1. Please tell us about yourself.
Well, since this is not a job interview, I guess I’m at the liberty to say whatever I want..right Kashindi! Let me start by saying that my surname has not always been Dlakavu, because I am the 9th child of David Sheehama and Jakobina Naundjoba, so I am Mansueta Waneninosheni Sheehama-Dlakavu. I was born and raised in Ombaanhu/Ombalantu, pOnakayale pee! I was raised by my maternal grandmother, my Aunt and Uncle at Okaile. I attended my primary and junior secondary at Anamulenge and John Alfons Pandeni respectively, I later matriculated from Nuyoma Secondary school in Oshikuku.
I grew up a stubborn child…on the inside, my grandmother would usually say “okaana oke na ovino yaanhu kuninga shi ngha”. When adults gave you a whipping at that time, I wouldn’t run and wouldn’t cry so that’s why meekulu used to say that. I think I’m still stubborn, only now I can control it and would know when to give it up! Other than that I’m humble (I’d love to believe that I am or at least striving to be) and down to earth really, I get pissed off by arrogant people who believe that they need to flash their “material wealth” in front of everyone. God, I pray that I would never turn into that type of person no matter how much wealth I accumulate!
2. What was your favourite food when you were a child?
I don’t know if there’s any child who has a favourite food, they feed you what they think is good for you or for some what they have. So I liked anything sweet of course like all kids…no? But of course there were those red juicy apples (oma apele nga ya li haye ya moipakete nomouwrapping ou purple). But then there was also “Omaha (Gosh I miss omaha), neendunga, neembe, noshinghadeba, neemwenge, nomanuwa…oh a lot of things so I don’t think “favorite” would be the best description for me here.
.3. If you are to tell us about your education in phases where would you start and end with?
Yho, in stages?? Here it comes:
Grade 1-4: Primary school at Anamulenge Primary School, Omusati Region
Grade 5-10: John Alfons Pandeni Junior Secondary School (then Okavu Junior Secondary), Omusati Region
Grade 11-12: Nuyoma Senior Secondary School, Oshikuku, Omusati Region
1997-1998: Polytechnic of Namibia for Personnel Management, which I gave up after a year to upgrade my grade 12 points so that I can get myself into something more challenging and interesting, gosh I hated management!
1999: Grade 12 upgrade TUCSIN, Windhoek .TUCSIN was the best thing I did after my normal grade 12 because I got from some 24 points to more than 34 points; I studied so hard at TUCSIN cause I knew it was my last chance to a real good grade 12 and it was expensive so……I wasn’t only gonna let myself down but my elders who were paying for it.
2000-2002: Orthopedic Technology at the National Health Center in Windhoek
This is one very interesting field, where we design, manufacture artificial limbs for the disabled people, in addition we would train patients to get used to using their new acquired limbs. See, I was obsessed with medicine (I am still obsessed with it, I would eventually find a way to feed my medical obsession, ask my husband he’s the one that suffers now from this obsession…..only watching medical movies and TV series…give me Grey’s anatomy, private practice, Miami Medical, I will NOT stop). Orthopedic technology in Namibia is too static, if I’d stayed, it would have been ten years working at the Windhoek Central Hospital with JUST a two year certificate. Too depressing for me.
2002-2003: Central South University, Changsha, China for Intensive Chinese (Mandarin) language (It was a requirement for graduation and studying, I had to do my degree in Chinese as a medium of instruction…yeah, tell me about it!).
2003-2008: Hohai University, Nanjing, China for B.Eng: Environmental Engineering
2008-2011: Ocean University of China, Qingdao, China for MBA: Operations Management (Quality).
4. Where are you working and what do you do?
I am currently unemployed so if anyone has a job for me I won’t say no. I am working on certain projects I cannot give details about; they are quite at the preliminary stages so I would leave that as it is.
5. I guess you like music what is your reaction to the shocking news of Whitney Houston’s death?
I LOVE music. Whitney’s death is bad and shocking because she was one of the best voices the world of music has ever seen, I call her the girl with a big voice. Like many would say, probably the only our generation would ever see. I love Whitney, not just her voice but also her beauty, when I 1st found out, I was in a coffee shop, alone, and I was literally talking to myself, I went like “what? Whitney is dead? How? Oh my God!” It’s so sad that the best of our musical talents are taken by drug abuse, I mean look at MJ, MaBrrrr, now Whitney, it is sad really. Please let us educate our kids about alcohol and drug abuse, they would eventually make their own choices but let’s do our part too!
