Popya With Julia Shalongo-Shandje Ndinelago Amukoshi

Julia Shalongo-Shandje Ndinelago Amukoshi is a 25 year-old young poet who paints pictures with words.

Amukoshi was born and raised in Onekondjelo in the northern part of Namibia.In 1993 Amukoshi attended one of the kindergartens (Red Cross) in a township called Oupopo in Ondangwa. The kindergarten belonged to one of the special agencies of the United Nations when it was established in 1945 after the Second World War. She then furthered her kindergarten at the Oluno Community Hall. Her academic education started at Heroes Private School in 1994 and she later attended her junior high school in the Oshikoto region at the Ekulo Senior Secondary School as a boarder. “The few years that I spend at Ekulo were full of endless nights of hunger, heat, sweat and a lot of hard work. High school was a lot of fun for me, especially during my Grade 11 and 12. I especially enjoyed the English class,” says Amukoshi

Growing up in a harsh environment as a young girl, Amukoshi had to learn a few survival skills. “It was an environment with situations that one could not avoid, even when lifting a white flag. Some were violent others peaceful. I had adopted the motto which most Africans use as a joke that says “in the jungle, its either you eat or you get eaten”,” she adds.

When Amukoshi completed high school in 2006, she moved to Windhoek to further her studies at the University of Namibia (Unam) for four years. While at university she crossed paths with many writers such as Jean-jacques Rosseau, John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu, Mariama Ba, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Chinua Achebe, Sophocles, Bessie Heads, William Blake, Thomas Hardy, Maya Angelou, Helen Keller, William Shakespeare, William Butler Yeats, Jane Austen and Noam Chomsky. “I was amazed by how these writers from so many different worlds painted the world of culture, politics and economy with such diverse views. Reading the works of these authors made me realise that life, in all its disgustingly, thrilling, nerve-wracking and bitter sweet wonders, moments and experiences, is a story each of us write every day,” she says.

Amukoshi grew up in a home with parents who loved reading and the culture of reading was instilled in her from a tender age until books became her friends.

“I remember reading many story books at a very young age. I remember my father buying us a lot of puzzles and he always said they were good for the brain development of a child. If I’m not reading a book, I’m fighting with a puzzle to put together as fast as I could. My parents are the main reason why I have a deep love for writing and reading books,” says Amukoshi. She believes that her life has been moulded and shaped by many events and people. “I have come from a family that celebrates life and I have a precious priceless beloved father who celebrates life and still manages to see the light and good in every situation”

“Life is a story of many wonders. These wonders have many colours which will make you wonder, while wandering on the journey to wherever you are destined to dwell. Life sits and listens at times. Our tasks is to learn from it, cherish it, let it thresh us during our threshing seasons and let it stretch us to be the very best that we can be, with what we have, where we are and with whom we are,” she says.

Amukoshi recently launched her first poetry book titled, Tales of the Rainbow. Besides being a poet, Amukoshi is also a part time lecture at the Language Centre of Unam. She was one of the poets to represent Namibia at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) poetry festival.

Source : New Era