By: Kandjengo kaMkwaanyoka
I have been around the country speaking and participating in various economic policy discussions, but one thing I didn’t do was speak to my younger siblings or cousins about economics and risk-taking.
I want to say, that I am guilty of self-neglecting because they are part of me, and if I am to build an empire, I will need them.
However, I have no reference point, it was not done to me. It is not an excuse but a fact and something that we need to change immediately.
Our grandparents used to take mentorship very seriously to pass on wisdom to their kids. Normally, the uncle mentored the boy child and the aunties took care of the girl child.
I have been preaching about economics and entrepreneurship but, however, at home I did not empower the kids.
I don’t know about you, colleagues. Perhaps you all have empowered and continuously mentored your family’s kids. I didn’t and I wasn’t mentored either.
If you listen to all the experts out there, they all emphasise mentorship to young entrepreneurs, graduates, and to upcoming innovators.
Mentorship and guidance on economic and investment matters is something we need to embed as guardians, big brothers or sisters, and as parents.
An old man, Wonder Guchu, once gave me a ride and gave me a lecture on how most of the northern Namibia’s business empires collapsed after their owners died.
He said it was because they didn’t have a succession plan, nor had they mentored their kids about running a business, investing, and risk-taking.
Such information was kept secret and only the eldersor the business owner had access to it. When he/she had died, the properties, including the business, get to be inherited by the kids and grandkids.
Since no mentorship was done or there was little exposure to the business world, the business collapsed as soon as the owner died. We have a lot of these examples in northern Namibia.
So now after reflecting, I have also realised many of us possess and have been exposed to valuable insights about the economy, policies, and the state of entrepreneurship in the country.Thus, we must go share the insights with our nieces and nephews back home.
I want you to gather the kids, and just inspire them a little because there are so many narratives about urban life and the economy that we need to debunk for them.
Also, I suggest when we get back to the city, we create a WhatsApp group for them to reach us with their questions and for more guidance.
Our failure has been in building capacity within our families as the economy dictates. We have left everything to our crooked education system.
As we instil manners and heritage into our kids, we should also provide economic wisdom and guidance because this economy is so cruel and unforgiving.
I can attribute our economic struggles, especially us village champions, to the inability of our big brothers, sisters, and cousins to be mentors.
Navigating this Western-made economy is hard, even choosing a course to study is tricky when all you know is cattle, goats, and mahangu.
Thus, many of us just became nurses, and teachers, not because it is the only viable professions needed by the economy, but because nobody guided us on the complex nature of our economic setup.
My village, Okwalondo is so small. So there were few role models to look up to. I had Angula Ndjebo, Itula Barnabas, and Joseph Ndafediva as some of the men who were living the modern economy a bit.
However, as a young boy, you can’t approach these fellows and ask for economic wisdom. All we could do at that time was just desire and wish.
I wish I called Ndafediva for some guidance on how I can manoeuvre this world of entrepreneurship.
I wish I had established a relationship with Angula Ndjebo on how to navigate City life as a fresh bro from the village.
Also, perhaps if I could have developed some mentorship relationship with Barnabas in pharmaceuticals, I would be the one supplying medications now.
They will guide and explain the levers of economic operation. It is unfortunate my village heroes or role models also didn’t know because they also didn’t reach out to me.
I cannot blame them; they were also not mentored economically to pass on the culture.
Now let us go back home and mentor our nieces, nephews, and cousins.
With love from Okwalondo.