A new energy to August 26 Manufacturing Namibia

The newly appointed CEO of August 26 Manufacturing, Ndapewa Vistorina Hangula, speaks to Careers about her journey and what she is looking forward to accomplish joining the August 26 Manufacturing family.

14 May 2021 | People

“When I was interviewed for this position, I had to present what I believed would turn the company into a profit-making business.”

Monique Adams

Born and raised in Katutura, Hangula attended Mandume Junior Primary School, then Namutoni Senior primary school and A. Shipena Secondary School.

She recalls not being interested in school and in Sub-A she secretly spent her time playing in the sand until she saw schoolchildren going home, which indicated that the school day was over.

“Thank God the world was much safer then. It was eventually brought to my parents’ attention that I was not attending school as our house was near the school and I had to resume with school and passed Sub-A with flying colours at the end of the year,” she says.

Hangula’s best childhood memory is driving with her late father in his yellow-and-white Toyota Hilux bakkie on the way to the North. They would stop over in Tsumeb and would attend fancy parties at her father’s then workplace, the TCL mine.

She can vividly remember running around among the mine executives, who did not seem to mind. Her father would introduce her to his colleagues and at the age of five or six she couldn’t speak a word of English apart from “yes”.

The go-getter mentions that the positions she has had in the past has prepared her for this CEO position, having been a managing director of NAT Business Consulting, senior manager for strategy consulting and client and marketing development at PwC, as well as a senior consultant at Quest Business Consulting.

“PwC has amazing capacity-building programmes and I have been fortunate enough to have received exposure that allowed me to be part of executive management, board and partnership level engagements,” she says.

She is extremely grateful to be fortunate enough to work with good leaders such as MeNangula Uaandja, Hans Hashagen, Daan Strauss and Hylton Villet, to name a few.

With years of experience in the industry, Hangula has come across challenges, like being admitted to an IT programme at the then Polytechnic of Namibia, which is now Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust), without having touched a computer in her life.

“Another challenge I have faced is working long hours while studying and pregnant but these are things that women face every day and still excel.

“One thing I can point out is that I studied IT because it was recommended to me in grade 12, I found myself getting bored and frustrated with the jobs I had. This led me to changing jobs almost every second year until I decided to change careers and focused on the business side of organisations. I’ve never looked back,” she says.

She aims to diversify the product and service portfolio of August 26 Manufacturing as well as expanding their market reach. The board of the company gave her a mandate to put in place a governance framework and establish controls and structures to ensure efficiency, build capacity and run the company as a profitable business.

Having been part of the corporate world for some time now, she has had quite a few career highlights, including representing PwC at a partner conference in South Africa. “The first time I attended this event was a bit overwhelming but also an acknowledgment that I did indeed have what it takes to be part of such a platform,” she says.

Her most recent highlight was when her new appointment was announced in the media and her eight-year-old daughter said: “Wow, Mommy, you are famous now. Will you need to sign autographs?”

Please state 10 facts about yourself.

a. I have two children.

b. I love food (eating or cooking).

c. I love to travel.

d. I attended public schools and walked to school in Katutura, then studied business computing (undergrad) at the Polytechnic of Namibia, now NUST.

e. I spent a year in Germany and a year in Cape Town (work).

f. I used to help my mom sell kapana at a Wanaheda bus stop after school for most of my high school years.

g. I’m a bookworm and love reading.

h. I prefer dogs as pets.

i. I do not have much of a sweet tooth.

j. I’m scared of heights.

A typical day for Hangula consists of waking up early, meditating and reading the Bible after spending 15 minutes doing a bit of exercise. She then prepares her daughter’s lunchbox and gets ready for the day ahead. The rest of the day she responds to emails, and ensures that she knows the time for any meeting or task.

Advice that she gives to young aspiring individuals is that although taking risks with your career is scary, it will be worth it in the end. She further mentions that one should start taking opportunities when you are young. “Find yourself a mentor or be part of a professional group and network. Lastly, travel and go out to explore, also educate yourself and read to learn about other aspects of a job,” she says.

When Careers asked what piece of advice she would give her younger self, she replied: “To make better financial investment choices.’’

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