An aspiring medical student secured himself a full bursary after he mesmerized an audience at a Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) dinner. Not in his wildest dreams did Paul William Shipanga, 18, a first year
bio-medical student at the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN), think his dazzling performance would earn him a fully
paid bursary when he sang in front of First Lady Monica Geingos and President Hage Geingob.
A phalanx of influential business people were also in attendance last week Friday when Shipanga was shoed in
to perform at the NCCI Presidential Business dinner a week ago. The Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) bursary will cover his tuition fees, books, accommodation, transport and a monthly stipend.
With a slim appearance, it is easy to doubt his singing ability but Shipanga perfectly imitated Whitney Houston in
singing ‘Count on me.’ Considering the suave and mature audience, he tried his best and also sang Prince’s ‘Purple rain’, leaving the audience in awe. Before his performance Shipanga said he was an aspiring medical doctor being raised by a single mother.
NIP announced after Shipanga’s performance that they would fund his studies to enable him to fulfill his
dreams. It was rare to see President Geingob and First Lady Monica getting up to praise an artist for an outstanding
performance. An appreciative Geingob hugged Shipanga and privately told him he would make sure he gets him
“The first lady said I am very talented. She gave me her email address and asked me to write her an email and take it from there,” Shipanga humbly said. Shipanga said he has been accepted at the University of Debrecen in Hungary to take up studies in medicine. The course starts in September next year.
Shipanga explained that he is currently studying bio-medical science at the Polytechnic of Namibia, as he had wanted to get some medical background before pursuing medical studies. Shipanga is also scheduled to go for
an interview at the School of Medicine in Windhoek.
He said if his application is successful he would rather pursue his medical studies in Namibia. “NIP changed my life, not only by sponsoring me to become a doctor. I thank them every day of my life. My mother and I have been applying for funding with no response and just when I was losing hope the miracle happened.NIP also invited me to perform at their year-end function.”
Shipanga further explained that his love for music began as a little boy. He played drums at church and also
drummed on his grandmother’s pots. “At Jan Mohr Secondary School I was part of the choir and the choir
conductor let me sing solo. That was when I realized I have something,” said the soft-spoken teenager.
Asked how he balances music and school, Shipanga responded: “I just take music as a hobby.” He said his studies are important and that education is the key to success. “I am studying medicine because of one special reason – if music does not work out then I know I have a solid degree that will carry me through. Anything can happen to my voice.”
NIP chief strategy and business development officer Jennifer Kauapirura said the funding is a full bursary for the duration of his studies as medical doctor, following which he will be required to practise in Namibia. “On completion Mr Shipanga will be required to work for NIP for a period equivalent to the full duration of his studies. Once he has completed his medical degree NIP will release Mr Shipanga to gain experience before sending him for specialization
in pathology. NIP will be monitoring his academic progress very closely throughout his studies,” she said.
Kauapirura said the reason for funding Shipanga’s studies is that the institute is inundated with the issue of
a skills shortage in various specialized disciplines such as anatomy, pathology, haematology, clinical pathology,
medical microbiology and virology. “It is the situation that has rendered us to proactively engage qualified
Namibian medical doctors to consider the furtherance of their studies towards specialising through an NIPfunded