One thing many may not know about Elijah Tjitunga Ngurare is that he is shy, an introvert and hardly socialises. His pastimes include going for walks and camping.
Ngurare tells VIBEZ! he feels tranquillity in nature and loves stargazing, which he describes as mesmerising and somewhat therapeutic.
“My mother said when I was a baby, my eyes would be fixated on the moon to the point it often used to frighten them, because it would seem as if I had momentarily passed out.”
The former politician is now a humble civil servant in the agriculture ministry, tasked with providing potable water to rural communities in all 121 constituencies of the 14 regions.
“This is a good field, and I would encourage young people to venture into studying water science, inclusive of hydrology, water law and water engineering, so that we can solve all the water challenges and ensure water supply security for Namibia now and in the future.”
If he wasn’t in that space, Ngurare said he would have become a minister.
“I think I would probably be a pastor. In fact, from Sunday school onwards, this is the profession my late father and late uncle thought I would and should become.”
Ngurare has been married to his wife Albertina for more than 10 years, and together they have four children - Lee, Eloy, Junior and Tiliah.
Food and drinks
Ngurare says he can “stand the heat in the kitchen” and get his hands dirty.
“Tjivundu and Mutete remain my favourite meal and yes, I can cook it, even though my wife and daughter would not admit that I can make it as good as they do.
My favourite traditional drink is Vikundu, especially the way my grandmother, Kuku Malesu, used to make it. Fortunately, my wife has mastered it too. No alcohol for me.”
Upbringing and education
He was born Tjitunga Ndala Elijah Ngurare, 50 years ago in Nkurenkuru, the capital of the Kavango West.
Tjitunga means a builder or something built.
He attended the Kakuro Lower Primary School, Siurungu Primary School, Nkurenkuru High School, Kaisosi Tweede School, Shashipapo Secondary School, Rundu Senior Secondary School (Kavango East region) and completed Standard 10 at Kolin Foundation Secondary School (Erongo region).
“This was the foundation upon which I moved on to tertiary education at Central State University (BSc Magna Cum Laude) in the USA (Water Resources Management), Dundee University (LLM) in the UK (International Comparative Water Law and Policy) and University College Cork (PhD) in the Republic of Ireland (Environmental Law).”
A day in the life of Ngurare
“My usual routine used to be, especially when I was at the University of Namibia in Ongwediva, to wake up at 05h00 daily.
Nowadays, I wake up around 04h00. This new routine is influenced by my wife, who is doing her doctoral studies with Business School at Unam, and she has a group of colleagues that wake up at 04h00 every day to go over their academic work.
Therefore, when she wakes up, I would wake up in solidarity. I would do some exercises.
We then prepare the kids for school, get to work by 07h00 and often get home around the same time (19:00).”
Ngurare take walks to distress and to think, and passes time by watching and listening to international news. He loves traditional music.
Ngurare says he always sees meeting people as a classroom, and is hardly annoyed by anybody or anything.
“Not much annoys me because I am a student of humanity. Every person I meet is a classroom for me.”
“Never compromise your principles. Be God-fearing; be Ndjikiti (steadfast and unshakable) in your values and principles even if it means you will go hungry, be ostracised or walk barefoot; at least your conscience will be clothed by the peace of mind.
Your conscience is worth more than silver and gold combined.”