Growing up in northern Namibia, where he was born 27 years ago, Shasimana “Shasi” Uugulu has always found himself in leadership positions. This, he says, motivated him to go on and study opting for Politics and Corporate Communications at the University of Namibia (Unam) where he graduated in 2011.
Today, Uugulu is the Campaigns Manager at Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT). He is also a motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur. He says it is wrong to call youth, leaders of tomorrow as they are in fact leaders today, and tomorrow. “Our current leaders are leaders of yesterday and today. Therefore youth should not fear to take up leadership positions today and influence policy and the developmental agenda as there is no tomorrow that does not start today. Uugulu who travels the country promoting the government’s Nationhood and National Pride programme, says leaders of today and tomorrow should engage leaders of yesterday and today in finding solutions with a sense of responsibility and clarity of purpose as the nation marches towards Vision 2030.
According to him, the main challenges the country is facing are poverty, tribalism and gender based violence (GBV), and these need the attention of all stakeholders, traditional authorities, youth groups and faith-based institutions. “I have visited a number of regions around the country and what strikes me is the level of tribalism and racism that are still reeling their ugly heads among our people 25 years after independence, and the end of apartheid. As a nation we should not only expect the government to be the only entity involved in finding solutions to these social ills, we need to complement government’s efforts with community based solutions.”
He completed his primary education at Engoyi Primary school before matriculating at Uukule Senior Secondary School in the Oshikoto region where he was an Learner Represenative Council (LRC) member responsible for Sports and Culture. In 2005, he was part of the winning Oshikoto region school debating team that thrashed the Khomas region in the Sanlam Schools Debating Championships finals held in Windhoek. Coming to Windhoek in 2006, Uugulu’s life as a first year student was not easy as he had to adapt to a completely new environment. He footed to the University of Namibia (Unam) in his first year, slept in a backyard make shift house in his 2nd year. “This somehow shaped my view of Windhoek as a vicious city where only the strong survive. As such I had to quickly build a strong foundation. Well, the footing ended as soon as I bought a camera and a printer which earned me a nickname Mr. Cameraman at Unam.”
I would be at the staircase to the Unam library distributing plain paper business cards getting in the process invited to birthday parties, house parties and graduations and this provided him with the necessary income to support his student life. He first job was at Omalaeti while in his third year of studying admitting that for a student this provided him with “a good salary”. “In fact this job opened my eyes to the world of business as I met great people, Tate John Walenga and Confidence Musariri who became my life mentors. Omalaeti made me and I will always be grateful.”
Uugulu recalls one point while in his final year at Unam saving of N$ 15 000 and asking Walenga if he could buy shares in Omalaeti. “He gave me the best advice I never gotten from anyone,” he appreciates. “Shasi, you could use that money to start up your own business but don’t enter business to make money but to employ others,” he elaborates the advice.
“As they say, the rest is history and I continue to live by that advice. Today I have two companies in my name, Hangouts Investments and Endengu Afrika Logistics with four employees and I continue being a good civil servant.”
Uugulu did his internship in corporate communications with Bank Windhoek’s Department of Marketing and Corporate Communications in 2010. In fact the name Shasi, short for Shasimana, started at Bank Windhoek as one of his Afrikaans-speaking colleagues could not pronounce his full name. “My personal advice to the leaders of yesterday and today as well as leaders of today and tomorrow is: Be patriotic, your country needs you to guarantee a better future for the next generation,” he pens off.