I pride myself in my work because I believe in delivering my best all the time. I served the nbc for more than 13 years before I decided to take another path in my life. By then I was producing and sometimes presenting both radio and television productions. I know that the work I have done and the programmes I have produced are a testimony of my dedication and commitment.
5. What would you describe as the main highlights of your career?
Knowing that I made a difference in people’s lives, I not only impacted the lives of my listeners and viewers but also of many colleagues and others in the industry whom I interacted with regularly. I believe that there’s so much to learn from others and I have much to teach and share with others too.
I have also enjoyed travelling, going to many new places and experiencing new things has given me different perspectives and shaped my thinking and reasoning in so many ways. Throughout my career I have learned many things that I wouldn’t have learnt in any other job.
6. Is there something that you have learned from your career that has shaped your life for good?
Absolutely! I have learnt so much about humanity and about myself. Just as I have come face to face with workplace rivalry, resentment, unprofessional conduct, jealousy, gossip, dishonesty and the like, I have also formed great and lasting friendships, camaraderie, teamwork and genuine appreciation for who I am and the work that I do. When faced with these, I sift out the good and positive and discard the rest with forgiveness and understanding. When you are a lifechanger and a person of influence, you will certainly have haters and many negative things will be said about you but as the saying goes you learn and live to roll with the punches.
7. What opportunities and challenges came your way as a media personality?
I learnt to accept, respect and appreciate other’s views because we are not created the same for a reason. Unfortunately there are those who will not allow others to exercise their differences and so they will try to frustrate or suppress them into submission but we should learn to allow others to be who they are so that the world can be more interesting and less dull and boring and uniform. Embracing diversity will open us up to new experiences.
When you find that you cannot move in a certain direction, turn and move in another, the challenges we face are not permanent and they can be overcome. In my career it is not also always easy to be creative and one often has to find inspiration to be able to aspire to reach greater heights.
With a supportive family and friends I managed to overcome many challenges along the way.
8. You have been producing various programmes for the NBC? What was your favourite programme and why?
I cannot choose a favourite because over the years there were so many that I enjoyed working on. I did documentaries of legendary figures such as Jackson Kaujeua and Toivo ya Toivo for example and ordinary interviews with musicians, sports personalities, or beauty queens and I enjoyed learning new things through conducting these interviews. I enjoyed working on Sunshine Kids, the children’s programme and teaching young children to present the programme, I was able to delve into mind matters and psychological conditions, health, education, economic and finances, political issues, you name them, they all brought me great joy to produce. I presented talk shows, morning and evening actuality programmes, they were all a learning experience for me. And through that I met some insightful and engaging delightful individuals.
10. Journalism sometimes takes people to places, in brief if tell us which countries you travelled to during your career. Are there few things that you may recall that you have seen or learned from other countries that are worthy sharing?
I visited many countries around the world, those I can remember without looking into my passport are USA, Sweden, France, Germany, Portugal and in Africa from Cape to Cairo. Well, some countries I’ve been to have free Wi-Fi on almost every corner and that would be a blessing for us in Namibia, keeping our country clean and planting more trees would be that added bonus because we need more rain and clean air to breathe, this has been a call by our founding father since I can remember and I want to do my part to encourage as many people as possible to plant more trees and make Namibia green so everyone, including corporate companies and individuals should join the challenge.
11. What are you doing now since you have left the NBC? For sure you have gained so much experience that you can still utilise to contribute positively to human capital development and to the country in general.
I have been building the company my mentor and I registered some 8 years ago, we provide servicss such as editing, writing, publishing books, counselling, coaching, mentorship, image consutancy etc so I have been doing a lot of editing. There are many books that will be published in the next few months. I have an English club where people can register and learn, improve their English and I have been counselling individuals, groups and couples as well as travelling. Yes, people can contact me for training, narration, scripting and production
12. Is there something that you would like to share with the young people who aspire to work for the radio or tv when they finish school?
I would say they should trust their dream because their dream knows the destination and all they need to do is believe that the Impossible is possible. of course there’s a level of glamour attached to working for radio or television but it is all about hard work and informing, educating and sometimes entertaining because you would have the power to influence the way people think and help people make informed choices, it’s not about you but about the listener or viewer so please don’t go into the profession to promote yourself
12. If you are given money and power to change or do something in Namibia, what would it be and why?
I wouldn’t sleep because I would use it to improve the lives of the 2,3 millions Namibians in this country. I would like to see everyone living in dignity and in decent accommodation with all the basic necesities of running water and proper sanitation therefore there would be no more shacks, I would also want to see everyone working for themselves so it would be compulsory for everyone to contribute to grow their own food and planting more trees everywhere in the country, I would build more recreational areas e.g. parks for people, especially in public places and at our hospitals where patients can enjoy a walk, sit on a bench near a stream or pond, listening to the birds in the trees; introduce life and business coaching, meditation in our schools for our children to cope better in the real world. I could go on but let me stop here because these things can be done with the right will and mindset of our leaders.
13. Would you like to share any other thing with our readers before close this interview?
I would like all Namibians to start contributing something to their family, community and country because we all have something to contribute, individuals, companies, businesses, listen out for those in need and plough back, give, sponsor school uniforms to those children in need, give your unemployed neighbours food or that piece of furniture collecting dust in your garage, be a lifechanger, you will find that when you help someone, you too will be helped so don’t do things for yourself, it has no rewards, we exists for others, ask for wisdom from the Creator if in doubt but don’t live only for you and yours and don’t always expect something in return. Leave a lasting impression, a legacy otherwise you will be forgotten as soon as you are gone
14. How can you be contacted by those who are interested in what you are doing?
I’m available on social media eg Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram etc email is firstname.lastname@example.org, +264812568660
Thank you very much for your time and insight, it was a pleasure interacting with you. Thank you for the opportunity.