6. Do you think education in Namibia provides equal opportunities to both girls and boys?
Good that you asked I would say I need to do just a little bit of research before I answer that question. I would like to think that it does, except in places where girls are still considered “marriage property” and not important whether or not they go to school (and believe me Kashindi in this time and age I think Namibia still has some communities that subject girls to stuff other than education). Although the government is doing its responsibility to the citizens, education opportunities are still a biggest part of families really, so I think the question shouldn’t be whether the opportunities are there, it should be whether people have or are allowed access to them.
7. What do you like most in Namibia?
Oh this question comes at such a clichéd time eh! I live in Jo’burg now and right now what I love about Namibia is our taxi system. Anyone who’s been to Jo’burg without a private car would tell you that it sucks big time when you want to get around. Taxis (combies) here operate like public buses, they are subjected to a certain route and they are not well regulated and managed, if you are not from here you will never know where and how to get a taxi to where you want to go…….it frustrates me a lot.
But on a less frustrated note, Namibia is peaceful, people are warm, population is small which makes things either good or bad at times but we enjoy it anyhow.
Don’t ask me what I like about Namibia, there’s everything to love about Namibia, it’s my home, I know it better than any other place and it’s comfortable and less hassle for me as a Namibian child, so what’s not to love?
8. What would be the main reason why none of the African countries could produce its own car till this year?
Did any African country finally produce a car? How am I so uninformed? Or do I just not understand the question well?
I can go on and on about this, but the only reason why that hasn’t happened is the fact that we as Africans don’t have any belief or whatsoever that we can do anything. We undermine anything that is African.
To back this up, there was a story in the media about a guy in Congo Brazzaville who came up with a gadget (something similar to ipad), and you know what happened? Africans shunned this guy, saying what is so special about that if he is producing the stuff in China….I was like Dolce and Gabanna make everything in China, Jlo does…..I mean everyone does that……its only manufacturing but the design is still theirs, they do that because it works out cheaper there than anywhere else.
So there is nothing special about car production, but Africans still don’t believe they can do it…….so until we get past our psychological disability as Africans, we would not be able to do anything that is truly ours. The colonizers have accomplished their mission; disable an African mind, and we are entertaining it. This is a very interesting topic that needs to be taken up with the young minds, I mean as young as primary school.
9. Do you think it is a good or bad idea for Namibians to learn Chinese? Please explain.
I think I will be so biased in answering this question Kashindi and you know it.
It is definitely a good idea for anyone to learn Chinese. First of all, we have a huge amount of Namibians flocking to China each year for education, business and diplomatic mission. China is a place like any other place that do not speak English, it’s like going to Germany or France or Spain or Portugal or Russia. Very few people speak English there, so why not learn a language that they speak if you want to interact with them. The only difference is, there’s nothing happening in the West anymore. Business wise, everything else is in China now, and it will be for a very long time, so it is very beneficial for anyone to learn Chinese now. Besides Chinese is a very difficult language, if you can learn it, then you can learn almost anything, people who speak Arabic told me Arabic is easier than Chinese. So for me Viva Chinese language Viva!
10. What would you like to tell Namibian youth at this juncture?
Study, study and study!!! Read, read and read! Stay away from things that don’t matter (Alcohol, boys (this is for girls) and drugs). Don’t give up anything for anyone, there are plenty of people in the future and if there are some here now, there will be more in your future too, so do things that make your life worthwhile.
But of course I was young once too and its “nice” to just let go and live for the moment, but there are limits yeh, be smart and learn when to say “I’m done!”. But it helps a lot when you know that there is someone who will not hesitate to give you a nice whipping if you go discourse! At least we are one of the lucky generations who had brothers to be scared of, shaashi they will whip you very well and we knew it!
The Namibian youth need not to understand because they already do, but to acknowledge that “your life will end right now for slipping up just once, AIDS is real and in Namibia it’s more real than anywhere else”, why? Because we have a very small population. Three sisters can sleep with one guy without even knowing it. The rate of HIV infection in Namibia is faster than the speed light because of our small population, population is our downfall and the earlier the youth realizes this, the better. A cell phone is not important enough to kill you, anything else is not more important than your life, so WISE UP people, WISE UP!
I am not going to talk about the youth being the future presidents, we hear a lot about that! Not everyone WILL be the president, but a lot of them will be kindergarten teachers, doctors (Namibian doctors, do u know how rare and important that is?), engineers, businesswoman/man, bankers……….WISE UP!
Thank you so much Ms Dlakavu for sharing with us your personal views on some very important aspects in our country.
The Dlakavu couple wearing their traditional wedding attires
Mansueta (2nd from left) pictured with her brothers in Windhoek
Mansueta with her little one
At the airport