“My life equation can be defined as 75% academic, 20% religion, 5% social life. The biggest challenge was peer pressure but I kept my eyes on the ball. I knew one day I will have a career and the rest will follow. I associated with the right people in the family who I considered as role models career wise, including uncles, friends and the community in general. Further, I used to attend activities that are career supportive (career fairs), religious (youth-4-christ camps) and limited doing evil activities (clubbing and etc).”
Barthlomeus Katota, better known as Dias (32) is an ambitious man who has walked the hardships of life but believes that one has a choice to choose which path to take for a bright future. Born in Nyangana, a village in the Kavango East region of Namibia, Katota is the first born of four siblings. He started his primary schooling at Nyangana Combined School in 1988 until Grade 4 in 1992, than went to Rundu Senior Primary School (RSPS) for Grade 5-7.
After RSPS, he went on to Rundu Secondary School for Grade 8 to10. “I got 35 points in Grade10, but an F symbol which is the lowest symbol I ever obtained in my whole academic career. Up to now my friends tease me about the F in Rukwangali, however, I got a certificate as best disciplined learner at Rundu Junior Secondary School.” When he completed his Grade 10, he was transferred to the Noordgrens Senior Secondary School for Grade 11 and 12. “In 2001 only three or four of us made it to university, despite numerous challenges i.e. shortage of Science and English teachers. Although academic life was difficult, I was determined since I dreamt of becoming a marine biologist one day, hence I made it to university with 31 points,” he says.
As much as he wished to pursue a career as Marine Biology at the time, the course was full leading him to opt for another. “After giving it a deep thought, I decided to take Economics and Statistics since I like both commerce and mathematical subjects, this is how I got the best of both worlds by taking a Bachelor of Science dual specialization in Economics and Statistics at the University of Namibia (Unam).” Financial difficulties are one of the challenges he faced during varsity as well as adapting to the new environment. “I didn’t get a bursary and it was difficult for my parents to cover both my tuition fees and meals but that just motivated me,” he says.
After unversity, Katota got his first job as a temporary teacher in Kavango at the Linus Shashipapo Secondary School. “I submitted my application to the circuit inspector. People used to laugh at us that we have wasted four years at university just to become a mere teacher deep in the village,” Katota recalls. He worked as teacher for five months than joined Standard Bank through its graduate development banking programme the same year as a Money Laundering Control Officer, and then continued as an Asset Liability Management Officer (ALCO).
After working for Standard Bank for more than three years, he moved to Air Namibia where he worked as an Analyst for Pricing and Revenue Management for more than two years.
“Working with people from different backgrounds was a trial. What I have learned is that teamwork is only achieved when you have healthy interpersonal relationships with colleagues at work,” says Katota. In 2011, Katota got a job offer from Nedbank, which is his current job as a Manager of Strategy & Business Intelligence, performing duties such as supporting sales initiatives, conducting customer surveys, feasibility studies, competitor analysis and conducting industry studies. He encourages the youth who want to achieve their dreams to follow his personal success formual. “Success = Discipline + commitment + hardwork + perseverance + focus + prayer + recreation.”