Popya with Fannes Namhunya
Apart from being an English and geography teacher by profession, the determined and energetic Fannes Namhunya is also an independent public education consultant. This is in the field of intellectual property, focussing on critical thinking and communications. Through this he has had positive impacts on the lives of many young people.
The drive was the death of his father who passed on in 1990 leaving his entire family in poverty and homeless. “We lost all my father’s wealth including our livestock due to harmful family inheritance practices and tradition,” says Namhunya, adding that poverty struck shortly afterwards, and only nine years old then, he had to look after his two younger brothers and his mother who turned to alcohol to remedy her grief.
Born in Okahenge village, eastern Ongwediva in the Oshana Region, Namhunya emphasises becoming a family leader in his primary childhood but this did not prevent him from becoming a top grader in school with the determination to one day in future support his young brothers and mother with whatever they needed.
“I took my [schooling] seriously from there on and I was able to be the first in the family to complete matric and graduate from the University of Namibia (Unam) as a teacher.” After his graduation, Namhunya says, his dream became true and he finally started to help his family financially.
The experience of heading a household as a child had given him the hunger to become an enthusiastic teacher, imparting knowledge to young people to be knowledgeable and rational in their thoughts and actions. Hence a teacher by profession while training and coaching fellows in public speaking and presentation skills for mind power for over 18 years now. His motivation is from within, simply meaning that he forever feels relevant and significant every minute of his life. “Significant to myself firstly, to my personal space second and finally whenever I pass on or exchange knowledge or skills with human impact, be it in formal or informal settings and contexts I always feel highly motivated to keep pushing.”
About a decade after teaching at the Swakopmund Secondary School, and two years at Windhoek Technical High School, Namhunya realised he had acquired enough knowledge and skills to trade in intellectual property as an independent consultant in public education.
During his teaching years he had the privilege to travel to Europe twice, with the Under 16 school football team to Oslo, Norway in 2007, and to Dundee, Scotland in 2011 with the national debating team for the World Schools Debate Championships as national coach and trainer. “With this massive exposure to the world of critical thinking and cultural exchanges, I therefore returned from Europe with more knowledge, experience and determination to develop and grow debating and public speaking and presentation skills as passwords to critical and creative thinking on a larger scale, and eventually establish this unexplored industry in Namibia.”
To date Namhunya has trained, coached, mentored, motivated and inspired hundreds of young people and teachers across Namibia through his public education projects and programmes under the Paradigm Shift Youth Academy. He is now studying towards a master’s degree in English studies through the University of South Africa (Unisa).
“I have always wanted to study education and major in English as I wanted to help improve the body of the English language in Namibia. It’s the official language and I knew one had many options when it comes to choosing other careers like communications and media, where I find myself today trading as a professional training consultant outside the classroom or even running own enterprises.”
His goal is an opportunity to tour around the country to eight regions in nine months with First Lady Monica Geingos, as the first National #BeFree Movement coordinator under the mentorship and leadership of Dr Veronica Theron. “This platform awarded me personal growth and professional development, expanded my networks as a public education consultant through coordinating, organising, and directing the #BeFree Conversations events and activities around the country,” he explains.
Currently Namhunya is planning to open his Paradigm Shift Youth Academy offices, a youthful branch of Fannes Namhunya Consultancy CC, targeting flexible youth in youth development and empowerment, communications, training, outreaches and education solutions. The academy currently organises and directs the Vision 2030 Youth Development and Empowerment Programme such as MTC Energy 100fm High School Debate Competition, for four years uninterruptedly now. His message to the youth: “Young people must individually strive to go an extra mile to educate themselves how to be and feel relevant and significant at all times while active citizens. This includes the ability to monitor and evaluate desired results of set goals, but without an education in life it equals misery!”