Pinehas Nakaziko Windhoek-For 25-year-old Phillip Kondjashili Shilongo the absence of a father in his life continues to be a pulsating void. It is one thing that Shilongo kept returning to during the interview – how the absence of his father in his formative years in life, especially during school years- left a mark on his conscience. “It is still a sensitive issue,” he says. “I remember when we had parent meetings or award ceremonies at school I always felt depressed seeing other kids accompanied by their parents especially their fathers,” says Shilongo, who is now a lawyer at the law firm Dr. Weder, Kauta & Hoveka Inc. Shilongo narrates how in primary school he had to stand alone at a prize giving ceremony, where he was to receive an accolade, because his mother had to work, and the father had never shown an interest in his life at school. There he stood alone, until later his aunt joined the prize giving ceremony. “The absence of a father figure in my life never brought me down, it’s still a sensitive issue, but I progressed nonetheless,” he explains. Born in Oshakati in the Oshana Region, Shilongo was raised by his grandparents in Ongwediva, after his parents split up. “I moved in with my grandparents at the age of two. My mother was unemployed at the time and she had to leave me behind to seek for greener pastures. She later came for me when I was in Grade 3.” Shilongo spent most of his teenage years living with his mother, a woman whom he describes as someone who sacrificed everything for him to receive a good education from an early stage. Shilongo recalls how he was always one of the top performers in both primary and secondary school, dominating the top five performers at whatever school level he was and winning annual school awards. Part of his motivation came from friends, he says. It was through the motivation of his friends that he completed Grade 10 with a remarkable 41 points at Etosha Secondary School. “During my school years at Etosha, I continued to persevere and maintained focus in getting excellent grades. As a newcomer at the school, I was elected a member of the Learners’ Representative Council (LRC).” He was also the one of the top Grade 12 performers at the school. Shilongo says his interest in law began in his second year at the University of Namibia when he was exposed to challenging modules that not only challenged his mental outlook, but also advanced his thinking. In his finally year, he got employement as a legal intern at Old Mutual Life Insurance Namibia. “It was my first working experience and I was always extra careful when given a task to do, of course with the fear of messing up and ending my career before it had even begun. But as time went on, I became comfortable and did my work confidently,” he recalls. He completed his law degree at the University of Namibia in 2015, and registered to do his articles and to write the Legal Board Exam in 2016 through the Justice Training Centre (JTC). “At the same time I was doing my law practical hours at Dr. Weder, Kauta & Hoveka Inc, under the training and mentorship of Patrick Kauta". Shilongo passed his Legal Board exam and completed his required hours that saw him admitted as a legal practitioner of the High Court of Namibia. He went on to work at Dr. Weder, Kauta & Hoveka Inc, gaining a whole different work experience from his days as an intern. “In the beginning work was challenging and I had little self confidence in my work. This was the practical side of the law, where one is required to practically apply the law to real life situations. “It was a learning process. I became equipped and learned from my seniors at the firm. I still continue to learn, the law keeps evolving and being a good lawyer is about learning in order to successfully meet your client’s expectations,” he says with confidence. “My advice to the youth, is that nothing is impossible, you can be whoever you want to be in society, all it takes is perseverance and self-discipline. Further that your past must never define your destiny,” he says.
New Era Reporter
2018-01-24 09:57:45 11 months ago