Keetmanshoop – The University of Namibia conferred an honorary doctorate degree on Sister Paule Elizabeth Atiogbe for her outstanding contribution to education in the //Kharas Region and Namibia at large.
Sister Atiogbe sat patiently during the first ever graduation ceremony of Unam’s southern campus held at Keetmanshoop in //Kharas as she awaited the honour of the title of Doctor of Philosophy in Education to be conferred on her, and she got up to a standing ovation as she moved to the podium to make her acceptance speech.
And as usual it was not about her, as she began her acceptance speech by quickly focusing on the Namibian youth, saying despite being aged 89, she still has the urge to motivate young Namibians to pursue higher and tertiary education.
She said many households have little resources to be able to send their children to school, and that despite government efforts to ensure everyone has access to education, there are those that do not get opportunities to further their studies due to funds.
“My heart bleeds so often when I cannot assist someone to further their education, but I am constant in my conviction that with a little determination I will be able to gather resources to assist those who need it the most,” she said.
She thus urged everyone to have a heart of giving and to give a helping hand to those who do not have resources to pursue their education, saying people should not be selfish, but learn to share for the benefit of all people.
“I appeal to every citizen present here today to open up avenues for young people to better themselves and their communities out there, even those we sometimes tend to hide for our self-enriching tendencies,” she said.
Family, friends and former learners, amongst them education permanent secretary Sanet Steenkamp and ombudsman John Walters, all graced the event to pay homage to an extraordinary woman, who they all agreed deserved to be accorded such an honour by the university.
Walters in a brief interview with New Era said that Sister Atiogbe gave him and others a very firm and solid foundation as a Sub A teacher, and then went on to assist him get a bursary after he struggled to pay for his studies in his first year, and that he will forever be grateful for that, adding he could not have wished for a better foundation.
“I would choose her over and over again – we had a good foundation under her care, and with that solid foundation I became what I am today,” he said.
Steenkamp could not agree more, as she described Sister Atiogbe as a caring person and a unifier that stands for the truth and what is right.
“She is very caring and firm for the right reasons She is a great woman who had an influence on all of us, and she united communities,” she said.
The education PS added that while she was at the event to honour her former Grade 4 teacher, she also was there to represent education and to show people what influence a teacher can have.
“I am also here to show the importance and influence a teacher can have in the lives of people – it has been shown today,” she stated.