By Sibangani Dube September 2012

Meet a woman of substance

Dr Aino Ndakeva describes herself as God-fearing, responsible and self-motivated, professional Namibian woman with an extensive experience in general dentistry and business management. These attributes rest on her greatest strengths of perseverance, maintenance of self-control and the ability to achieve a lot while under pressure, at least according to her. Born to Tate Hafeni and Meme Lahja Ndakeva (former teachers, community activists and evangelists) in Ohangwena Region at Olyavahenge Village 37 years ago, Dr Ndakeva is the second child and first eldest daughter of seven kids. Having grown up in an extended family setup, she says she was a very quiet child though had a happy childhood; they were not rich but were comfortable. Growing up in the village in the pre-independent Namibia for her meant preparing midnight meals for the PLAN fighters who frequented their house on a regular basis, which got her in trouble with the Koevet. She spent most of her childhood years with her mother while her father studied in Britain until he came back in 1987. “I clearly remember that my father’s absence from home made the Boers torment us even more; they would always interrogate us of his whereabouts and constantly demanded supporting documents to prove that he was really in Europe studying,” she relates. Even though there was no kindergarten at Olyavahenge, she took advantage of being a teacher’s child and would accompany her mother to her classes. As a result, she learnt to read and write before officially starting school, making her always come atop her classmates when she finally did start school. In 1981, she started her primary school until 1987 at Onamhindi Combined School in Omusati Region. “Life as a principal’s child came with all sorts of challenges too, not only did I have to work extra hard but I was never allowed to miss any class except in the event that I fell sick,” she recalls. She then did her secondary education at Oshigambo High School from 1988 to 1992. Having attended the same high school her mother had attended made her feel a certain sense of closure toward her but commuting between their parents’ places due to work stands out from her childhood memories, “As soon as my father got back into the country, he got stationed at Ongwediva College of Education. I recall very well how our parents used to take turns to drive us on the dusty Oshigambo gravel road to and from school for long weekends and school holidays. We enjoyed such parental gestures with my high school classmates,” she says fondly. Dr Ndakeva is full of praises of the Oshigambo High School management and staff of that time who she strongly believes inculcated and grounded good morals and ethical standards in her at a tender age. “The educational environment was so conducive that all students took pleasure in proving their worth through our commitments to achieve not only pass marks but the best marks,” she beams adding; “The religious commitment of our then school pastor, Rev Henok Phillipus to instill student Christian morals and ethics has paid off. The blessed fruits of Oshigambo High School products are all over Namibia and abroad.” In 1993, she was admitted to study at the University of the Western Cape where she pursued a degree in dentistry. While there, she met fellow Namibian students who studied different courses and now work all over Namibia like Dr Moloi K (dentist partner at Drs Aluteni, Moloi & Zulu Dental Practice), Dr Tjimuku D (local dentist) and Mr Iipumbu Shiimi (the current governor of the Bank of Namibia). With just small of loan from the Ministry of Education to cover her fees, Dr Ndakeva did not have a bursary for the first three years at the university, so her parents funded all the expenses in what she describes as “timely and diligently”. “Mind you, they had financial responsibilities for my siblings’ education as well. I am grateful to their efforts and I wish them heavenly blessings, always,” she says proudly. To do her part and not let her parents’ efforts go to waste, she worked hard and never took her eyes off her goal of being a dentist. In 1999, she graduated and started working at Oshakati State Hospital that very same year. She is proud to have worked with Dr R Ndilenga, Dr Sheefeni J and Dr S Mwiiyale in the dental department. Besides the dental staff, she also says she had the opportunity of working with and learning from the best surgeons in Namibia such as Prof Amaambo during the interdisciplinary health cases involving motor vehicle accident victims. In 2002, she added another feather to her academic cap after getting her postgraduate diploma in Dentistry from the University of Stellenbosch. The same year, she relocated to Tsumeb District where she took up a post as the Oshikoto regional dentist until 2005 as a member of the Regional Mangement Team. During her tenure at the Oshakati State Hospital, she and her colleagues undertook monthly dental outreach visits to Tsumeb, Oshikuku, Outapi and Okahao district hospitals, which did not have dental staff or equipped dental clinics then. However, things have since changed as these hospitals now have their own dental clinics. In August of 2005, she resigned from the public service to set up her private dental practice in Oshakati where she still operates from. “Though being a public servant was rewarding, I have since found self-satisfaction where I am right now and I am enjoying it,” she says. Dr Ndakeva has two employees; one is a qualified dental assistant whom she sent to Botswana in 2011 for studies and has proven to be an asset in her clinic. “Ours is a comfortable clinic with a well-established patient base,” she states. Celebrating her 10th wedding anniversary this year, Dr Ndakeva is married to Velli-Pekka and is blessed with two beautiful daughters and an adopted son. In her spare time, she goes out for a quiet meal with her family, visits relatives, goes to church and bakes. “Though running a self-employed business does not leave much time for leisure, I would like to travel and see the beautiful places within and out of Namibia,” she emphasises. God made us as able beings, she says, therefore we must develop our skills through education and/or training and prove our worth by serving our Nation. Her motto is: CONCEIVE, BELIEVE, ACHIEVE! “We are not here by chance, God gave us this opportunity. Let us claim the righteous destiny He intended for us. Read your Holy Bible and pray,” she concludes. PF
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