Welcome to Namambe, Ms Beata Ngwedha YIikela, it is a great pleasure to have you.
1. You have beautiful names, what do they actually mean?
My Christian name Beata is a female name derived from the Latin word beatus which means “blessed”. It is found in many cultures and languages including German, Swedish and Polish.
My clan name Ngwedha, according to my father means “an addition”. Iikela of course is my husband’s surname so I have no idea of what it means. All I know is that my father-in-law is of royal descent of the Ombandja Kingdom. Iikela was an Ombandja King. And so my husband is named after his paternal grandfather.
I on the other hand am named after my paternal grandmother.
2. I like that, please tell us more about yourself
I was born and raised in Onaniki village in Tsandi Uukwaluudhi. I am the third born of six siblings, five girls and a boy. I was raised by my parents together with my siblings.
I attended Primary school education at Tsandi Junior Primary School and Tsandi Senior Primary School respectively. Secondary education I attended Mwaala Junior Secondary School and Ongwediva High School which was a division within Ongwediva College of Education that time. As for my tertiary education, I attended Windhoek College of Education and also studied with Vista University Distance Education Campus (VUDEC).
I started my teaching career at Shikongo-Iipinge SSS until I left in 2005 with promotion as an HOD for Mathematics and Science at Oshilemba Combined School, I left Oshilemba Combined School in 2007 when I was again promoted as a principal at my current school, Onkunga Primary School.
3. When you where at secondary school, did you expect to work in Uukwaluudhi after you complete school?
No, I did not expect it. Like many young girls of my age then, I wanted to work in a big town. I did not imagine myself living and working in a rural area. After matric I was admitted to do nursing at Katutura State Hospital but forfeited my place by turning up late for registration. After obtaining my teaching diploma at WCE, I was placed to teach at Jan Jonker Afrikaner C.S but again that wasn’t to be as I was convinced to come and teach at Shikongo-Ipinge SSS. I believe in fate. Nothing happens by chance. I am where I am today because of God’s own planning. I had all those chances to work in a big city but it never happened. I love my work and my life here.
4. I recall the time I was at Ongwediva College for my teacher training, you were in matric doing your senior certificate, and it appeared like your group/class had a great time. Would you like to share stories from Ongwediva College during your time?
What a crazy bunch our class was! One could have sworn we were specially handpicked for that class. We were the best of friends, like siblings actually. There were more boys than girls and the boys were very protective of us. One example I can tell is that the boys in college that time had a habit of switching off the power a few minutes just before the evening study ends. They would then quickly run to classes of the girls they targeted for whatever reason to grab them for whatever mischief they had in mind. During such incidents, the boys in our class would escort us to our hostel to ensure our safety. I recall there was a time when things became so unruly that the boys in our class had to hold hands and form a circle around us to fed off the other boys and safely escorted us to our hostel.
We were a crazy bunch but our teachers loved us too because we could deliver. I also recall the play we performed for the whole college community and we left everyone in awe of us. It was organized by our English teacher Mr. Patrick Simataa.The play was about a court case and I played the part of the judge. We nailed it, so to speak.
5. What were your favourite subjects at high school?
My favorite subjects were English, Afrikaans and Biology. I developed a love for Biology because of the teachers I had, At Mwaala Secondary School I had Mr. Shitalangaho who would pitch up for class with only a piece of chalk but he would deliver his lesson that we would be left with no questions but only an overwhelming desire not to disappoint him in tests and a great anticipation for the next class. Later at Ongwediva High School I had Mr. Caparos. Although we used to tease him because of his pronunciation of some words (he was from the Philippines).
As for English and Afrikaans, I thank my late eldest sister Albertina Nelago who introduced me to a culture of reading at a very early age when she was at Oshigambo High School and I was in Mwaala SS. I started reading what we used to call “Plom Boekies” then in both English and Afrikaans. These helped me a lot with the skill of reading with understanding because they were stories with pictures. As I got older and started working I graduated to novels. I also had the best English teachers in high school. One such teacher was Mr. Simataa. I have always been shy but he knew that I could deliver once I gathered enough courage. He knew how to coerce me into that mode. He nick-named me “Theory” because of the way I pronounced the word despite him correcting me all the time .He would then say “Come on Theory, you can do this” especially during oral period. We all loved the way he would get into character especially when he teaches literature. In matric we had Animal Farm for literature and he would go into all the animal characters in that book e.g. Boxer, Napoleon etc. I am a Science teacher now but the two languages were my favorite high school subjects alongside Biology.
6. How would you describe your typical day at work?
My typical day at work includes 5-10 minutes briefing with my staff members , especially on Mondays and Fridays. It also includes going to class and teach as well as monitoring and controlling in classes or around the school premises. Alternatively, I would be in my tiny office doing administrative work. I am also blessed with a team of committed and dedicated staff members which makes my work easier as a supervisor.
7. Having been a teacher for many years, would you say that there are still learners at school who lack discipline and if so what are the contributing factors?
Yes, there is indiscipline in schools. There are many contributing factors but they vary from region to region.
In a rural Primary school, the most prominent contributing factor to indiscipline in learners I would say is lack of proper upbringing. Most of these learners are raised by their elderly grandparents who have no energy to raise a child at their age and they rely heavily on the child to make all the household decisions. Some live in child-headed families so these children are basically on their own and have no one to discipline them at home. The use of social media is also a contributing factor. Learners have access to their parent’s phones and are exposed to inappropriate information as a result. These are only a few of the contributing factors but as I mentioned earlier it varies from region to region.
8. In your view, is social media or the internet in general a blessing or a curse?
In my view it’s mostly a blessing than a curse for the following reasons:
a) It has made communication cheaper, faster and easier.
b) It has made information accessible which is good for personal and for learners to do their researches.
