The International University of Management (IUM) founder, Dr David Namwandi, says he has forgiven cynics who mocked and doubted his dream of creating a reputable learning centre of excellence.
Namwandi started IUM from humble beginnings, from a living room and kitchen. He said there were people who doubted him and wanted his idea of a university to fail.
Namwandi reminisced that he founded his private university with an investment of N$500, adding that many critics called his dream a ‘Mickey Mouse School’.
“There are people who wish IUM is no more, some don’t want to see IUM. I always say, ‘God forgive them, as they do not know what they are doing’. I always wish them a long life so that they see my success. There are those who have now decided to sing with us and send their children to IUM,” Namwandi said during the inauguration of IUM’s multi-million dollar building yesterday at the Dorado Park main campus in Windhoek.
The building, christened ‘The Tunana’, comprises an office and lecture hall. It cost N$45 million excluding the content and equipment.
The building was officially inaugurated by the Vice-President, Dr Nicky Iyambo, on behalf of President Hage Geingob.
Namwandi stressed that IUM started off in 1994 with one student and one lecturer.
“Now from N$500 to a multi-million investment. From one student to 8 500 students. From a kitchen to six branches,” he noted.
Namwandi is further optimistic IUM will overcome challenges from its critics and the “doubting Thomases”.
Iyambo, who read the President’s speech, commended Namwandi whose dream from humble beginnings has materialised into a fully-fledged university with six campus across the country.
Geingob said that 20 years ago Namwandi approached his office as prime minister at the time, with the desire to share his dream.
“At that time I was the prime minister of Namibia and when he met me and described his plans and vision, I looked at him and said: ‘Well, that is a great idea, but it is a big dream. Do you think you can handle it?’ The young man reassured me that he would achieve his dream by God’s grace. He then asked me to be a patron and I duly accepted.
For the founder and his wife Virginia, the sky was not the limit, but the start of their dream,” Geingob narrated.
Geingob emphasised that the role of education in poverty eradication, in close cooperation with other social sectors, is crucial.
Geingob said no country has succeeded if it has not educated its people.
“Many of you may not know that there is a passion that I possess which is greater than the passion I have for politics.
That passion is education. As a scholar and teacher, I concur with the sentiments expressed by Martin Luther King Junior, when he said, ‘The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.
Intelligency plus character – that is the goal of true education,” stated Geingob in the speech read on his behalf.
“We are therefore gathered here to celebrate the continued growth of one of Namibia’s foremost institutions of higher learning, an institution that will produce intensive and critical thinkers who Martin Luther King Junior referred to. This building will become the factory producing the brains that will drive our country towards technological advancement, innovation and ultimately, prosperity of our people,” stated Geingob.
“Not only is education important in reducing poverty, it is also a key to wealth creation. This is why Julius Nyerere said that education is not a way to escape poverty – it is a way to fight it,” the Head of State further elaborated.
He said government is in the midst of a war – a war against poverty, adding that it is the most significant battle Namibians face since the liberation struggle. The President also called on the leadership of all educational institutions to observe and exercise professional and ethical conduct, as they have the responsibility to embed a culture of honesty and a sense of purpose among the youth.
Other investments IUM successfully established include a School of Nursing and a school for postgraduate studies.
Namwandi stressed IUM is privately-funded and does not get funding from the state.