The first-born child in a family usually has huge responsibilities, including taking care of siblings, and it is something Emma Sidona Kantema-Gaomas loves doing.
Despite her busy schedule, this deputy minister of Sport, Youth and National Services is family-oriented and cherish every moment she spends with them.
Hailing from Rundu, otherwise known as Ru-town, Kantema-Gaomas believes family is important, as it helps in keeping one grounded.
“To my parents, I am not honourable - I am a child in the house. I make breakfast for them, my siblings and nieces and nephews,” she tells VIBEZ!
Kantema-Gaomas was born in Rundu on 16 August, 42 years ago. She is the first-born of five girls, and attended school there before getting exposed to the capital, where she pursued a natural resource management degree at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). She also has a Master of Business Administration under her belt and various short courses.
“Growing up, there was this thing of girls being afraid of taking up maths and science, as it was deemed a boy’s field. But because my father was the director of education, he pushed us in this direction, and I developed a keen interest in science, but diverted to corporate governance.”
It was at NUST that she met her husband, Bryan Gaomab, who is now a project manager at an environmental fund.
“We both did agriculture, and he ended up doing what he studied. Bryan and I met in a science class and became close ever since.”
They have two boys: 15-year-old Brydonn (pronounced Braai-Den) and 13-year-old Morgan.
“My other name is Sidona and people call me Aunty Dona. My husband’s name is Bryan, so our firstborn’s name is a combination of our names. If I had a girl, we would have named her Bryanna, but that didn’t happen.”
Kantema-Gaomas loves treating her family to delicious mouth-watering treats.
“I can prepare salmon and vegetables, which is my ultimate favourite dish, but today, I did stew; it’s winter! I cook when I am at home over weekends, because during the week it’s a bit tight, unless I am preparing something very quick because my boys love spaghetti and mince or rice. I don’t know why boys are like that. If I have meat in my fridge, then I know I am sorted (with cooking).”
She loves water, saying it is the best thirst quencher for her. Sometimes, she will have a cup of coffee in the morning.
“But I am trying to cut down on sugar. I have a sweet tooth, so I leave sugar eating when I want to have cake.”
A day in the life of Emma
“When I wake up, I usually go for a 5km walk. When I was fit, I used to do 10km, exercise, and then come to work. I plan my day together with my team and we touch base, and then see as the day goes. I do lunch, if time permits, and then back home by 17h00. While at home, I touch base with my boys and husband, have a little chat, then read, then sleep.”
Kantema-Gaomas’ favourite spot in the house is her sons’ rooms.
“It’s relaxing for me. I would go there and lie down or just sit, because I have to be careful not to invade their privacy. You know how boys are, and with the type of work I do, I have seen a lot of pressure coming out from adolescents, and it has changed my parenting style.”
Kantema-Gaomas said her involvement with the #BeFree movement, prompted her to have conversations with Brydonn and Morgan on anything.
“Only when you have talks can you pick up if they are being bullied, have difficulties in learning and so forth. Before I sleep, I would go to their rooms, we chat and pray. I don’t want to blame myself that I missed out. I was checking the other day and reality kicked in that my firstborn is 15 and three years from now, he will be 18 years old.”
She distresses by cleaning their swimming pool, go for walks, exercise and read.
“I have a lot of me time too. I need to keep on nurturing Emma, and she is a girl with big dreams, so I need to stay grounded. I do a lot of self-talk, breakfast alone, or go to the spa and be in the steam room and reflect. That’s how much I love myself.”
Other therapeutic pass times include driving, spinning cars and enjoying her preferred songs, which this VIBEZ! reporter noticed on her playlist include afro-beat jams.
Did you know?
Emma started driving at the age of 15, and driving lessons incorporated knowing how to exchange tyres.
“Back then, I would say my father was punishing me but looking back, he was preparing me for the world. I can do hard work, drive long distances by myself and so many more things.”
Aunty Dona says:
“Be careful of distractions of society. Focus on your dreams and don’t forget to play.”