Popya with Edgar Matheus

Windhoek: Despite his humble origins, Edgar Matheus, 20, one of the country’s youngest entrepreneurs and mentors, says the fact that he suffered taunts by fellow youths for most of his life for not knowing how to speak or write English, taught him a lesson to be a hard worker and to be brave.

The hardworking youth was born in 1995 in Angola and raised in Windhoek, where he also schooled. Matheus’ childhood journey was never smooth sailing, but things started to get easier once he made a name for himself in entertainment and marketing circles.

His career started at Jan Jonker Afrikaner Secondary School, where he enrolled for his primary and senior education before pursuing his tertiary education at the International University of Management (IUM) in the field of Business Information Technology.

“Growing up in Katutura as a teenager I had to walk to school from Okuryangava, where I used to live with my aunty. My first year in primary school was very difficult, as I didn’t understand English and this made it very difficult to communicate and understand my teachers, as well as fellow learners. As a result, some kids made fun of me. Some of my classmates, especially the boys, used to even verbally and physically abuse me,” Matheus recalls.

Even so, he never gave up and did his best to learn English within three months. “Although my aunty treated me as her own child, there was also a time I felt homesick. I missed my parents and siblings in Angola, but I came to realise that to live your dreams, one does not necessarily need to be where you are born.”

After getting used to life in the city Matheus started to make some friends, but got involved with the wrong group of people and started partying, trying to fit into the city life to the point where he started to lose focus of his studies and work.

“Throughout my entire life, I had never worked before, because I believed in completing my studies first and getting a job later. I realised that life after school is not easy and I needed to make money for myself and not just depend on my parents,” he says.

He then met Naftali Nghishekwa, who introduced him to a marketing agency called Blueberry, and that was how he landed his first job.

Following that stint, he worked for different companies, such as Namibia Breweries Limited’s Vigo, Nampost and other small companies as a marketing officer. He later teamed up with other colleagues and established the organisation, known as TeamShako, that promotes Namibian companies and local brands.

TeamShako is currently also venturing into various school projects, entertainment and fashion promotions. They were also the first to host the local brand exhibition last year and will be the first-ever Namibian brand to host a local-only fashion show next month.

“I strongly believe that being surrounded by the right people that have the same goals as you is the right way to move forward,” he says.