Leaving behind a legacy

Charles Kabajani owes his accomplishments to determination and commitment.

02 August 2019 | People

Evany van Wyk

Waking up in the morning, Charles Kabajani makes sure that his body is healthy enough to tackle the day.

“One only knows when you wake up, whether you are capable to work. From there I can start thinking about work, with my day’s schedule and plan already determined,” Kabajani said.

According to him, even if you have a very important schedule planned out, assessing your health every day is of critical importance. This is certainly the recipe to a successful 33-year career at the ministry of education.

“It was long, but it is an accomplished journey,” he says.

Kabajani filled the position of deputy executive director of formal education. Growing up in colonial times, where people were selected to go and study, he chose teaching.

He does, however, feel that more subjects should have been made available to them at that time. “We weren’t allowed to do mathematics in school, because the colonialists did not allow it,” Kabajani recalled.

He feels that if they were allowed to study the whole of the curriculum comprehensively, he probably wouldn’t have become a teacher.

“I do not, however, regret being a teacher,” he said.

Kabajani said in teaching he influenced and shaped greater minds. When he got selected in 1982, Kabajani immediately started teaching as an unqualified teacher and studied at the Academy for Tertiary Education, now known as the University of Namibia (Unam).

After four years he was now a qualified teacher with a bachelor’s degree in education, but continued studying to upgrade himself with various other qualifications, which kept him in his seat.

Kabajani recalls his days of studying as being quite difficult.

“We never knew if the university was going to close down or if we would even see our parents again when we left home,” he said. According to him it was only commitment and dedication that drove him to continue. Enjoying his youth is one of the things he is most proud of. He said despite the circumstances he thoroughly enjoyed his young life and made the best of the little freedom he had.

Technology was dormant in those days and smartphones were a distant dream.

“We actually went to libraries and did research by reading books,” Kabajani said.

He seems worried about the future of the next generation, and he explained what he thinks their challenges might be. “Unemployment will definitely increase and the youth will be left out on the streets with no income. The machines will have taken over all the labour,” he said.

The first thing he has noticed is that African culture is suffering in this new, technological world.

“Parents seem to think that technology will instill their children with morals and ethics; we need to seriously address that,” he said.

July was the last month that Kabajani was still in service at the ministry.

He is looking forward to relaxing.

“I will definitely enjoy the time that I have to myself,” he said.

Kabajani says that working at the ministry had him hooked to thinking “public service” when he woke up in the morning and when he went to bed in the night. “I have been monitoring, evaluating and managing education for all these years. It’s a time for me to do that in my own life,” he joked.

Kabajani is pleased with what he has contributed to the education system thus far, and looks forward to seeing growth in this regard. “Having schools functioning at this moment, and a new curriculum taking shape, is a testament to the great work our team has done, and I’m proud to have been a part of this,” Kabajani added.

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