A woman of vision

Namutenya Hamwaalwa is a born leader, who is creating a lasting legacy.

30 August 2019 | Education

Evany van Wyk

Namutenya Hamwaalwa believes in always putting your home and family first, and your country second. This simply means that in everything you do, you should make sure it is of benefit to your family and your country.

Dying without leaving behind a legacy has always been Namutenya Hamwaalwa’s biggest fear and she seems to be tackling this head-on. She has been employed at the education ministry since December 2006, and currently holds the position of deputy director in the Namibia Library and Archives Service (NLAS).

Hamwaalwa was raised by two hardworking Christian parents, who ensured that she and her siblings attended school and church services almost every Sunday.

Growing up, there were two things that she loved dearly - school and sport.

“I probably loved sport more than school but the only way for me to do sport was at school, so the two fitted so well together,” she said.

After completing her matric, Hamwaalwa enrolled at the University of Namibia (Unam) and obtained a diploma in information studies in 2002, a degree in library and record management in 2004 and was also offered an opportunity to study further at the City University of London in England, where she obtained a master’s degree in library science in 2011.

In 2006 she started working as a librarian at the National Planning Commission (NPC) - an institution responsible for the economic development of Namibia. Later Hamwaalwa was promoted to the position of senior librarian in 2010, chief librarian for special or government libraries in 2014 and deputy director of the NLAS directorate in 2017.

Among her responsibilities is to ensure the functionality of libraries and archives in the country.

She thus ensures that the national policies and guidelines for libraries and archives are implemented and determines the training needs of staff members. Hamwaalwa also ensures that staff development programmes are in place.

“I do not always follow what other people do, and this has helped me to keep to the values that I know and believe in,” she said.

According to her she is blessed with the ability to stay calm when faced with turbulence.

“I believe all shall be well in the end; if it is not well, then it is not the end. One cannot solve a problem by addressing it negatively; just the same as one cannot put out a fire with fire,” she said.

As a librarian, she comes into contact with a lot of information everyday - both at personal and professional level. She does, however, believe that not all information is good and advised that people need to know how to evaluate information “mostly for accuracy, objectivity and reliability”, and make use of the information that will contribute to their personal development and the development of the nation.

Her goal is to influence her team to work tirelessly in contributing to Namibia’s Vision 2030. “We all want Namibia to become a knowledge-based society, which will then assist us to contribute to the attainment of the Africa we want,” Hamwaalwa said.

While working on the modalities and strategies to be used by librarians and archivists, she also successfully advocates to national leaders how important access to information is for development.

“I am looking forward to a day that all people in Namibia will know and understand the power of information and knowledge, and how it can contribute to the productivity of the country.

“A knowledge based society can only be attained once research and access to information is placed at the centre of national development,” Hamwaalwa added.

Photos: Evany van Wyk

Caption1- Namutenya Hamwaalwa is looking forward to a day that all people in Namibia will know and understand the power of information and knowledge.

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