Windhoek -Fillon !Gao!gaseb, known in the environment circles as Ou Files, never had a high profile, but became the talk of the town when he started helping other community members through his current employer.
Born 35 years ago in the northwest of Namibia in Fransfontein, some 28 kilometres from Khorixas, Ou Files says he spent most of his childhood moving from one place to another accompanying his pastor grandfather.
Together with his parents they were supported by his grandfather. But tragedy befell the family when the pastor could not continue with the services anymore. They had to vacate the church house, ending up without any shelter. They were compelled to move in with his great-grandparents on a farm near Kamanjab, and to start their lives all over again.
Things got better when once his grandmother got a job, but for him going to school was another issue with it being some 20 kilometres away.
In 1997, Ou Files who managed to finish his lower education despite the harsh conditions, went to further his education at Martin Luther High School. However, he ended up being suspended from school due to going on drinking binges with fellows.
But eventually he got back to school and became serious this time around, keeping himself busy mostly with sporting activities.
In 2001, he passed Grade 12, although not with enough points to pursue the field of study he wanted to. He then enrolled at the University of Namibia (Unam) for a Bachelor of Arts and Tourism.
This is eventually earned him the job he currently holds at Ministry of Environment and Tourism as a senior tourism officer since 2010. Currently he is an acting chief tourism officer.
Fillon’s experience and success shows that even if one comes from a difficult background, and even if one makes a mistake in their youth, people can pick themselves up and rebuild their lives. To do this one needs to get one’s priorities in order and have the discipline to put in the required effort to make a difference in their own lives and those of others.