Sky is the Limit for Pangwa

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Focussed and determined, he is steadily and surely climbing the ladder of success by being able to skilfully juggle between his studies and professional work. Sitting at the helm as the Manager of NedBank’s Corporate Marketing and Social Investment Division, Pahangwashime Phillipus Gabriel, or Pangwa in short, is thrilled to be part of a dynamic and competitive industry for the past six months. “I am excited to be among a dynamic team that’s destined to shape the competitive rules within the banking industry landscape. It is really an eye opener for me.” Pangwa joined NedBank when the institution was undergoing a change of image from Commercial Bank of Namibia to Nedbank Namibia. With his vast academic and work experience in the corporate world, Pangwa appears determined to address social imbalances by ploughing back into the community – a vital source where the bank derives its profits. The name “Pahangwashime” in Oshiwambo is derived from beautiful yellow birds as a sign of bringing good news. Pangwa is determined to bring the good news of encouraging more Namibians to become involved in the bank’s self-sustainable projects. The eldest brother of five siblings, Pangwa was born 32 years ago in Walvis Bay to a very supportive family where he derived his inspiration to succeed from his late uncle Elkana Naukili, late mother Laina Naukili, his father Gabriel Albertus and another close family member, his uncle Boas Haikonda. Having started his secondary education at Kuisebmund Secondary School in Walvis Bay he later moved to Windhoek and matriculated at Ella Du Plessis High School in 1994. What made him realise his passion for marketing was when he worked for a year at the Walvis Bay Municipality in the Town Planning Division. “I realised then that I was more of an enterprising person,” says the young man. In 1996 Pangwa enrolled himself for a spiral of certificate courses in this field at the Polytechnic of Namibia. These ranged from salesmanship, sales management, business studies and even a national diploma in marketing. Yet his sense of determination and always wanting to learn more helped him at the same time to land a job at Air Namibia in May 1999. From then he was an employee at the national airliner and worked in the Cargo Services Department as Head of Marketing, Sales and Claims for six years. Although most people would find it difficult to work and study at the same time, Pangwa was determined to juggle work and studies. “Where there is a will there is always a way and I was very much focussed. It’s all just about prioritising your time because nothing is impossible in life,” he enthuses. For three consecutive years he was travelling between Namibia and South Africa as he ventured into a B-Tech Degree in Marketing at the Tshwane University of Technology. He later graduated with a Masters in Business Administration at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa. All this was made possible through generous sponsorship from TUCSIN. In 2004, Pangwa made his breakthrough as one of the youngest marketing managers at Air Namibia. At the time he was in his late 20s. He was responsible for introducing the frequent flyer programme, marketing research, web design, advertising, social investment projects and liaising with tourism boards, hospitality centres and travel agents. Quite notably, travel agents might better know him as the man who used to give away diamonds in the “Carrots for Carats” three months promotion. “This was my own idea and it was geared towards galvanising more air travel on the airline by increasing the seat capacity or load factor. Diamonds were collected from NamGem and the Namibian and South African travel agents literally left with diamonds in their hands,” said Pangwa. He was also instrumental in reducing the operational costs of the airline on the two coastal town routes of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. As part of his MBA field study tour, Pangwa has also travelled to France and Germany in 2003. Now he has settled in well at NedBank Namibia. He is adamant that he will perform to his best in crafting the marketing strategies of the bank to greater heights. “My heart is all about clientele centricity and social responsibility,” he says. So, what does this aspiring man do after a hard day’s work? When asked this question he smiled and enthusiastically expressed his love for playing golf once or twice a week. “When I was in Standard 5 (Grade 7) I was only a caddy, now I love playing this sport as well as watching football,” he said. To unwind after a hard day’s work, Pangwa either goes to the gym, watches movies or opts to drive around town doing what he calls “courtesy call visits on close friends” – among them his long-time school mates Advocate Rodgers Kauta and Percy Tjahere. Like they say, behind every successful man is a woman and this partner of eight years whom he calls his “First Lady” is Jessica Mbako. He also has a daughter born on Valentine’s Day, Laina Jedida Gabriel.