Venturing into entrepreneurship is something Salmi Shigwedha has been exposed to from an early age; something she credits her grandmother for through the selling of fruit and having to account for everything sold.
“Growing up in Otjiwarongo in a house blessed with various fruit trees, my grandmother made sure we capitalised on it. We sold fruits and had to account for all stock. Looking back, I’m grateful for the opportunity, as it taught me how to manage money; we constantly had cash from the fruit we sold,” she tells VIBEZ!
The 34-year-old was born and raised in Otjiwarongo, the biggest business centre for Otjozondjupa in north-central Namibia.
“In the good old days, young Salmi was a character – very bubbly and energetic. A typical grandmother’s child, I was immensely loved and spoiled, and all this while (grandmother was) fair and firm. One of my fond memories growing up was when my grandmother brought me ‘Spice Girls’ shoes and hipster [pants], which made me very popular among my peers.”
Shigwedha obtained her journalism degree from the Namibia University of Science and Technology, as well an honours degree in communication, and is pursuing a master’s programme at the same institution.
Being an only child, Shigwedha will forever be her mother’s favourite, and no one can take her place.
She is married to talent promoter, entrepreneur, event organiser and founder of Kasi Vibe Namibia, Bomba Shigwedha, and together they have three children – two daughters and a boy.
“Lea, we call her Bokkie at home, is the eldest and protector of the gang. She is 12 years old, almost a teenager. Then follows Carino, the superstar who is eight, and Zane, also known as ‘Sugar King’, who is three years old.”
Discipline and work ethics
“Whilst pursuing my studies, I needed extra income, so I started moonlighting while having a full-time job. This eventually became a full-time thing when my contract ended, and I had to solely depend on my moonlighting. Having the personality I have, it was an easy transition as my duties included interacting with clients daily.”
Shigwedha credits her work ethic to great minds who have instilled some discipline in her, like Kasiku, Nadhipite and the Institute of Public Policy Research for grooming her into the powerhouse she is.
“I was also very fortunate to have a very supportive best friend and cheerleader who happens to be my husband. He was, and has always been, my hype man.”
“I have stopped counting how long we have been together but it surely is a lifetime already, and for our love story – we met in Eveline Street, and the rest is history.”
In her spare time, Shigwedha loves to create many beautiful memories for the family as at the end of the day, making them happy is her ultimate pleasure.
While many want quietness and a cup of coffee in the morning before anything else, Shigwedha is the total opposite.
“I am a morning person. I am one of those people who can get out of bed and start dancing or singing without needing a boost.”
She credits her multilingualism and knowledge of many cultures to Otjiwarongo, calling it a little Namibia.
“I like to think of it as little Namibia. You find all tribes and cultures within the country in Otjiwarongo, and with that exposure of every ethnic group in the country, one tends to pick up a language when playing with your friends.”
Food and drink
“I love pap and meat, and that’s what I cook mostly. When it comes to drinks – cooldrink, juice and water are what I like and is what’s stocked in my fridge right now.”
In Salmi’s shoes
“I’m not only an entrepreneur and student, I am also a mother to three beautiful angels, a darling wife to my husband and with that, my days are very much about them. So, a typical day would be preparing and dropping the children off at school in the morning.”
She then gets into entrepreneurial mode throughout the day, and evenings it’s back to mummy and wifey mode with the children and hubby.
“One thing for sure I can tell you, it is not easy, especially if I have to do business outside town. There are a lot of better days, but I can’t shy away from the not-so-good days. Every day is a learning opportunity, but I am blessed to have a partner who helps, and together we make it work by taking it one day at a time.”
“Judgemental people; it irks me. For instance, I get judged by my appearance, especially my nails. I love long nails and I execute my tasks just perfectly well, but people are always quick to think I can’t do a certain job because of them. A woman in stilettos, with nails and a face beat (with makeup) can do just as much as she can do in overalls or whatever people think is conventional.”
“In the midst of all - create beautiful memories.”