But like everything else social media or the internet has its own pros and cons if not used correctly and if all the necessary precautions are not taken. It can therefore be a curse in this manner:
- Inaccurate and malicious information spread faster.
- Children’s spelling is negatively affected by the so called social media slang.
- Children encounter inappropriate information or interact with criminals via the internet.
- Social media is also addictive and valuable quality time with loved ones is compromised.
- It may cause loss of valuable time as it tends to be addictive. You may find people engrossed in their computers or cellular phones paying little or no attention to their work or their loved ones.
The world is fast moving towards the use of social media and the internet in all areas therefore we cannot deny ourselves or our learners the use of the internet or social media because of the negative aspects arising from it. The onus is therefore upon you the social media or internet user to apply logic and personal discretion as to what you want to post or search on the internet. Also who you wish to interact with on social media and that you are aware of the consequences of whatever interactions you have on the internet or social media.
As for our children, I believe there is software that can be installed to filter out inappropriate information that you do not want your children to view or obtain. Most, if not all televisions have parental guidance which can be programmed to prevent the young ones from seeing inappropriate information. The problem is due to the lack of technology know how on our part as parents as most times, the kids tend to know more than us when it comes to technology.
Therefore, I would say that the internet or social media per say cannot be held accountable but you, the user can.
9. If you are given money and power to change something, what is that you are going to change in Tsandi?
I am a teacher, which means I work mostly with children (the youth). If I had the power and the money I would change two things. I always see all the young ones hanging around shebeens especially during weekends, sometimes even straight after school.
Because of that, I would establish an information center where there would be a library and computers with free internet connection. Young people can visit this center in their free time to read books or access the internet for information they may need. This would be a great mental stimulation.
The second thing would be to establish a sporting facility that would cater for different types of sporting activities. This would be for their physical stimulation as well as hopefully keep them away from bars and mischief.
10. How do you describe your life in rural areas especially during weekends compared to your urban counterparts? What do you do with your time especially during weekends?
I honestly have alot to do during the weekends. I have no idea what people do during weekends in urban areas so I can’t compare. I normally visit my village home just to see how my people are doing, if not I will be at home in Tsandi doing laundry and cleaning the house. There is always something to do, but I am glad that I still find time for my hobbies, watching movies and listening to music. I am very committed to making myself happy and not to rely on anyone for that aspect of life. I know that a “happy me” will positively be portrayed in my work and hopefully be spread to those around me.
11. What type of books or magazines do you enjoy reading?
I don’t really have specific types; I can read anything that interests me. I just finished reading “The aftermath of Cassinga Massacre (Survivors, deniers and injustices)” by Vilho Amukwaya Shigwedha. When I was younger, I was more into romantic novels. There was a time I had a monthly subscription and received four Mills and Boons books per month. As for magazines, I’d prefer to read Drum, YOU or Huisgenoot, People and Heat. I am a movie person so I want to read about my favorite celebs.
12. What music do you listen to?
My music taste is versatile; I could be listening to old school songs with the likes of Teddy Pendergrass to the latest songs of artists like Dj Khaled ft. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller- wild thoughts. Right now I have quite a few favorites. They are R city ft Adam Levine-locked away, Ben Haenow ft Kelly Clarkson -second hand heart, Jason Derulo ft Nicki Minaj -swallalala, and my al time favorite Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. I also love Nigerian music with the likes of Tekno and Davido (fall and If)
13. Who is your role model?
Many people would mention a famous person as their role model but for me it would be my mother, no doubt about it. My mother is a strong, hardworking woman, despite being old now she still takes part in all the work done in a village house. I admire her strong Christian faith and her big heart and compassion.
I remember growing up; how she would make us all kneel down every morning. During those times we all slept “mondjugo” (a traditional sleeping hut). She would then pray for us before we got ready for school. As for her big heart and generosity, I can cite one example. There was a newly married couple, neighbors to be exact. The lady was pregnant and lived alone while her husband was away with work. My mother would wake us so that we can go and fetch water all fill up a large drum so that the lady can only walk to our house for water. She hasn’t gone out far to fetch water until she delivered her baby. Of course as children we would complain but she would never back down. She is my role model and I am proud to be her daughter, she molded me into the woman I am today. I aspire to live up to her teachings.
14. Have you ever travelled outside Namibia and if so what have you learned from where you went?
I have been to Phuket, an island off the coast of Thailand in 2013. Recently in June 10-17 I was in Mauritius. In Thailand I was impressed by their food, the cooking styles and the type of food generally which was mostly sea food and vegetables. You hardly find any beef only chicken. I also noticed that it is quite rare to see an obese person there. This I presume is because of the type of food they eat.
In Mauritius it was more or less the same. The customer care and security is just superb, you would hardly get harassed there.
15. About your trips to these islands, what was the purpose of the trip?
These were all holiday trips with my sisters and nieces. For me, life is about being open-minded and broadening your horizon whenever resources permit. I love travelling with my sisters as there are never any dull moments, always cracking jokes. We are very close and can all be crazy around each other and have lots of fun. Also, the memories we make as siblings are just priceless. We also take family holidays inside the country. Last year we went to Swakop as a family, including my mom. My father couldn’t go as he wasn’t feeling well at the time.
15. Finally, do you have anything you would like to share?
Yes, I just want to say thank you to Namambe for the opportunity to hear my story and I hope it inspires or touches someone positively.
Open Sea Kayaking, Mauritius (2017)
Ramada Resort, Mauritius (2017
Hindu Temple, Mauritius (2017)
Jungceylon Phuket, Thailand (2013)
Phuket, Thailand (2013)