Windhoek-The Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, graduated with a Master of Business Administration Management at the International University of Management (IUM) on Friday, at the age of 64.
Iivula-Ithana joins other prominent Namibians to have graduated from the privately-owned university that is in an upward trajectory in terms of its high-quality courses and modern infrastructure. It has also attracted students from Asia and other SADC countries who are seeking academic excellence.
At the same time Iivula-Ithana got the merit award (best student) in her programme during the ceremony. Her research paper focused on social corporate responsibility.
The minister, who will turn 65 in two weeks’ time, said age is just a number and should not be a limitation to what one wants to achieve in life.
Iivula-Ithana was the highlight of the ceremony with attendees ululating and friends and a few former ministers standing up to congratulate her.
On the sidelines, Iivula-Ithana said she had enrolled for an MBA in 2007 at the former Polytechnic but at the time she had two portfolios – Swapo Party secretary-general and Minister of Justice – hence she couldn’t fit in her schoolwork.
She indicated it was almost impossible to attend classes because at night she had to dedicate her time to party and ministerial work.
“When I learnt IUM was offering MBA programmes I felt I should give it another shot,” said the excited Iivula-Ithana.
Asked how she felt about her achievement, Iivula-Ithana responded: “I feel elated after three years of almost sleeplessness nights. I feel the burden is off my shoulders now. I can sleep properly.”
She told New Era that the three years were not easy being a student and minister.
“I must really credit my professors at IUM because they were ready to accommodate my time and not their time because during the week I don’t find time. But then weekends it’s when I sat with them, they gave me assignments and whatever I needed to do or read. During the week I read on my own and did my assignments.”
She added that she could only sit in classes occasionally during the first year when she needed to do introductions to the course and later on contacted her professors on Saturdays and Sundays.
An attendee asked the reporter to ask the minister if she really attended class and wanted proof of her assignments.
The minister laughed off the question when it was put to her and said her research paper is at IUM and available to whomever wants to go through it.
In addition, she said, what prompted her to study were challenges at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, which inspired her to seek to understand new issues.
She also said that she spent her youth in the liberation struggle therefore she couldn’t really study at the time.
She encouraged young people to study while they don’t have many responsibilities.
“If I were young, I would study until I can’t study anymore because that’s when you don’t have many responsibilities. I spent my youth in the liberation struggle and I wasn’t a dull student, so I felt since God has given me the gift why don’t I enhance it. Age is just a number and not a limitation to achieve what you want.”
Iivula-Ithana holds a Bachelor of Law and B. Juris degree from the University of Namibia (Unam). She also has a Diploma in Public Administration and Management from the United Nations Institute for Namibia (UNIN) in Zambia.