Popya With Seno Niilonga Namwandi

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Seno Niilonga Namwandi is a determined young woman who believes in inward motivation and self-motivation.

Namwandi has six siblings, attended her primary school at Emma Hoogenhout Primary School and high school at the Delta Secondary School. After high school, she went to South Africa to further her studies at Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town. As a teenager, Namwandi was very quiet and very serious. “I almost don’t remember being a child. The last memory I have of really being a child is when I was 14. My parents took a long trip when I was 14 and I was left with my brothers and I felt this surge of responsibility come to me and since then I felt like a little adult,” she says.

With life comes challenges and Namwandi has experienced her own share of challenges. “I must say my most challenging moments in life occurred in 2008 and 2009 while I was pursing my studies in South Africa. I had never been away from home for so long. So it was difficult to be away from my parents. On top of this, I was very unprepared regarding the culture and environment. It affected my ability to perform academically, and that in turn depressed me. So as an 18-year-old brain, I was not mature enough to handle this stress adequately,” confesses Namwandi.

In 2009, she had an unfortunate health scare, so she decided to get treatment in Cape Town, and due to the severity of the health scare her parents couldn’t arrive in time to be there with her so she had to go through it alone. “I was terrified but God strengthened me and I was able to endure. I don’t consider myself any different from any other person. I face obstacles and challenges with God on my side. I believe that Him, as the higher power is the only One who is able of enabling me to overcome. I’m very close to my family, my parents are my parents but they are also my very good friends. My dad has had a huge impact on my character and my mother has been a g influence on my heart and spirit. My brothers also play a big role in my life, Richard ‘King Rich’ and Victor are the only two men in my life who make me laugh from the inside out. They really cause my heart to smile. This is where I derive my strength to climb any mountain,” says Namwandi.

In 2011 Namwandi worked as a volunteer without a salary for six months at the University of Namibia (Unam) where she is now employed as Laboratory Technologist and Assistant Manager

to the first ever Open Innovation project through t h e University Central Consultancy Bureau (UCCB). In five years, Namwandi hopes to have achieved her short-term goals, which are predominantly academic. “I would like to have obtained my Master’s degree and to have made some strides in Intellectual Property, which is a very infant field in Namibia. I also have big dreams, some that I believe that should remain within my heart as they continue to grow and develop,” she determined.

“As much as I appreciate support, my support starts from within my heart. One of the most amazing realisations I had was that I have a relationship with myself. So I make sure that I have a clear awareness of myself and what I’m good at and what I’m not good at. What keeps me going is the fact that I’m a person with untapped gifts and talents and I want to see all my gifts come to be. That drives me, the journey to getting to know myself in all my fullness according to what God had made me to be,” says Namwandi.

Namwandi adds that she is easily discouraged when she is misunderstood. “I recently told a good friend of mine that I find myself feeling easily frustrated just because people have limitations on me just because I’m a female or black or have misconceptions of me because of where I work, who my family is, etc. Those things have a tendency to break me down. However, like I mentioned before, God and my family strengthen me through things like these,” she said. Namwandi says she is on a journey of satisfaction and contentment with her life. “Contentment is a very desirable characteristic I want. So, right now, the only thing I would change about my life is my attitude and outlook towards my life. I want to be able to have a better focus on the things that work than the things that don’t work.”

She encourages the youth to focus on the strength. “Get to know yourself, learn what you are good at, and most importantly what you are not good at. Focus on your strengths and learn what it does to your heart and general well-being when you pursue those strengths. It’s so common to aim to master your weaknesses but I believe weaknesses give you an edge of uniqueness and they are also a gift from God. After knowing yourself, you will be in a better headspace about where you fit into this amazing country, and the levels of influence you will have because each person has the ability to have influence.”

Namwandi is also the Chairperson of the Generation of African Intellectuals Trust (GAIT).

Source : New Era

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